T-rock...great looking garden.
I bought a hiller/furrower for my Troybilt in '92 or 93 and have used it each year since. They're great, aren't they! Sure saves on your back and makes for a nice looking garden.
Shoe, every year I tell myself I have to try to make the furrows with the tiller and every year I end up digging out the furrows with a shovel. It would go something like this: day one - dig one furrow, day two - back pain and Aleve, day three - dig second furrow, day four - back pain and Aleve, and so on and so on.
Since last spring I have been shopping ebay, Amazon.com and Craig's List for one of these attachments. Everything I ran across was for the Troy, MTD or a couple other brand tillers but nothing for my Husky by TSC. The one I ended up buying was $20 + $20 S&H. All the other ones were a good bit more but looked the same as the one as I bought. To make it fit I was prepared to do some welding. As it turned out I had in my scrap pile a small bar which I made work as a connector by drilling a 5/16" and a 3/8" hole in the bar. It only took minutes to run 5 furrows and no back pain.
In another post you commented on an old antique log planter. These are hard to come by these days and when you find one you had better have gold in your pocket. I am going to plant geraniums in this one and hang it on the front porch at the cabin.
Congrats! That furrower will save your back, and plenty of time saved, too. I tilled a garden for a customer last week and put the furrower on after tilling. The garden looked so pretty I wish I had taken my camera w/me to take a pic.
Those hiller/furrowers are great for hilling up taters, even corn if you want to help keep the corn from lodging. Can you set the angle on yours (the wings)? If so you have even more options.
And yes, that log planter is a collectors item. Better hang on to that!
Yes, the wings are set with the outer ends in the down position. Later this week when the soil has had chance to dry a little I intend to run the tiller down the furrows in the opposite direction. May move the wings to the up position just to see the effect.
The squash and cukes planted 2/22/2012 are coming up. Gunna put some of these under Kozy coats. The 18 cell Styrofoam block with the large biofoam plugs is for large seed types as opposed to the 60 cell block I use for tomatoes and other small seed types of plants. I use both interchangeably in the Park's Biodome, a self-watering system. Some of these seedlings will go under Kozy coats. The block cells are addressed like a spreadsheet.
David, I can't say enough good things about it. I did have to an adapter to fit it to my tiller but it wasn't all that difficult. The rows I made aren't perfect but they are good enough for my garden. With a little practice they could be purity.:)
I have an MTD of uncertain parentage, with a 5.5 HP Briggs & Stratton. When I looked online, it seems that MTD isn't making the Furrower/Hiller. It is out-of-stock everywhere.
Edited: I spoke too soon, I found a generic Hiller/Furrower on ebay. It is priced at $79 and includes shipping. For the amount of work to rake up hills, I figure that is a fair gamble. If it doesn't work that well for me, then I haven't lost a huge amount of money. Since you (TRock) and Shoe both recommend the concept, I have to give it a try.
Just have to let you men know that your giving me a lot of entertainment. Boyz and their toyz! No matter your age. On the other hand, the rows do look great. If you lived closer Id ask to borrow it. (Grin)
I am horrible about having gardening toys! Ask my wife--she bought me a three-point hitch disk harrow to pull behind my Kubota compact tractor. I already had a 16" moldboard plow. She also bought me a Earthway seeder and a high-wheel push plow (that I use with a scuffle-hoe blade). My daugthers bought me a "garden scoot", that I will be using for the first time today to transplant broccoli. I also have a small, 2-cycle, MTD cultivator (think Mantis). We discovered early on with my limited health that an hour of hoeing weeds the old-fashioned way was just about enough to put me down. I have to do as much as possible with as little physical labor as I can manage. Most of the toys reduce the work, so that it is still possible for me to have a nice garden.
Here's the garden scoot. There are a few similar ones available online. Mine is from Gardener's Supply Company.
Today - removed all 16 Kozy coats from tomato plants and used 10 to cover 2 squash in straw bale and 8 cukes in raised bed. Planted 2 squash and 2 cuke seedlings in raised beds. These ones are not under Kozy coats.
All 26 tomatoes now planted will have to be covered with frost cloth this weekend...cold front is on the way.
Also, today I noticed potato sprouts are starting to break ground.
Pic 1 - cuke seedling started in large size bioplug is ready to go in the ground.
Pic 2 - cuke planted and is in its nice new and toasty home.
Pic 3 - potato coming up.
Pic 4 - shot of tomatoes after Kozy coats have been removed. In the background are 8 cukes under Kozys.
Planted a block of corn, since my soil temp has hit 60 degrees. The block is 5 rows, 30" apart. Each row is about 30 feet long. Luckily I have the Earthway seeder. Planting even that little bit of corn would have about killed me to do it by hand. Also got a row of broccoli transplanted. Need to get some spinach and lettuce in the ground, before the really high heat gets here. I hope to put tomatoes out by sometime next week. I will be using the season starters, still, to protect from any late cold and the fierce spring wind that we always seem to have here. I'll see how much I can get done tomorrow before I keel over! : )
The seeder plants them about 3-4 inches apart in the row. I thin to 10-12 inches. I previously planted rows 24" apart. This year I opened the rows up to 30". Two feet wasn't quite enough room to get between the rows to cultivate or hill.
After you mentioned broccoli I checked my calendar to find I transplanted two plants I started from seed into the garden Tuesday of last week. I have noticed that over the past several days that it has started to grow like crazy.
On the corn I plan to plant one double row spaced 12" apart with the seeds staggered 12" apart or there abouts.
I've read that it is better to plant shorter rows, with more rows, to get good pollination. A single row, or two rows, doesn't spread the pollen as evenly as it would if there are more rows side-by-side. A two row patch may do okay with the rows as closely spaced as you are planning, though.
Yes, I have heard the same. My rows are 20-25 feet long and now that you have remind me of this, I think I will plant something like a 6' x 10' block with seeds every 12" in all directions. This is only my second time growing corn. My first was in the early eighties. At the time when the stalks were big and tall there was a severe hail, thunder and rain storm which blew the stalks to about a thirty to forty degree angle. For several days afterward I was straightening corn stalks. Ever since I have shied away.
How do deal with the worms that bore into the ears or is it a problem for you?
I used Dipel dust, in a duster tool, called Dustin Mizer. It makes a fog of the powder, covering everything very evenly. The first thing in the morning is best since the dew helps bind the powder. It helps some, but I also just trim the ends of the ears that get a worm.
Locally , folks use a drop of mineral oil on the silk which will repel the corn borer organically. I've done so successfully but if you have a large crop that would be a job.
Dreaves ~ how well did your scooter work for you? I have one I picked up used at the flea market last fall but hadn't exercised it yet. Another handy gadget if you don't already have one is the kneeling/seated bench. My favorite!
I'm pretty happy with the scoot. It rolls pretty well alongside the rows. The tractor-style seat is reasonably comfortable, too. It is way better than getting up and down! I'm sure that it will be super for weeding in the rows, too. It worked really well for transplanting broccoli a couple days ago. Mine has a basket behind that fits a 5-gallon bucket and a tray under the seats for small tools.
Okra went directly in the ground. I seeded 10 cukes indoors 2/22/2012 and day before yesterday transplanted them to the garden, 8 under Kozy coats. Yesterday I planted about thirty cucumber seeds directly in the ground. I seeded 4 squash indoors 2/22/2012 and day before yesterday transplanted them to the garden, 2 in straw bales under Kozys. Last year I experimented with one squash under a Kozy. I was amazed at how much bigger it was all season long than the plants that were seeded afterward. Non of the cukes or squash transplants had true leaves yet but they had roots already showing around the sides and out the bottom of the large foam bioplugs. Squash gets big roots fast so I'm thinking getting them in the ground soon after germination will minimize transplant shock.
My garden is located on a south facing slope. With the mild winter the soil and especially the raised beds and pots have warmed up nicely, plenty warm to germinate seeds. Once germinated most seedlings can stand a little cold. If in fact I lose some to a late freeze or heavy frost there is still time to replant.
I've spent a good amount of money in terms of what I can afford buying Kozy coats and heavy frost cloth and all the seed starting junk to not get indoor started plants in the ground early and if I can get direct planted seeds to germinate in the ground, all the better.
Yes, my soil is alkaline. I use gypsum (neutral) where additional calcium is desired. It contains sulfur. I use ammonium sulfate on my onions. I use 13-13-13-11sulfur or 15-15-15-8sulfur. I add green sand and alfalfa meal to the dirt portion of the garden along with generous amounts of horse, rabbit, and chicken manure. It also gets huge amounts of oak leaves. The furrows between the new rows will soon be filled in with manure and oak leaves that will be tilled in this fall.
My raised beds are filled with Garden-Ville soil that is supposed to be neutral but I have never had it tested. The pots also contain imported soil from Garden-Ville.
Pretty much the same. I do lasagna gardening so I don't do much tilling but I do have livestock so there is plenty of poop. Lol. Every year I try to burn but this year it has been too wet, didn't think I'd ever say that again. So I think I'll add amendments to each hole and see how that works. Just haven't had a lot of free time. I'm on a well so I know the water also has a high PH so I keep raising the PH every time I water. I do use Epsom Salts.
I've just seen alot on DG about the PH and how 7.4 was high for tomatoes. Im sure mine is higher then that and the tomatoes do fine. It's the heat and the pests that take them out. How would I know if the PH was having an adverse effect on my tomatoes? I just think back to when none of this testing was available and people just grew stuff, it must have been a lot easier. Lol
I started a different thread about the hiller/furrower...would you mind posting a picture of your adapter, either here or on the thread I started? The hiller doesn't quite fit...there is a hole, but I need to drill it out to even get a pin through. Once I do that, I'm not sure that the bracket will fit right. It definitely doesn't work right mounted to the depth stake. : (
Today I started prepping the rows for my tomato transplants. I have pictures on a separate thread: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1245313/ of the results of using the hiller/furrower plow for my tiller. I also put my first batch of tomato transplants out to harden yesterday. Today is the first day to get any full sun. There will be a couple of hours of sun between noon and 2:00 pm, then shade the rest of the afternoon. I have them by a wooden fence, for the shade and wind protection. They are still getting a little wind, so that should help in the hardening process.
I hope to plant Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, using wrapped cages for some protection from wind and heavy sun. It is forecast to rain on Thursday, with the highest chances Thursday afternoon. I would like to get the tomatoes in the ground before the rain. Though the soil is a little cool (about 62 degrees) I also plan to start of row or two of bush beans before the rain.
My Dixondale onions are coming right along. You want to be sure to feed yours every two weeks with nitrogen.
When I ordered my second Bio Dome from Park's I ordered a six pack of tomato plants and a pkt of Pineapple tomato seeds. The dome and seeds arrived yesterday. I think it's too late to start the Pineapple seeds, but come January, look out.
Planted three rows of bush beans today, "Contender." Also measured spacing and marked rows for planting tomatoes. I wrapped 24 of 30 cages with plastic mover's wrap. It is mostly for protection from the wind but can be covered to help against a late frost. Six more cages to go for my full-size tomato plants. I've decided to plant two each of Indian Stripe, German Giant, Limbaugh Potato Top, Virgina Sweets, KBX, Persimmon, and Golden Jubilee. I'll also be planting 6 each of Big Beef, Jet Star, and Homestead. My plan is to plant tomatoes tomorrow, before the rain. Cherry tomatoes will go out in a couple of weeks. (I got a late start on the cherries.)
Pepper seedlings are looking good, but it is time to pot them up from the Jiffy pellets into 4-inch pots. Hope to get that done tonight after taking my wife to dinner. Wednesday night is my evening off dialysis. Normally I have dialysis in the evenings. I do it at home, and my wife (who works) is my helper. I don't get much done in the evenings...except checking Dave's Garden and reading!
I planted 6 Jumbo Jalapeño plants just a few minutes ago. Wanted to get them in before the rain. I bought them at a local New Braunfels nursery yesterday on my way back from San Antonio. I had to go to San Antonio to drop off my brush chipper for 600 hr service.
Also, today I sold 8 tomato plants to a fellow up the road who caught my ad on Craig's list.
And last before I settle in to watch some Netflix, I gathered 10 beautiful brown eggs this evening.
Oh, one more thing, my Mittleider Magic Micro Mix came in the mail today. Guess I'll be mixing it with Epsom salt and the 15-15-15 I have on hand. I think Cricketsgarden swears by this stuff. I'll know soon enough.
Busy day today. Bought a load of soil for more tomato pots, 12 - 13 gal and 3 - 27 gal bringing the total planned tomato crop this year to 67.
These 15 pots will get the Mittleider Magic Micro Mix concoction. Miracle Grow Tomato is only being packaged in 1.5 lb for around $5, but I was able to find old stock at Walmart in 3 lb size for $8 & change so I stocked up. This year and maybe next year will be a Mittleider test/learning experience. If all goes well I'll make the conversion.
Did get the first tomatoes planted last Thursday, finished the last three plants after a 10 minute rain storm, a cold front with 20-degree temperature change, and 15-20 mph wind. Also got the cherry tomatoes potted up to 4 inch pots. Don't get to do anything in the garden this week...out of town for my daughter's spring break. Fun, but I'm having gardening withdrawal!
My gardens are still too wet to plant in, and there has been fog and drizzle every morning so it's not drying up very fast. There is alge growing on my walkway to the front door. It just doesn't dry up there during the day. AND it is supposed to rain again next week, so my regular planting routine is out the window. By the end of spring break i do plan on having my 2' leggy tomato plants in the ground. Since I don't think I'll be able to burn this year I might as well clean up the best I can and get those plants in the ground. Then the next day it will freeze. Oh I set my New Big Dwarf plant outside today it was sown in early Oct. So I guess I have started my garden. Got a few more Dwarfs to start. I'm going to direct sow them inputs just to see how it goes. I'm hoping that having them in containers will give me the ability to have tomatoes all summer long.
You guys north of me in zone8 many times have cooler night time spring and fall temps. I know this because I drove to Austin from Canyon Lake to work and back for 18 years leaving home before daylight and returning after dark.
My garden is in a micro climate of a sorts in that it is on a south facing hillside on the north side of the lake. South winds coming off the lake blow directly on my garden. I believe this works to my advantage a few days out of the year. Don't get me wrong. It still gets very cold and very hot.
This has been a good year for me because of the mild winter and the fact I gambled and planted early with the notion I could always replant before it gets too hot.
Although I have been telling myself for several years now that I am going to cover my pot tomatoes growing under cattle panels with 30 % shade cloth, this may be the year I find the time. These are always the first tomatoes I plant and they are always the first to succumb to the dog days of summer. The shade cloth may give a week or two extra production.
texasrockgarden - I can usually transplant tomatoes into the garden four weeks from sowing seeds indoors. Our last frost is supposed to be around April 1st, but I always hold off until the middle of April. One year we had frost in May!
Peppers are always a guessing game - they take their own sweet time.
We don't get a fall frost until around the middle of October, so there's plenty of time.
Our peas are due to "declare" tomorrow. The onions were set last Monday (12th)
Looks like things are starting to pop in the gardening world. You folks are doing great.
A neighbor and her husband came over today to pick up 37 tomato plants and a couple eggplant plants. That puts me out of the tomato business for this season more or less. I have a quart with maybe a half dozen or so Black Krim plants and a couple other varieties. These will be standbys if I need any replacements.
Oh wait! I forgot I had ordered a six-pack of Tomato Country Taste Hybrid tomatoes from Park's on my last order. They arrived yesterday. I'll use one to replace a Principle Borghese that a squirrel or pill bugs nipped off at the base about 1/2" above the straw bale. So add 5 to 67 already planted and I will be growing 72 which is just insane since I live by myself. Anybody want to can tomatoes on halves? :)
Today I mixed and applied 50 gals of Miracle Grow Tomato. Also, applied ammonium sulfate to the onions.
So glad Im not the only one that is starting just a couple more...These are Dwarfs so they will be in movable containers, so I can keep them out of the heat some what. TRG did you decide not to start Pineapple?
Yes if you live bt yourself it is kind a crazy but if you love it who cares.
I know you had mentioned it earlier. It does have a long DTM. Let us know how the Tomato Country Taste does. Ive wanted to try it, have you tried it before? Do you have seeeds for Pineapple. OK no more questions Sheesh.
It's my first time to try Tomato Country Taste. I can't remember why I decided to buy tomato plants when I had already started 120 this season. Maybe it was the free shipping thing or just something in the description that caught my fancy. I think I remember buying the Pineapple seeds with the intention of not using until next year. I don't buy seeds much anymore from Park's but since I was buying my second BioDome I thought what the heck.
I have spots picked out for 4 Tomato Country Tomatoes. I'll send you one of the remaining two if you D-mail your address.
Nothing new planted today. : ( I did get more tilling done and cultivated between already planted rows. I use an Earthway high-wheel push plow, with a cutting blade like a scuffle hoe. It works really well and is quieter and less smelly than my MTD 2-cycle cultivator.
Corn, bush beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, beets, and spinach are all growing. Tomatoes survived transplant and many have grown several inches. I hope to actually get yellow squash and pickling cucumbers planted tomorrow before it rains.
My youngest (now my favorite son) Completely cleaned out my garden. No more debris Ive been waiting for months to burn it but now I can start planting. He got 2 large plastic bags full of OM out of it. I would love to have kept it but I knew that last year's tomato plants and such could spread disease Im so proud of him and now Im good to go.
Got the planned cucumbers (Pickle Bush) and squash (Early Prolific Straight-neck) both planted. I was also able to plant cowpeas (pink-eye purple hull) and another section of sweet corn (Sugar Dots). The hills are also ready for my cherry tomatoes, as soon as they complete the hardening cycle. Got a lot done, but exhausted! I will be able to rest tomorrow, while it is raining--I hope. I will probably sleep during dialysis this evening.
I still have to pot-up my pepper plants, and will plant okra, butternut squash, more corn, more cucumbers, more squash and possibly more beans and/or purple-hull peas. If we get as much rain as forecast, it may be two weeks before the garden dries out enough to work again. I'm thankful that the rain held off today and that I could get as much as I did finished.
I bought a 150 ft roll of concrete reinforcing mesh today for more tomato cages. These rolls cost more every year. This one was $99.58 with tax. I can get 30 18" cages from the roll making the cost per cage about $3.33.
Pictures 2 & 3 Measurements of a couple maters in 25 mph wind with gusts to 35.
Planted 10 bell pepper seedlings from seed I sowed indoors. I have so many pepper plants coming up volunteer in the garden that I decided to skip potting my seedlings into 4" pots and to go straight in to the ground. Keeping my fingers crossed. If we get the rain that is predicted (3") the seedlings will do well. There is something about rain that makes plants turn dark green and really grow.
Picture 1 - Okra and Peas. So far the okra has surprised me at how it is coming along.
Picture 2 - A shot of the greens bed and six tomato plants.
Picture 3 - A cuke still in a Kozy coat starting to form a runner. The Kozys are coming off after this storm passes. The cukes I direct sowed have come up and have formed true leaves.
Let's just say that I have completely bypassed spring, and I'm doing an early fall/wtr garden...
One 4x8' RB is finally BUILT and filled (almost). I picked up two 40 lb bags of topsoil and two 40 lb-bags of hummus to mix together and spread on the top 3" of the bed. I might be able to plant the 2.5' tall tomato SEEDLINGS sitting out in 2- and 3-liter soda bottles...the ones with little yellow blooms all over...
I'm finding out that, if you don't have your structures in place before planting out, it's just not gonna work out. For me, this means having tomato and bean trellises up and ready to receive the tomatoes and beans -- and neither is in place, yet. So, I'm biting the bullet, and not sowing another seed for anything until I can move forward with the seedlings I've already got started.
The Ky Wonder Pole beans are planted out in buckets, with a 6' stake in the middle, but, they will soon outgrow this. Today I found a plan for a bean trellis I had been envisioning in my mind. I can get this built and in place over the weekend.
The tomatoes are a whole other animal. I truly want to string them up like Cricket does hers, and I'm deciding what type of structure I could put over the 4x8 bed, that I could throw the tomato guide lines over, with confidence that the heavyweight heirlooms won't pull it down...
I might try to modify the bean trellis.
The only thing encouraging me is the fact that it WILL get hot in Houston. And, it will STAY hot in Houston, for a very long time. Which means I still have time for my okra and my bell peppers and my eggplants. And, if I use the Roots Organic (for such a time as this), I can plant out seedlings in exactly 6 more weeks!
The onions are growing fast, even though they just went out last week. I mixed in a tremendous amount of BONE meal this time, and they are loving it!
Like I said -- I'm early for the fall/wtr. garden!
As a consolation to myself, I will eat these this evening, with the homemade vanilla ice cream my co-worker made, and call it 100% Strawberry!
It was raining in my veggie garden earlier this morning! Woohoo! This afternoon, hubby planted pole beans that had been soaking since Sunday. I'm surprised they haven't started growing. The peas we put in last week have started poking their heads out as have the carrots. Woot!
I need to be weeding in my onions today. I can only get so close with the scuffle hoe, and their are weeds right around the onions. First, I have to get another load of laundry done, unload and reload the dishwasher, and sweep the kitchen. The non-fun chores have to be finished before I do the gardening. That was a deal with my wife, who works all day--since I am home, I have to do some of the chores when I feel like working. : )
When I don't have enough energy to do chores, I read and post on Dave's Garden!
== To stop weeds for up to six weeks, rake a pre-emergent herbicide, such as Treflan or corn gluten meal, into the top inch of soil before you plant. Don't worry, the herbicide will not affect the onion plant roots.
== Controlling weeds is critical to prevent competition for nutrients. An application of Treflan or corn gluten meal raked into the top inch of soil every six weeks during the growing season will prevent weeds from returning. Mulching with a light layer of straw will help control weeds and preserve moisture. Be sure to push the straw back when the plants start to bulb so they'll cure properly.
== If your soil is too acidic, mix in ground limestone, available at your garden center. If it's too alkaline, add peat moss.
== For the best growth and yield, onions need fertilizer right from the start. Use a fertilizer with the middle number higher than the other two, such as 10-20-10.
== Nutritional needs are different during the growing season. Every 2 to 3 weeks after planting, fertilize with ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) in alkaline soils, or calcium nitrate (15.5-0-0) in acidic soils. Sprinkle it on top of the original fertilizer strip at the rate of ½ cup per 10 feet of row. Water the onions after every application. Stop fertilizing when the onions start to bulb.
Now to see how many miles away sources are for corn gluten meal, 10-20-10, and straw!
Yesterday I mixed 40 gallons of Medina Hasta Grow for Plants and applied it to the tomatoes and some other veggies.
Today I came home from San Marcos with a load of composted horse manure and other stuff. A generous 2 to 4 inches is applied in the furrows between the peppers, peas, corn, okra and onions. I'll water daily to keep it and the soil beneath moist. Later when the plants begin to stress from heat I will cover the compost with old oak leaves to level with the tops of the rows.
texasrockgarden - by next year, I'm hoping to have my garden look more like yours (the last photo on the right.) Because our garden is on a slope, I plan to enclose the whole area with 2x12x12 pine boards. This way I can eliminate the individual raised beds I have now and have nice, deep soil. I measured the area and it's 24x48.
Then I'll start on the other area where hubby is removing the running bamboo. I do plan to set some squash plants there in about a month. They can spread out and be happy!
My rows are on a south facing slope falling from right to left in the photo. I can lay a soaker hose in the right most furrow and leave it on until water comes out from beneath the last row on the left usually about 24 to 36 hours. This method pulls the roots of whatever is growing at the time deep to reach the water. Doing this has worked well for me since I started gardening this spot in the early 80's.
What do you do about crop rotation in that one spot since 1980?[/quote]
Not that much, but there are five rows + I plant different veggies on the ends of the rows where the furrows are filled making a dam so to speak. So there is some room for crop rotation.
In the early years I added large amounts of sphagnum moss and rice hulls. I worked for a rice mill for 18 years so the rice hulls were plentiful and free. From the late 90's to 2006 I took a break from gardening so it lay fallow. Most years since I have add large amounts of compost and oak leaves. So the large amounts of organic material being added may have something to do with a low rate of diseases.
Using the above pic my main focus is to plant tall veggies to the right so as to provide morning sun on the left most rows and some late afternoon filtered shade for peppers growing in the left row. Except for last year on half the left row where onions were planted, peppers have been planted with no apparent problems. Between each pepper plants I dig a hole with a post hole digger the size of a large tomato juice cans and fill it with rabbit pellets. Pepper plants seem to really enjoy this diet.
So far I have not had any disease problems. Maybe it is the organics added every year.
The "bunny poo" pellet is low NPK, i.e., all numbers are around the 1-2 range. I try not to get too much of the manure that is urine saturated in any one hole between the peppers.
Glad you mentioned alfalfa. Last season I bought 50 # of alfalfa meal and distributed it throughout the dirt garden and the raised beds. This year when I did all my tilling I forgot the alfalfa meal. The alfalfa is supposed to contain a chemical that promotes plant growth.
[quote="1lisac"]If I understand the onion thing correctly you do need a high middle number at first then you add N to encourage leaf growth which makes more leaves that make energy to allow a nice bulb to form. [/quote]
That's it, basically. The other reason for adding more phosphorus (the middle number) early is that it's less mobile in the soil. Even the "water soluble" types tend to "stick" to spoil particles more than the nitrogen or potassium, so phosphorus applied after the plants are well up may not get all the way down to the plants' feeder roots.
By the same token, some types of soils that have been fertilized for a number of years (e.g.: clay loams) can accumulate quite a bit of phosphorus and may not need much added after a while.
T-rock [quote]So far I have not had any disease problems. Maybe it is the organics added every year.[/quote]
My theory is that earthworms eat their way through everything in the soil, and what comes out the other end is disease free. But it could be all the organic stuff added each year. Or maybe a little of each. (shrug)
Dug up the ends on a couple of rows of corn. The seeds were just starting to root and send up the shoot. The rows had all formed a hard crust from the rain last week. I broke the crust by raking very lightly, about 1/4". I did the same for the yellow squash and cucumbers.
I cultivated everything else, too. I didn't get great germination on either the spinach or beets. I think it could have been a mistake to rig the seed plate to plant less seed. Extra seed probably would have made up cor lower germination rates.
I plan to plant cherry tomatoes tomorrow. If the temperatures hold up I will be planting peppers soon. Soil temp at 8 inches is already 75. I need to mulch the other tomatoes-- they are about two feet high and filling the cage diameter.
What a great thread! Lots and lots of good info. texasrock said: The alfalfa is supposed to contain a chemical that promotes plant growth Alfalfa is high in nitrogen and good as a 'starter' in your garden.
My tomatoes are doing great. I need to get the Momotaro's planted. I seeds came in late and I'm behind the 8-ball with those. Also need to get the peppers in the ground, they are lagging but the heat is just kicking in here.
Then there's the zucc's I want to plant and cukes and okra. Would also like to start corn. Too bad I'm working a solid 40 hours each week - that *really* cuts into the gardening time. I need to build a bed for the zucc and corn...then get some soil...sigh...time, I need more time. When I have time, I don't have money for the supplies. Now I have the money but no time. Dang! That forumla sucks. ;-)
Mary - [quote]When I have time, I don't have money for the supplies. Now I have the money but no time.[/quote]
I've been in this same cycle so many times, I've lost count!
Unfortunately now that I have the time, I don't have the energy! I still don't have enough funds to do everything in the garden that I would like, but my car will be paid for by this time next year, so I'll have some extra cash (and probably even less energy) LOL
It's an upside down square frame that goes up and over the 4x8' RB, 8" from one end of the bed. The frame is about 6' tall. I planted THREE tomato plants parallel to the crossbar of the frame, then tied a triple length of twine at the base of each plant, wound the twine up the stem of the plant, and threw the excess line up and over the overhead crossbar. As the plant grows up, I'll wind it around more of the twine. The plant is perfectly vertical and the line is holding it up!
Almost just like Cricketsgarden!
('xept, when I reread her posts from January last night, I discovered I could've put 6 plants in the line instead of just three...)
But, I'VE GOT TOMATO PLANTS IN THE GROUND!
I planted two Sioux (not Super Sioux), and one Virginia Sweets. I mixed six handsful of Dolomitic lime, 3 hands of worm castings, and 3 hands of Epsom Salts together in a large bowl, then dug three planting holes with the post hole digger, and sprinkled two large hands of this mix into the bottom of each hole. Then, I backfilled with a bit of the soil before I set the plants, so the roots wouldn't be sitting directly on the mix. I just had time to fill the holes up before the mosquitoes drove me inside! Didn't even have time to water them in as it was pitch black out by then.
I watered them in well this morning, and they started saluting the sun as I was watering! I am sooooooooooo excited to have that frame up! It is so much neater and easier than cages all over the bed, plus the tomatoes have far more space to grow vertically without the cages around them. Like Cricket, I'll prune each plant to just one main stem for control. When I get better at this, maybe I'll do two main stems like she does, but I'm still in a learning curve.
Did I say I was EXCITED???!!!
Forgive me, I didn't have time to snap pics. Will post some this evening.
After yesterday's 10 hour workout in the garden I am still beat this morning. Gunna take it easy today for sure.
Pictures as promised:
1. Corn thinning - I never new this is the way corn germinated and grew. All the thinnings had the same root structure. This is only the second I have ever grown corn. My expectations are probably far beyond what reality will bring.
2. Tomato Indian Stripe
3. Tomato JD's special C-Tex
4. Tomato Rambling Red Stripe
5. Tomato Purple Russian - It has grown since my last posted pic.
1. and 2. Tomato Rambling Red Stripe in a hanging basket. Two of ten of these tomatoes germinated and stayed tiny but quite healthy so I decided to pot one up to this basket. I've never had a tomato that grew so tiny. I thought y'all might enjoy seeing a pic of this little fella or gal.
3. and 4. Tomato Brandy Sweet Plum PL - Soil in tomato pots settled so they are now backfilled with fresh compost.
I got enough sun to dry the garden enough to plant the last 12 tomato plants. They needed to go into the ground a week ago! Planted two Sweet 100, two Sweet Million, two Galena's, two Golden Gems, two Sun Sugars, and two Sweet Golds. (Yes, that is heavy on the yellow cherrys...I'm looking for something other than Sungold. Sungold is great early, but loses it's flavor to me once it starts to get warm.)
I spent some time this morning while it was wet working on an idea I have for a chicken tractor. More on that over in the poultry forum once I get enough done for pictures. Didn't get anything else done in the garden, though. We have out-of-town guests Friday night through Sunday night, so I won't get any gardening done all weekend. I'm glad to have the visit, but not getting to work in the garden is killing me. : )
I am really behind this year - will spare you my excuses! Amazing how the winter crops don't seem to want to give up the ghost though. My garden looks full, it's just all still from the previous season -- lettuce, romaine, spinach, beets and much too much chard. Sunflowers are just now coming into their own.
As for spring garden, I finally got 9 tomatoes planted out this week, and hope to add more today. Whoever told me to not give up on my stalled seedlings was right! I started treating them right (potted up, fert, etc.) and they took off! And that's good, because I never did get any more seeds started. I did go buy a few transplants though, out of panic, lol, when I saw some nice ones on sale. So now I've gone from not enough tomato seedlings to trying to find room for them all. That chard may just have to go.
My one row of pole beans has peeked up out of the ground -- need to make slug collars quick.
I have some peppers and eggplant seedlings that need the same booster treatment.
And then I have several packets of seeds, waiting on me!
I'm putting the press on starting tomorrow. Will start eggplant, okra, and bell pepper seeds inside. Yeah, I know it's already hot out, but Houston's hot will last until next year...and, our weatherman has predicted some dips into the mid 50s next week, so, I'm ok with my timeframe.
Will also get the second raised bed built. The first bed is oriented E-W with my wind tunnel running over it from N-S. But, I'm thinking I might orient the next two beds N-S. And, instead of 4x8', the next two beds will be 3x8.
My 60+ bucket garden is disappearing as of this Sunday...they're heading to Hotlanta, Georgia!
I might keep a few for my eggplants and water-hogs (which love the reservoirs). Weaning away from them is harder than I thought. But, I've seen so many success stories and pics of ya'lls RBs that I truly want to see how everything grows in the ground.
Maybe I will just go "cold Turkey", give up all the buckets and put everything in the RBs. Sink or swim. I can ALWAYS get buckets!
I just got in from mixing and applying 60 gallons of MG for Tomatoes. The plants are coming along nicely. I sprayed some on the okra, corn, peas, eggplants, and peppers. Later this afternoon I will mix another 10 gallons Mg for the ones I forgot to attend to this morning, 7 tomato plants and the fig tree.
I will also need to apply ammonium sulfate to the onions this afternoon. The onions planted 4" apart in the raised bed are starting to bulb out so this will be the last time for ammonium sulfate on them. I checked my calendar and last year I pulled onions on May 18 so this years onions are on schedule.
Last year I pickled beets on May 20. This year some of the beets are already ready to be pull so should be putting some up soon. I think I finally got the cole crops down. Seeds for these need to be sown in early January here rather than in March as I have always done in the past.
I am looking forward to the upcoming Tomato Salsa Sausa canning dance. :)
Now, off to put a chicken on the rotisserie for an hour or so on the Weber gas grill and then kick back and relax for a while.
I've got one raised bed built, my very first one.
I dumped all the existing buckets, which are on their way to Hotlanta, as we speak!
I made a new mix to fill the bed. I had 1/2 of my new pine bark fines from January sitting under the patio, and since I'd only used the 3-1-1 mix in the buckets for one season (for the brassicas in the fall/wtr garden), I mixed some of the old bucket mix (which contained some MG potting mix), a higher ratio of the NEW pine bark fines, Vermiculite, and Sharp sand for my RB formula.
It is fast draining, structurally sound, and has good aeration. When the 2nd bed gets built, I'll mix up the remaining mix and fill it. All of the pine bark fines will FINALLY be in the beds.
I've never grown a thing in the ground before, and I'm curious to try my gardening on a larger scale. The buckets served me well, and, I know there are still some things I'll put into a bucket. However, they won't be the hub of my operation anymore.
I have a new project, too. I saved the pickets from my old cedar fence, and will use them to camouflage some of the remaining buckets. They'll look like cedar barrels with the pickets lashed around the buckets. If it is aesthetically pleasing, I might have more buckets areas in the yard, in addition to the raised beds.
The ultimate goal for my landscape design is edibles mixed in with the flowers and shrubs.
Pine bark fines are the actual ground up outter bark of pine trees. It is also called double grind pine bark at some of the dirt yards. It took me forever to find my source (right here under my nose...), but it is well worth it!
I spent almost 5 months sending pictures back and forth to Tapla. In the end, he was the one who found it for me here in Houston. I have several pictures of the RIGHT stuff, and several pictures of the WRONG stuff. Once, I saw the RIGHT stuff, I could see immediately how it differed from the WRONG stuff.
I'll post a few pictures of the RIGHT STUFF so you can see it.
The RIGHT STUFF is made up of particles that go from "dust" up to about the diameter of a 50-cent piece. The pieces should be slivers, NOT CHUNKY NUGGETS of bark for mulch. Even if you have a thick piece of the RIGHT STUFF, if you hit it with the edge of your shovel, it would break up into layers of slivers, almost like slivered almonds. It should also snap easily in your fingers. When it mildly moist, it almost reminds you of MG potting mix. The RIGHT STUFF gives you a good ratio of dust/dirt particles to larger slivers/chunks. You don't want anything that has too may leathery, stringy, pulpy pieces of the tree in it.
Here's what THE RIGHT STUFF looks like on the pile at my dirt yard, and after I had sifted out some of the larger chunks (which would go into my raised bed vs. going into my container mix) through 1/2" hardware cloth. I use anywhere from dust to dime or nickel size slivers in my container mix.
No need to sift it at all for the Raised Bed mix, as the larger chunks will add bulk to the structure, and allow drainage and air into the Raised Bed.
And, here are pictures of THE WRONG STUFF. You'll notice stringy pieces, chunky NUGGETY pieces, leathery pieces and pieces that are more pulp than bark. Also, there's a preponderance of chunky pieces, and not enough dust/dirt particles. You need the "dirt" part of the bark as well.
Are you concerned about systemic herbicide? I didn't realize all the weed issues the hay was causing and hay is so expensive now due to the drought, straw has to be a better deal. Some of the time I never even get around to mulching. Lol
Well poop, I don't have grass clippings. My livestock mows and fertilizes at the same time. At the rate I'm going now I'll never get it done anyway. Lol. If I jam enough stuff into a much too small space it's kind of the same thing, right?
Lisa, I can't find straw either. I called our Ag agent to see if he personally knew anyone in my area growing wheat, thinking I could go right to the source. He didn't, but said most wheat is grown to the west of Ft. Worth. To try Craig's list in that area.
I don't know if this will help unless you want to truck in large amounts... but thought it might be worth mentioning. Or a call to your agent to see if there is an area closer to you that does wheat.
[quote="Gymgirl"]Thanks, David. What do you think of that Squash Teepee? It keeps the plant nice and compact, and growing vertically (Long as it's not a vining type squash!)
TRock, you direct sowed the beet seeds around mid-January?[/quote]
I look forward to the squash teepee adventure. Be sure to keep us posted.
Yes, the beets were sown mid January. I pulled a dozen and just finished them off for lunch. After cooking them I drowned them in soft butter and added ground black pepper.
The next batch will be candidates for canned pickled beets. I broke down my canning recipe to a pint level. Now I can do a pint or two at a time. If I remember from last year it takes about a pound of beets per pint. I would like to be able to put up enough to have a pint per month for the next 12 months or 12 pints. The same for pickled okra. I use a quart of dill pickles a month.
Its not too late for summer or winter squash. The challenge there is getting it started if its too cold or too hot outside. So you should be fine. Ive started pumpkins in August (direct sowed) so they would be ready for Halloween.
I transplanted pepper plants today. There are six Aleppos and 18 various non-bell sweets. Also replanted green beans--the first planting was mostly leveled by cucumber beetles and various worms. A dusting with Sevin powder knocked the bugs back, but there were huge gaps in the rows. I also tried transplanting some yellow squash seedlings that were too close into gaps in other hills. Since I would have thinned them anyway there's nothing lost. Finally, since many seem to have good luck transplanting cucumbers, I started some 'Pickle Bush' cucumbers in peat pellets. It was supposed to rain today, but it looks like we missed any substantial rain.
This morning I removed the oak leaves that was serving as mulch for the onions and put them in one of the furrows. As you can see the onions are starting to bulb out so it won't be long now until harvest.
Check out the photo with the coffe cup...pulled a few thinnings from the bed where I had planted the smaller plants of the lot at 2" spacing back in January.
Honey, that's interesting information, did not know that about length of day and onions. Texas, yours are looking really good, no bulbs showing on mine yet. The garlic stems are starting to brown though.
This is OT but does anyone here know when to plant tomatillo's? DH recently got interested in whipping up batches of green salsa - he discovered the food processor!! - and it would be good to get some growing. I can check my calendars but while I was here, thought I'd ask.
bee, I pulled my onions last year around the middle of may. I cured them spread out on the ground under a shed for two weeks. I then cut the stems an inch above the bulb and stored then on baby bed springs suspended from the floor joists under my log cabin. A few were left late November early December and they started to sprout. Of the approx 200 onions I harvested last year I lost only about 10 - 15 to rot.
[quote="MaryMcP"]Honey, that's interesting information, did not know that about length of day and onions. Texas, yours are looking really good, no bulbs showing on mine yet. The garlic stems are starting to brown though.
This is OT but does anyone here know when to plant tomatillo's? DH recently got interested in whipping up batches of green salsa - he discovered the food processor!! - and it would be good to get some growing. I can check my calendars but while I was here, thought I'd ask.[/quote]
tomatillo's...Plant it now. It likes heat. Give it enough water to keep it alive.
Mary, Tomatillos like HOT soil to germinate. Once they germinate they grow really fast. You can start them by direct sowing but I start them inside. If kept warm enough they will germinate in 1-2 days then they take off. I had some that I sowed and tried to pot up 1 month later. They were too big and some broke. Pot them up just like a tomato plant, deep they will grow roots along the stem. However, they are not self fertile. Another words you need more then 1 plant if u want fruit. The more plants the better and plant them close to each other.
1-2. Southern Night tomato from volunteer that came up in November 2011. I had cleaned out old wood shavings from the hen house and dumped a pile in an old garden area. Three of the plants that came up around the pile of chicken fines were potted up to gal containers and wintered over. This spring more seed germinated around that same pile of chicken fines so I started watering them. They are now blooming. :) Looks like tomato seeds process just fine through chickens. (wink)
3. Rambling Red Stripe
4. Three Tasti-Lee F1 plants
5. Here is what happens when side dress too close and with too much fertilizer. The beets feeder roots were burned off. Even though there are signs of new growth these plants will probably not make beets in time for when I pull the other plants. They will come out and go to the chickens so the space can be used for cantaloupes and maybe a squash plant or two. And maybe one more very late tomato seedling I have coming along.
[quote="1lisac"]They are husk tomatoes, not related to a tomato at all. They are related to Ground Cherries. Ive read that they can take a long time to germinate I have not found this at all. The grow like weeds![/quote]
That depends on what you mean by related. The Physalis are not in the same genus as tomato - that's a pretty small number of species - but they are in Solanaceae, along with peppers, eggplants, potatoes - tobacco, datura, black nightshade, belladonna ;o). Interesting family, indeed. It also includes the "new superfruit", wolfberry - or, as the marketing agencies now dub it, "goji" or even "yumberry" [lol]. It always amuses me to listen to some "new-ager" bemoaning the "evils" of the nightshade family, and watching their reaction of disbelief when I mention to them that the goji berries they are happily munching are members of the nightshade family. Guess I have a little mean streak. ;o)
This morning I fenced off an area where hubby has been removing running bamboo. I ended up with roughly a 25ft x 25ft area where I plan to grow summer squash, zucchini and small pumpkins. The fence is to keep the dogs out!
The soil in this area is much better than that in the main garden, so should not need amendments, just organic fertilizer.
My DG subscription is expiring tomorrow. I may post a thread over on the "High Yield Gardening Discussion Forum" since it's free. Otherwise I am going to be gardening instead of spending so much time on the Internet.
Canning season is just around the corner...so.
I will try to continue to be active on some of the free gardening websites. I find the information there just as informative as what's here.
I need to get some pictures, but good progress in the garden. Prepped the soil and planted more cucumbers and sweet potatoes today. I started the cucumbers in peat pellets, in a Jiffy Greenhouse on a heat mat. Had 100% germination! That is unbelievably better than the direct-sown seeds from a few weeks ago. I used the pellets to fill in all the gaps on the first row then planted a second row of cucumbers. I planted as soon as the plants were starting to show the littlest bit of a true leaf. These are the 'Pickle Bush' variety. They did really well for me last year. I'll be starting my butternut squash, 'Burpee's Butterbush' in pellets, on the heat mat too. I hope to get them into the garden in a week or two.
The sweet potatoes are 'Vardeman', which are also supposed to be a bush variety. I planted 50 plants, but with relatively close spacing of 12" between plants. According to George's Sweet Potato farm (the source of the slips) the closer planting will give more uniform sized sweet potatoes. Everything got a good soaking with the water can, but I'm hoping for a rain on Sunday.
Okra, 'Orange Jing' and 'Clemson Spineless' will be going in this week. I will probably direct seed it tomorrow with the Earthway seeder. The problem with the seeder is that I can't pre-soak the seeds and I have to sew thickly enough to allow for germination difficulty with my crusty soil. May use the seeder, but secure the chain that covers so I can go back and add a light covering of sand after seeding.
Also need to get another batch of corn planted. I have had poor germination on the first two batches (seed from last year) so I will double plant this year. Not sure if this batch will be Sugar Dots or Peaches and Cream. Both seem to be comparable, so I may flip a coin.
Tomatoes are all blooming, some have fruit setting from the first batch of blooms. Some of the broccoli is bolting, but the crop hasn't been a complete loss. I need to get the broccoli planted in the fall next time, rather than spring. That or I am going to have to plant at Christmas for a spring crop. : )
The other spring vegetables, lettuce, snap peas, spinach, and beets are all progressing, but also could have been planted earlier. We hare having temperatures consistently in the 80's, so the spring crops are a little bit warmer than optimum. The bulb onions are doing terrifically well. The tops are all in the 18"-24" range and the bulbs are starting to form. It looks like I will have plenty of yellow, white, and red onions!
That concludes this week's Hutto farm report... : )
Luv, your report. I just found my first Volunteer tomato plant last night, its only 3" tall but it looks as good as any that I started. Along with some Malabar Spinach and something that looks familiar but...
Its supposed to cool off a little next week, 70s during the day and 50s at night. LUV these temps but could do without the humidity.
Disappointed that the rain we were supposed to have turned into a miss. I think we have had about .02" inches today. I will be pulling out the hoses tomorrow. I just wish that it was less than 175' from my garden to the nearest faucet. That was definitely poor planning on someone's part...
I've often wanted to add a water faucet off the laundry room where I have an herb garden. DH says "fugetaboutit". It's just off the laundry room!!! How hard could it be? Anyway, we put down that spaghetti tubing under the gardens and lady banks hedge. Quick connects on the ends of all hoses and the bib connectors to the spaghetti tubing. Each hose has a brass fitting before the quick connect that allows me to turn off and then moderate the flow. So I turn the faucet on before leaving the patio, haul the hose to where it's needed, turn the moderator valve and let 'er rip - or drip as the case may be.
A couple of gardens are equipped with a timer at the hose bib and I use that in summer when hand watering and/or hooking up is too time consuming. ATM manually hooking things up works okay.
dreaves>> Know your disappointment, only rained here about 15 minutes today, know we hardly got anything but hadn't checked rain gauge.
Last year when we built the large raised bed, I planned the drip irrigation system. It was very easy to install, modify, and if planned well, you can expand it if your garden size increases. This year have been looking at the hose-timer, just to make the system run a more consistent watering to the plants.
Today in my garden the long cold winter wait is over (until the next frost or snow we get in May!) and my garden is waking up! I have a car cover frame enclosed in chicken wire which protects my garden from almost all the uninvited guests.
MaryMcP, that's actually 2" metal tubing, set in concrete. There is fence wire run through holes drilled in the pipe, to give us something to clip the chicken wire to, and to add tension. We wrapped the chicken wire around the tubing at the top, otherwise it is basically attached to to the fence wire. I can put up a better pic if you'd like details.
Gymgirl, thanks for the suh-weet! I am so happy with how it came out, and how it works. And I LOVE seeing it fill up with greenery.
I sowed green beans the other day. (blue lake) I have never grown green beans myself. I have always watched others grow them. I read to sow them 3 inches apart and that seems too close in my opinion so I put them 6 inches apart. I did not make TPs. I used reinforcement wire cages and sowed the seed around the cages. I have three cages sitting next to each other. I think I sowed 55 seed. I hope it works out right. I want to dehydrate the green beans. I thought that would be a great way to store them. (blanch, dry off, dehydrate, store in jars)
Corn...I am getting a late start on corn cause the garden bed is not ready yet. I have sown my corn in cell flats for transplanting later. I have done this before and it worked great. I will be planting those one every square foot in a 4ftx10ft bed. (two beds)
My eggplants were doing so well during our early warm spring and then this cold spell came through and their blooms have been dropping off. It just isn't warm enough right now. But I do have bell peppers growing. Some are 4 inches long. (big bertha and super heavyweight)
I am not growing very many carrots right now. I prefer to sow those in late summer. They grow better and taste better in the Fall and Winter and I don't pull them until I am ready to eat them. The store forever in the ground.
Last summer I grew a bumper crop (for me) of bulb onions. I leave in South H _ l l, Texas, and NO root cellar.
So, the only place I had was my garage. I found a LARGE clear plastic bowl, and drill small holes over the whole bowl. Then, I just stacked the onions in the bowl, being careful not to bruise any. I sat them on top of my clothes dryer. They lasted from that July/August harvest, until I reached for the last few around mid-January. Unfortunately, small maggots started in the last ones on the bottom of the bowl. I think if I had put them in a breatheable mesh bag, the flies wouldn't have laid on them toward the end.
But, I had my own onions for almost five months! And, it was hot in that garage at least until November!
Thank you Linda. That is really nice to know. Is there any such mesh bags that fruit flies cannot get in? My sister is giving me a hanging pan rack but I don't want to use it for pans. I want to hang garlic, onions, and potatoes in bags. I really wanted some burlap sacks but they are very hard to find.
I've got so tired of this see-saw weather I decided I could wait no longer, so I transplanted some melons and tomatoes this morning. The weather report is for possible FROST next week. If they are correct, the melons and tomatoes are probably doomed! (sigh)
I have more seedlings indoors under lights, BUT if August has triple digit numbers like last year, my window of opportunity for getting a crop of tomatoes before the end of July is closing rapidly.
Don't you have a hoop in place? Make a simple one of PVC bent over and anchored into some 12" pieces pounded into the ground on either side of your bed. You can throw 4-6 mil plastic over, some old sheets, or old lightweight blankets. At this point, your freeze will probably just be overnight or a couple days, right? Run a string of christmas tree lights under to add some warmth, or fill some plastic milk jugs with hot water and shove them under.
(Amazing what I've picked up in Dave's Garden...)
You can protect them, Bee! If I lived closer, I'd come help you.
You can hang your onions in pantyhose! Just cut the legs off, drop on onion in, knot the pantyhose at the top, and repeat. You can get about 5 or 6 in a leg. Then, hang them up in the garage or laundry room or wherever you can find space. To use, just cut between the top of the onion and the knot (leave the knot on the bottom so the onions don't fall out).
Planted Carrots and Sweet onions last weekend in my raised bed. My snap peas are up 3-4 inches.
I started some tomatoes (Better boy) too early inside. They're nearly a foot tall now. I'll never learn! LOL!
HonneyBee, I put out zuchinni last month, way too early, but when the frosts came I put the clay pots upside down over them, and it seemed to work fine. They didn't thrive in the cool weather, but they didn't get damaged. I even have one struggling sweet potato hanging in there.
If it gets down real low and you use the hoops, get a little ceramic heater with a thermostat. We have one in our bathroom, 1500 watts, and it heats like crazy. Jut run an extension cord to the garden... Our heater is real small, probably about 10" or 12" tall and about 8" wide and deep, it should keep your plants warm and toasty...