The FALL/WINTER VEGGIE gardens are ramping up! The seeds have been (or, are being) sowed, and the transplanting continues.
So, jump on in to give us an update on the progress of YOUR Fall/Winter 2012-2013 veggie garden. Posting the veggie variety lists you're growing and pictorial updates of what's growing now would be very helpful to other growers getting ready to start!
Got 40 bales of organic wheat straw bales today for the new chicken house for winter. If there are any left over, I'll move those into the greenhouse and set pots on them to make it easier to tend to the plants. We're expecting a low of 2 degrees on Sun. night, so I'll strew wood shavings over the floor and under the water drums for insulation. West of here, it's already snowing in the higher country. I do hope we get some rain out of this...after the chicken house is done, lol. I have about 3 cubit feet of shredded leaves mixed with chicken manure and wood shavings to add to the already started compost pile in the greenhouse. The corn, tomatoes, squash, okra, and green beans are doing well, despite the 10-, 20- 30-degree temps at night, with the little milk house heater and a fan. Will probably have to add another heater in there before long. Pic shows a couple of the barrels (total 6) and the plastic on the end lifted up to vent and access (still have to build the end half-wall and doorway). Cosmos and Corn are in the raised bed area.
And I set up my temporary "greenhouse" for my tender adeniums. The collection has grown so big I don't have enough room in the house any more. My setup is a scrap 6'x6' chain link gate set atop 2 sawhorses, and covered all over with 6 mil clear plastic. This is set up in the sunniest sport in the yard and has concrete pavers at the base, hopefully the pavers will absorb heat during the day & release it at night. The sides can be lifted up if it gets too hot in there, and I can supply supplemental heat on the nights when it drops below freezing. This is the first year I'll be leaving the adeniums outdoors, so I;ll be keeping a close watch on them.
I am going to try row covers this year. I have one raised bed where I am using pex tubing for hoops; I have another bed where I will just let the fabric float. Just ordered fabric from johnny's seeds.
Currently, I have romaine lettuce, bok choi, herbs, arugula, mustard, beets and radishes. Planted seeds for various lettuces today. Don't know if they will germinate, but we had 69 degree weather today. Although it's supposed to get a little colder, I think it's still possible to get some germination.
Finally feel like I've accomplished something this week. Transplanted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and more tomatoes. Planted squash and cucumbers and am trying an experiment with more broccoli and cauliflower. Planted more bok choi, beets, purple carrots and 1000 garlic bulbs.I bought red and silver plastic film mulch. I love it.
I've made an interesting discovery about myself -- when it comes to growing plants, I'm NOT in control -- and I wanna be!
I've got all these neat little rows of beet and turnip seedlings coming up, and my first awakening was having to actually thin them. After trying to reposition about 21 tiny seedlings, it became less painful to just rip out the rest to get some decent spacing. But, they look so pitiful. I'm not used to not being able to manipulate growth factors like light and temperature.
Same thing with those neat rows of turnips...
I side dressed everything with either a high nitro or high phosphorus mix.
I've got beautiful Broccs and caulis growing in one bed, and terribly worm hole laden brassicas in another. Can not find that darn worm!
Linda, good that you have realized that in the world of gardening, we humans are definitely in control! We may fudge a little here and there, but in the big picture, Mother Nature is the one calling the shots! We just have to deal with it!
Nice rain here yesterday will really help all of the mustard I have planted ,Brussel Sprouts are looking good just not a hint of a sprout yet ,looks like the Collards are going to steal the show for this fall..the kale is also looking good ,have already begun to eat some mixed greens but now have enough that are large enough to have a cooking of individual ones...Along with the rain came a sudden drop in the temps went from 72° down to 53° in a matter of 20 minutes and kept going down till the over night temp was 30°
The temps are dropping here, not going anywhere near 30, but will be in the 50's. Winds had been out of the southeast at 20mph sustained with gusts of 45, now it has switched from the north, still 20-30 with gusts of 40-45. Brrrrrrrrrr,need a sweat shirt and cap to work in this!
I direct seeded primed broccoli and cauliflower, cucumber and squash seeds. They came up in 24 hours! Planted fingerlings and red and white potatoes. I'm behind on planting those.
We're having such a lovely rain here. It started in the night and is still going -- nice and gentle with no storming. The gauge says 2" so far.
We have really had a mild weather year for us. Not much in the way of big damaging storms or other severe weather. There was that bad dry spell in the spring, but even then it wasn't nearly as bad as the midwest. "They" say it's going to be a rough, snowy winter. We'll see.
Just lettuces and kale-everything else croaked or succumbed to the bugs and worms! I did plant a bunch of garlic for next season-first time-I'm excited. But my fingers about froze trying to get it in on a windy, grey, cold day!
Peggy I too planted some more garlic today ,i kinda got the hang of a nice easy way to plant bulbs I just remove all the soil down to the depth I want the bulbs to be then spread the bulbs on top of the area from which you have removed the soil ,return the soil to it's original location and you are done works in a row as well as a planter ..BTW this works well on flower bulbs as well ..Joe
I planted mine in a planteractually 1/3 of a barrel and they are only a few inches apart ,i have watched the commercial grows plant in rows and they were very thick ,they were using a large (8 row planter ) huge tractor and didn't seem to waste much time on the planting ...When it came it was very thick so they must have really fertilized it heavy their yields are in tons per acre ..but I can see that garlic does not seem to need a lot of room
Got my broccoli planted today. Starting with 15 plants each of Green Magic and Bonanza. I'll save the rest of the flat and plant more in a week or two. I need to get the rows ready for my onions. My order from Dixondale should arrive December 10.
So far, I have radish and turnips sprouting. Lettuce, spinach, beets and carrots still aren't showing anything. Still also have about half the main garden area to till and prep for winter. I think I am going to plant that half with annual ryegrass for cover.
My winter garden was growing great - lots of broccoli, cauliflower, peas, garlic, green onions. Then the chickens got out for several hours. Broccoli - newly forming heads just pecked off. The same with cauliflower. Peas - completely torn out of the ground. At least the left the green onions & garlic alone. The cauliflower is a total loss. I my get the side shoots from the broccoli. And the peas are just a pile to put in the compost.
Lol, wringing a few necks. Terrible news though Jo-Ann.
I received my onions as well a few days ago and I planted 50 of them- 16x each of red creole, yellow and white from the Dixondale short-day sampler. Lots more bulbs to plant.
Still battling the worms on my Bok Choy...seems that there was a big fat worm at the center of several of my plants today but I had already sprayed twice with Bt over the past couple of days. I did not pick them because I want to see how effective my treatments will be. I've had lots of yummy outer leaves so its cool...regardless, eeewww at the worms lurking in the center. Mental note, spray early and often next time. Or use hoops!
Oh, and 17 of my 20 garlic cloves are up! Still have more to plant. Also, and most importantly, I finally got my drip irrigation system up and running. It still needs some tweaking but wow, what a difference it makes.
Love my drip system. No more watering in the dark with a flashlight when I get home from work. I was even sitting on a chair watching the kids play & talking to my wife yesterday when the system turned on. That was nice, just kicking back and relaxing :) . Trust me, I've botched enough crops over the years due to uneven or otherwise insufficient watering so hopefully this will do the trick.
Right now it is set to run from 7-7:30am and 5-5:30pm. Does that sound reasonable for my brassicas, carrots and lettuce?
You will need to become acquainted with how the soil handles the water. If your soil is sandy or very loose, the low volume of water may soak deep before it has time to spread out, or vice versa. It tood me some experimenting here. I started off with too wide a spacing between emitters and had to narrow down, and one place i had to place two 12" spacing tubes side by side with the emitters staggered 6", in order to get the horizontal spread i needed.
Each combination of soil type and emitter spacing needs to be worked out.
some of my Brussel sprouts have some damage from the recent cold mornings (23°) so don't look as if they will survive a cold okie winter everything else is looking pretty good Kale,turnips,and collards are some tough dudes...
Thanks for the tip, Ernie. You are right, and I have been observing how the system works, mostly on the weekends when I am home. I have some work to do as far as optimizing the spacing. What's worse is that I received some lousy soil from my yard guy and it is really compact. The water tends to pool in one large area so that is one teensy little problem. I will have to figure out a way to replace as much of the soil as I can and amend the rest later in the winter as I rotate crops out of the beds.
Linda- I can't recall the name of the vendor I used but I will post that later. Good product all around, but it was a little challenging at times to set up for this newbie. The hoses are rolled-up and it can get tricky to lay out the 1/2" tubing due to the tubing wanting to "recoil." But it is managable and certainly not a deal-breaker.
The best way to control the tubes is with the wire staples sold for either that or for pinning down weed barrier cloth. You will need them as the tube shrinks and shortens in cold weather and expands when it is hot so it will crawl away from the straight lines you lay out.
Netafim is an excellent brand to use as it has emitters that individually regulate the pressure for more even watering.
Thanks for the info, Ernie. I'll check that out. Glad you mentioned the weather; it will be interesting to see how the tubing reacts to the extreme temperatures especially now that we are about to enter the winter months. I will probably have to flush the water out somehow when there are freezes, but hopefully that will be rare. I need to keep that owner manual handy.
My system utilizes generic 1/4" tubing with built-in emitters that drip 1 gph, but I did see emitters for sale that were adjustable. I also have 5 maybe 10 emitters that I have yet to use- these can be piped to potted plants. I think at this point it is "wait and see" as I slowly figure out how the system is performing.
Gymgirl, just dig them under. They will deliver great nitrogen.
John, dig some holes on each side of your plantings. Put in some kitchen vegetable cuttings and chopped up leaves and cover. The worms will discover each hole and move back and forth across the planted area and at the same time loosen your crap soil and add worm castings. Sharon
Linda I am thinking that the alfalfa pellets just absorbed water and swelled up so if am wrong please correct me as I use alfalfa pellets as my main fertilizer..If they sprouted that is another weed I do not need..
Yes, the pellets did absorb water, and swelled up. They also got fuzzy, and then they sprouted, big, fat alfalfa sprouts. I should've double checked, but, I'm pretty sure they were the alfalfa pellets that were sprouting.
I went out and turned them under yesterday, so, hopefully that's the end of that.
Mine is a cold compost in three, 35-gallon Brute trashcans, with holes drilled all over the cans (took me half a day to do three cans...). I move the contents from one can to the next. One can remains empty for the rotation...
My fear was that, because the compost doesn't heat up, the growth would not be killed...we shall see!
Sorry, Steph, but I'm not feeling that! It's something about knowing what the sprouts have soaked up. I can live with the leaf mould/ compost ON the am soil after it's broken down and looking like soil.
Once again, it's a mind thing in the same category as the cat poop fert ...
I places some pellets in a bucket with water. I forgot it and it soaked for about 4 days to long. When I poured it into my compost pile, I just about hurled. Foulest smell I have smelt in a long time. But the worms loved it.
i have thousands of new worms in my new compost pile. I will see if I can get a photo tomorrow of some of the adults. They are big for worms. Of course, here, heating the pile does not appear to be a problem. I need to get my worm casting out into my landscape from my old pile so I can restart a new one there.
Have a great Thanksgiving. My husband had eye surgery for a detached retina so we are going nowhere and our daughter is bringing us over a plate of food. Because I am not cooking and only playing nurse, I might garden. Our temperature today was 70.
I sure hope Vern's eye surgery turns out well. I had a wonderful worm bed in Laguna Beach about 50 years ago, but i bought some worms for here, and they were tiny red ones, and did not seem to like this soil. All i see are some native looking light brown ones now, and not very many of them. All i see advertised are the red ones. I am doing pretty good without them, and will probably not bother with any more of the red ones, but always enjoyed having them around.
This is fantastically fertile soil here, once i get the crust broken up. I am very pleased with how the trees are growing, as well as the garden and flowers.
Thanks Ernie. Emergency surgery has a tendency to drive your blood pressure up and threw my list in my mind totally out of whack.
I just have the normal brown worms that live in the soil. The small reds are only good for worm bins. If you put down something for the worms to eat, they just come. They really congregate under the clover and dichondra.
I just started collecting my neighbors leaves from his three trees. They have very small leaves, so I do not have to do anything to them but collect and cover up in a hole. The worms take care of everything else. They love coffee grounds. I just throw them on top of the pile. They come to the top of the pile, have a coffee party and then make babies...
Have a great Thanksgiving day. Be safe, warm and happy. Sharon
I agree with you, on the worms, but i have two problems here, the ground is decomposed granite, which may be too sharp grained for the worms to like, and it is subject to great cohesion. It is very porous, drains quickly, and tightens up.
The property had not been watered or cultivated for 20 years, so we only saw a half dozen worms native worms, if that many, which was why i bought the red ones. Now, after two summers of $300 a month water bills, we are seeing a few, but not nearly as many as i would like to see. It may be the brown ones i like are just not feasible for the worm breeders to raise, but i will keep my eye out for them. If they are doing good for you in L V, surely they can live in this soil down here.
I have my snow peas, garlic. onions, romaine lettuce, potatoes, two that's 2 broccoli plants. cutworms!!!! My lima beans are still cranking out beans and my tomato plants have tomatoes and blooms. I have healthy chard, red lolla rosa lettuce and some green lettuce I forgot the name of. My asparagus may take over!! I still want to plant a few beets for salad greens and Im wondering if I start broccoli seeds will they have time to make. By the time I lost my broccoli that I started from seed, the stores had no more broccoli plants for me to fall back on.
My sister lives near Texarkana and the deer waited until her broccoli started to form heads and they came in and ate the broccoli and all the lettuce. Funny, they did not bother the lettuce until the broccoli was ready!
You have LOTS of time for more broccoli.
I was gonna start more seeds, but all my Broccs did fine after the transplant out, and I didn't lose any. Plus I don't have any more space. But, I will be starting more seeds for an early spring planting. The good part is that it hasn't gotten cold enough to NOT start more seeds.
I'd go ahead and start some inside in a seed flat, in a warm, bright area. Transplant them when they're 6-7 weeks old. They just need a warm start to get big enough to handle the cold. The transplants should have about 6-8 leaves , and they're good size to go out.
The other day, I moved a pot in the GH and watched what must have been a 10-inch long earthworm slither across the ground to the compost pile. At first I thought it was a snake. There were tiny earthworms on top of the ground, too. I use a lot of coffee grounds in my compost, so when I repotted the avocado and watered, the coffee 'flavor' must have drawn them. For some reason any time I dig in the GH, I always find earthworms. That's a nice thing to see. I'll have to try the alfalfa pellets, someday.
Only have what I call nightcrawlers here but they are thick in the compost during the spring when everybody is going fishing I am the most popular spot in the neighborhood...Finally had to start saying NO!!!!!
Making an observation that I had completely overlooked as a possibility as to why some of my seedlings seem to be languishing.
It could be the seeds were too OLD!
I know certain seeds have great viability for quite a few years (I believe there was mention of some tomato seeds that were almost 11 years old with great germination...), but, I am learning that not ALL seeds maintain this viability.
I'm going to need to start researching (or, at least, asking) the viability of different types of seeds that I've had around for quite awhile. I recently read somewhere that spinach seeds aren't usually viable past one year...that could explain why my plants aren't taking off like I expected them to.
Linda, there must be some kind of storage that could extend that life for seeds. That's disturbing about the spinach seeds. A topic well worth exploring. I planted some corn from an old pack of seeds from 1979 or something that my mother had before she died - planted the seeds a couple of years ago - and they came up! I didn't have the right soil conditions for them, though, so they didn't produce, but that was encouraging. My hollyhock seeds that I just threw into paper bags in 2005 or 2006 came up this year like crazy and are doing well. Some are growing profusely in the green house, and others I planted this fall outside.
Oh...and...I HAVE CORN TASSELING!! I had side dressed the corn with my chicken manure/shredded leaf compost, in the greenhouse, a couple of days ago, and today TASELLING! I know...too excited about corn, but I haven't eaten corn on the cob in over 10 years, due to modern growing conditions, etc., so this is pretty exciting to me! Okay...calming down now. :) I'm convinced that greenhouses, no matter how homespun they are, are a very good thing to have, especially when you live at over 7500 feet altitude! I'll try to take pics later today. :)
haven't boiled corn since 1980 when I learned about the micro wave thing and now I don't even clean it just cut off the stem end and when it comes out of the MW just grasp the silk end and give it a vigorous shake this will amaze you...
It's true, Linda. Some seeds just don't last as long as others. It's totally normal for plant seeds to have different longevity. Herbs in particular are very short-lived. There are various charts online but they don't all agree. :) Roughly speaking, the bigger the seed, the longer it keeps. Squash seeds, I think, are forever.
For your older seeds, I suggest germination testing. If they do poorly, it may be time for fresh stock. If they do so-so, better plant them soon and save new seed (if you save your own). I write the dates of any germination testing on the seed envelope and the approximate percentage of success.
I've never tried microwaving corn, I'll have to try that. I try to nuke as little as possible because of nutrient loss, but maybe if they don't have to cook long... how long do you microwave them? Do you wrap them in wet paper towel or anything? What power setting?
Depends on the size (thickness) of the ear:
Small ear = 1.75-2.0 minutes
Medium ear = 2.0-2.5 minutes
Large ear = 2.5-3.0 minutes
Nuke it in the husk! After it's out, let it sit for 1 add'l minute. Grab your clean oven mitts, or a couple paper towels to hold the corn in one hand. Starting at the top end, use your other hand and more paper towels to wipe down the entire length of the ear. The husks, silks and all, will come off in one motion.
Then, you can hold it by the husks or just break it off. You can do multiple ears, and adjust your time according to the number of ears you're doing.
Your corn will be SOOOOOOOOOOO sweet, you won't reach for salt, pepper, OR butter!
I harvested the first of my broccoli last week. It was very tasty, but the head wasn't very big. Fine by me because we don't eat a lot of broccoli in my house. Checked all the broccoli plants today and almost all of them have heads!
We are having a lovely 70 degree weekend, which coincided nicely with my plans to work on the garden extension. I got the beds weeded and cleaned up, the fence re-done and one bed moved to make a pathway and then filled with mushroom compost. I also got the nursery fabric down in the rest of the aisles, extended the perimeter bed down the side instead of wrapping the corner and many
One hiccup -- it seems I ordered 2" chicken wire instead of 1". I fortified part of the new fenceline with that, but I just now ordered a roll of 1" to do the big long section along the chain link fence.
I also still need to do the other gate -- I haven't found something to use as a gate yet. I need some more pine needles for under the apple trees and some pavers for the new (second) entrance, but it's starting to look done!
Thanks, Solace. That's the view from my bedroom and of course it looks best in the spring and summer. It's not really "upstairs," it's just the main floor is way up off the ground on that end of the house!
Between Saturday and this morning, they peeped right on out! Six broccolis, and two cauliflower heads, about the size of a nickel.
Sneaked up on me, cause I've been checking every day.
NOW, I want them to go back in, 'cause I am not at all prepared with new seedlings to take their place in the succession planting!!!!
Ain't that just like a contrary veggie gardener?
I figure they'll have full heads in maybe 4-5 more weeks. I should have a quick minute to start something inside under lights! Maybe cabbages since I don't have many.
Anyways, it's almost 120 days to the date that I dropped seeds for these brassicas. That's good to know for next time, and for how much time I have from today. Starting something this week might give me buttons (or heads) by the beginning of April, depending on how temperate our weather is between now and then.
grits74571 wrote:nicole how do you manage to stay so organized in thr garden my gardens always look like they were done by a mad scintist on meth..
Ha ha... well this time of year most everything is dead, so it makes it easier! Come midsummer everything will be climbing all over each other, sprawling in the aisles, climbing the fence and running into the field next door.
There is of course that obsessive compulsion thing, though...
I had snow pea blooms yesterday!! My romaine is awesome and my taters and garlic are lookin' good. Still harvesting butter beans. tomatoes have little fruits, green, still. My two broccoli plants looking good but planted later than yours, Linda, so no heads yet.
Nicole, I look forward to the end of summer just so I can get a handle on all that vegetation!! Im always expecting a knock on my door with some neighbor complaining about "that jungle". Just in the last month have I felt more in control.
The broccs are growing FAST. Today they're almost quarter-size! I found more cauliflowers with heads, too, so next task is to tie 'em up from the sun.
Last night I sowed seeds for more beets (15), cabbages (15) and, GULP!!! tomatoes (10)!!!!
Yeah, yeah... I know...
But, these are five Siberian and five Black Prince varieties. The Siberians are supposed to set fruit as low as 38°, so, I figured there's no time like the present to find out if this is true. At any rate, 6-8 weeks from now would have them out for hardening off in mid-February, which has always been my targeted tomato plant out date. All my long-season heirlooms need to be out by then, or no harvest by the time our Texas heat sets in. But, I've never managed to have everything in order to reach that goal.
I'm ready this year... Hoops, wind protection, perforated plastic sheeting, blankets, lights, heaters, and a canon...
Just kidding about the cannon! LOL!!!
I'm looking forward to this experiment, and will post updates.
My regular tomato seed sowing date is scheduled for December 22nd.
Since my darling chickens ate my newly forming broccoli heads a few weeks ago, I knew I wasn't going to get any big heads from them. But the side shoots are developing nicely, and at least I'll get some broccoli.
Also, the peas are coming along great and the garlic in the background is really sprouting. Another bed has green onions rowing from seed. The only thing left to plant this winter will be my Dixondale onions arriving sometime mid-january.
Keep sowing seeds! Our weather is practically identical, and the seed-sowing window doesn't close until December 20th or so. And, even then, if you start some indoors, you'll have early star ts for planting out after January 20th for a spring harvest!
Texas has approximately 285 growing days. NOLA should have just about the same number. I'm hoping to have something ready to go in as soon as I pull something out.
I've loved the broccoli, my heads seemed more flat than rounded but tasted great. Some of them are starting side shoots so that's a little bonus. The turnips, collards and mustard greens tasted great but I think I'll stick to the collards (it's the only type I can get my non southern hubby to eat) The beets tasted great roasted but not sure if I'd grow again due to space. My cabbage is huge but not sure if I need to do something to get it to head. I'll be ordering my Baker's Creek today so looking forward to tomatoes soon
I harvested a few small yellow crookneck squash today, had them with tostados and a burrito. The yellow pear tomatoes and a big red one (lost the pack, so don't know the name of it) were heavenly on the tostados. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, though and couldn't finish the burrito. I made boiled eggs for my hens this evening and served it up with some half and half cream. They were cooing like crazy. I just boiled the eggs and crushed them, shell and all, to give them a little extra protein treat.
I planted spinach and lettuce the other day, still not up, but we have cabbage lift off! The Brussels sprouts in the green house are doing well, and the Brandywine tomatoes are really growing faster than I expected, which is fine with me. :) The Hass Avocado, as I mentioned in the video is now putting out lots of new leaves, but I discovered, today the cold hardy avocado is putting new leaves on as well. Yay! I hand pollinated the corn - do that everytime I do out there - today again, and there are many plants tasseling. My moon and stars watermelon is just sitting there, though, so dunno, may have to bring that one inside and put it back under the light. Hopefully before winter's over, I'll get some lights for the gh; that'll make such a difference in the growth of everything. Have to find a place to transplant the Smoke Signals popcorn. That picnic table may have to go, lol. I already have it and the bench covered with pots, so I'm crowded out already on the nice idea of sitting at it on sunny days. Been going through my seeds, and I still have a lot of stuff to plant and not enough time to match all that. Sigh. I love the idea of fresh garden veggies in the winter, though, so must find the time (and energy) to plant more.
Played with my new leaf blower/vac/mulcher, and turned 1/2 a yard of dried leaves into a 40-gallon bag of mulch. SUH-WEET. Only issue is having to stop so often to empty the shoulder bag. It fills up quickly.
Fed everything a base of liquid seaweed and fish emulsion, kelp meal, worm castings, and either ammonium sulphate? for the leafy stuff, or potassium for the growth systems.
The broccs and caulis are growing FAST! Last Monday, almost nickel size -- by this Saturday, they were full quarter-size. And, since I got caught out after dark with the mulcher, I decided to use a lantern to track down whatever was poking holes in my leaves. Located one huge and three smaller cutworms, and quickly dispatched them to the wormhole in the sky...they were hiding in the space created by my double walled RBs. Will try to close that up with additional deck screws...but, at least I know where to find them now. Searching on top of the soil was proving futile...
The turnips are taking off, finally, and so are the beets. If I didn't like beets so much, I'd give it up. But, it is SOOOOOOOOO worth it in the end...patience...
The beets I started inside are all up, and so are more of the cabbages. Only two tomato plants are up (Siberias). Slow germination, and wondering about seed viability. Patience...
Oh, almost forgot. I'm about to set up my own WORM BINS and do my own vermicomposting, so I started making worm food. Those worm castings are getting pricey, and I'm using more and more of it. May as well, invest in my own source of Black Gold! I'm under tutilage with an expert over on the vermicomposting thread. Spent Saturday morning making slushies out of blended veggie and fruit peels. LOTS of work because I had lots of peels. But, in the end, I've got almost 8 lbs. of slush that I will freeze flat in Ziplock baggies for the worms.
Vermicomposting is EZ, and, it's dah' bomb for having a steady stream of castings for the veggies! Once you're set up, it's like the gift that keeps on giving. You keep the worms happy and they keep you happy!
Put the remaining Christmas lights up yesterday, in church clothes and heels, cause my dear neighbor was on the spot offering help soon as I got out of my car, and I took it when I could get it!
Racing home to put up the hoops with the perforated plastic sheeting. Not for the cold front down into the 40-30s°, but for the 20-30 mph WIND gusts they're predicting for the next three days. Wind does more damage to my veggies than the cold ever does...
Purposely waited for the rainstorm last night to soften the ground, so I can pound in the hoop anchors.. I love it when a plan comes together!
Linda, just reading about your work makes me tired!! Where DO you get all that energy? I work a bit and then rest. work-rest, work-rest. I probably get aabout 50% of what others get done. I pulled weeds and cut back perennials yesterday so today Im taking Ibuprofen and playing on DG. Linda, Im really using your tip about the floating seeds. It's so much quicker than doing a germination test. So far, it has proven very helpful. I save my own seeds and of course some seeds aren't fertile and I hate to plant a whole 6 pak and 1 comes up. Thanks for the tip.
You're very welcome. The tip I got from Pinterest! Glad it works!
Lest I have misled anyone on the size of my "back 40", my yard is only 35 x 80. I have three raised beds in place, and 9 Earthboxes ( 5 of which have yet to be planted with my onions!).
It's not a big operation, but, it's my little patch of Heaven!
Also, I can be downright L-A-Z-Y, and I do fight against the urge, constantly. But, when I line up the projects beforehand, and wake up on the good side of the over-55-ailments, I do like my friend Bubba says, and I "git 'er done!"
I'm a "fallen-off-the-wagon" Lifetime Weight Watcher, and doing a hard press helps me feel like I'm back on the physical program, since I haven't made up in my mind to start back to the gym at the crack of dawn (GYMgirl...)
But, that's coming, too, since I can't fit into any of my clothes, and I refuse to buy a whole new wardrobe. I've got a few threads left before my outfits become obscene!
12° here last night so really knocked down some of my fall crops but the collards look okay as do the carrots but the winter radishes look DONE IN as is the Arugula and the lettuce the Kohl Rabi is toast as is bits and pieces of a lot of other stuff forecast is a bit warmer tonight but afraid the damage is done ..
We're having our first real spell of "winter" weather here in north Florida - down to 64F overnight, then a high tomorrow of only 66, then to 48 tomorrow night. Cool enough for a jacket.
Um, and then going back up to 72 on Friday. No freezes in the forecast yet...but yesterday (Monday) there was a 30-40% chance of rain and around here we got up to 3" of heavy driving rain - the first significant rain we've had in about a month, and it wasn't in the forecast. Before the rain started, I measured 84F outside around midday; then it dropped over 15 degrees and stayed there for an hour or so, then by dark (around 6PM here) was back up to the low 70's before it started dropping again.
I've got a friend who grows broccoli in her fall garden every fall who reported her plants are actually being dwarfed by the heat - small heads forming on plants only a few inches tall.
Florida is strange weather personified. Right now it's raining steadily in Tallahassee (to the north and west, in the panhandle area) and storming in Fort Myers (a few hours drive south)...and the skies here in Gainesville are mostly clear. Tomorrow the chance of rain here is going back up to 90%. About 20% of the people I know are walking around with head colds, and probably another 20% have seasonal allergies.
We have gotten some lite rain over the last couple of day and that coupled with unusually high temps might just save some of the F/W garden ..But what it is is what it is ..Started in on a rehab project of some raised bed flower beds ,they have been in use for 10 years and were pretty well rotted down ..This should keep me busy for a few days ..
I spent all day shredding leaves my neighbors are leaving on my driveway. About six 40-gallon contractor bags. EZ-ier this time because instead of dumping them from the small bag into the compost bins, I just dumped them as pathways between my raised beds and along the entire back fence where, eventually, there will be more raised beds.
I figured, "why not let them break down in place?"
So, I shredded and lined the areas with about a 4-6" layer, and wet them down thoroughly before our promised rainstorms yesterday. Just needed to make sure they didn't blow all over the yard before the storms, and that they were wet enough so the rain would penetrate through to the ground below.
Do ya'll know how awesome shredded oak and pecan leaves smell? Like a fresh forest!
Didn't get to sow the tomatoes for shredding the leaves, and absolutely HAVE to get them sowed today and tomorrow. I've pulled 16 varieties to try this time. That's really, really, really, really ambitious, considering I need to have at least 10-15 of each seedling for the friends and neighbors to try. That's upwards of 300+ seedlings in two rooms at home.
Inside, my husband just set up a new indoor seed area. He did not want to see another season of me climbing around on the bathroom sink, or up on a chair in the kitchen, twice a day to place my seedlings up in the recessed fluorescent lighting chamber. I sleep with visions of seedling dancing in my head
How are you Sharon! You were the first person ever to reach out to me on DG, and it meant a lot. I hope you are well.
Im eating snow peas from the winter garden and still eating Limas from the summer garden. My romaine is heading. The first broccoli I planted looks like it's starting to head. I have new broccoli just starting as well as Gai Lan and white stem bok choy. accidentally hosed the soil off a potatoe plant and there are good sized taters underneath there? Garlic 6" high. Tomatoes loaded with blooms and some green fruit. Ive started my Bell Pepper seeds for Spring. They take a full 3 months in my set up to get seedlings to plant so I started early this time.
Girl, you are ON it! I got the Urban Harvest newsletter two days ago, and was surprised by the number of veggies we can still start indoors now through the end of the month, and January and February for plantout as seedlings.
I've got more cabbages started, but I can start more broccolis and cauliflowers, too.
Was it you who started beets indoors or HoneybeeNC? If it was you, my beets are "fainting" under the lights. Could it be the warmth from the flourescent or do I need to feed them? They have really nice leaves about 2.5" long, so I'm thinking it's almost time to put them out for hardening off anyways. Lemme know.
Growin, you have come a long way young lady. How has your first year of gardening in Las Vegas been going. I watch all these news reports when they bust these marijuana grow houses. They always have such great grow trays and lighting systems. I wonder if they sell them at the police sale. That would be great for us gardeners.
I have a beautiful crop of baby lettuce. I was going to cut some today but the wind was blowing so bad I did not want to go outside.
Sharon, that's a great idea. Call your local PD's (or sheriff's) office and ask.
92 pounds of turnips went off to the charity garden this afternoon. It took me almost 2 hours to harvest, cut off the tops and pack them up in buckets. The tops were way past their prime. They were happy to get them since all they had to put in people's boxes were greens.
Several turnips I pulled up and all there was was a top and the bottom eaten away underneath. Well, well, now. Either I started the new beds over someone's home or someone moved in while the garden wasn't locked down. It's still not locked down; I need that gate!
The last of the fall cleanup is that I still have to pull up the radishes that the boy didn't like, and they are too old for good eating now. I have some cabbage and kohlrabi ready for harvest, and the chickweed (which volunteers itself everywhere) is very tasty this winter.
I don't have any sweet potatoes or winter squash in storage this year. It feels weird to be buying so many vegetables from the grocery store. $2 for a green pepper?! Ack!
Gym girl, get those beets in the ground! They are completely winter hardy and the greens can be used in salads. I start most things indoors due to the cutworms. It gives my plants a fighting chance. I kept an old beet around for about 3 yrs. The root was not fit to eat but it just kept churning out the leaves for my green salad mix.
A cold front has been by my house on it's merry way to Arkansas and now we have winds over 20mph and temps in the 30s so whatever was spared by last weeks hard freeze will likely blow away..Oh well at least we got some rain
I've had a couple of hard freezes that pretty well squelched all the seedlings I had planted except the spinach. I got a really late start, so everything was very small. I didn't have time or the material to cover anything. Even the broccoli died back. At least the garlic didn't freeze!
I received my onions and hope to get them in the ground in the next few days. Maybe I'll have time Christmas day, after all the festivities are finished. I guess I will replant the turnips, beets, etc. sometime in February, after the highest chance of hard freeze is over. The beds are still in good shape and should only need a quick raking to be ready to replant.
Kinda had the same thoughts about just waiting and see what is alive later then can just Rake over and re plant Then will get started on the hugelkulture bed..but for now all I am going to do is keep warm and plan for next spring ..Not going to do anymore physical labor until after Christmas..My back is feeling pretty good so don't want to have the aches and pain that always seems to come after digging ..I need to get it done before Febuary cause then I will be turning 77 and kinda think that may be a little young to start a new style of gardening
I think we got down to around 45° last night, and everything looked good this morning. The hoop ribs are up, but no cover on yet. Tomorrow.
My cauliflower and broccoli heads are about 2.5"-3" diameter. Need to tie up the cauliflowers...
I set the trays of beet and cabbage seedlings out yesterday, and they look like they survived the night outside. Will transplant them into the raised bed tomorrow. My "tomorrow" list is so long, I'm running out of tomorrow...
Steady et al,
That daily "priority" list is forcing me to "slow my roll."
Last year I gave away 27 out of 28 cabbages cause I ran out of freezer space. And,my quest this whole year was getting a freezer, which is now sitting proudly and waiting to be filled -- with the mustards and Woody cabbages that need to be harvested, last week!
So, gotta get that done before I jump off into another major task of sowing tomato seeds... And, after reviewing ya'lls comments, I had to rethink exactly what I plan on sowing, and who, besides me, is gonna be willing to do what it takes to protect them thru possible freezing weather.
Totally different picture!
So, thanks for ya'lls perspectives. I'll only be sowing the tomatoes I'm going to take care of thru the frosts. In January, I'll start short season tomatoes that can go out in March for everyone else..
Pity there're only a few short season seeds in my repertoire...
I got out and spread another 6 trash bags full of coffee grounds, installed the new garden gate, did some weeding and the boy made my a new compost bin so I can let the existing compost settle up good for use next year.
It's a bit nippy out there, but not too bad in the sun.
Good score on that freezer. My freezer is still posted on the list of things I need to get when the money is available. I think Im also procrastinating on the freezer due to not knowing exactly where it might fit in my limited space.
My cabbage (red only ) is still heading... broccoli is done and due to Serg's mom being in ill health and not sure what's going to happen on that front I'm not starting more. My brussell sprouts are looking nice, but doesn't look like I'll get my wish of having them to pair with the Christmas prime rib. I enjoyed the greens but next year will limit it to just collards, won't do the cabbage again but will have tons of broccoli as Serg loved it!
WormsLovSharon wrote:Nicole, where did you score that large amount of coffee grounds?
One of the local Starbucks puts them out back in a bin just for grounds. Competition is really fierce in the spring and summer so most of the time there's nothing, but this fall and winter I've managed to hit a bonanza a couple of times.
All Starbucks' give away grounds to gardeners (corporate policy), but this is the only local I've seen that has a dedicated storage bin like this, so you can usually only get whatever they have under the machines right then or sometimes they package them up in their big old coffee bags.
You could probably reach an understanding with any local coffee shop, provided someone hasn't beat you to it!
im jealous of u southern gardeners..u get months head start on
all of us northerners.. sigh
i am going to put up the cold frame after new yr.. and get some
lettuce.and spinach started though..
last yr..i planted both in jan..in flats..kept in south facing area..then dropped
the whole flat into garden soil ..with cold frame protection.. worked great..
so..im hankering for fresh greens.. :)
a very merry christmas to all
We have had an up and down week, up to mid 80's then down to 43 one night and will do it again tomorrow night and wind gusts up to 55mph which blew one of my silver row covers off a squash bed along with the squash! My poor cauliflower and broccoli were blown over and 16 were broken off at the soil line. I realized direct seeding is not good, their roots are not deep enough and they get blown over easily. Lesson learned. A few of my experiments have failed this fall, but some turned out well.
I have ripe tomatoes in the greenhouses, along with cucumbers, peppers and eggplant. We bought a bumblebee hive that can be moved between the two greenhouses for pollination. They're so cute!
Green Methods is the company where I bought it, but it is a Koppert hive. It is Class A, size D that lasts 3-4 months. They sell a "Hotel Hive" but the lady said just set the entrance to "Home" and wait 2 hours before moving. The Hotel Hive is for large greenhouses (1 acre size) and is used when moving hives from one area to another in case bees get left behind, they can use the hotel hive over night to sleep but she said with my small (3000 sq ft per house) greenhouses just set to Home, wait and move to the next house. She said move them in the evening. They always know where their home is, as long as you don't move it while they are out. They don't mind being moved and they aren't agressive, one just has to remember to close the exit of the hive before moving! Big commercial greenhouses move them before spraying chemicals and put them back the next day.
Crazy weather, it is going to be near 90 today and drop to 40 tonight. Our weatherman (works for NOAA, volunteers at the farm) said it will move in between 3 and 4. Thankfully not as much to cover this year because most tender plants are in the greenhouse but still need to cover my baby broccoli and cauliflower. We will have to have the greenhouses open while the temps are high, but need to close them when they start dropping. I will set the bee's hive enter/exit to "home" and wait before closing up the greenhouse just in case any of the bumbles are still outside. I picked my first big red tomato yesterday! We are growing oriental, english, slicing and pickling cucumbers. The oriental cucumbers look like alien beings and are absolutely loaded with fruit.
A cardboard box for a bumblebee hive. Strange. You say it lasts 3-4 months. Will the the young queens reproduce into the wild? Since you don't use many chemicals (right?) it might be a good way to jumpstart a local population if it were lacking. Provided, of course, the species were able to survive locally.
One colony of mine is right by the ramp to my shed. I've seen how much work it is for them to chew up leaves and grass to keep their entrance clear, so I do it for them. I don't know if I'll have a colony in that hole again this year. It's a good spot... but I guess they don't normally reuse hives.
The outside is made of cardboard with a removable lid and an entrance/exit that can be set to closed, leave and return or return only.All workers return to the hive every two hours. I cannot leave the door closed for more than three days or they will die. Inside the box is where the hive lives which is a plastic cage like apparatus with fiber bedding sitting over a nectar bag with a wick. The hive comes with a mated queen and a few young workers. She will continue to lay eggs and raise workers until her life is almost over (bumblebees are short lived) when she will hatch several queens who will exit the hive, mate and start a new colony. If I want to keep a queen I must have an empty hive with bedding and nectar for her to start her brood. In the US bumblebee hives that are purchased must be native bees. Mine are bombus impatiens, native to the eastern and part of the western US. Mexico (20 miles from my farm) is allowed to import bombus terrestris which is not native here. Here is Green Methods link http://greenmethods.com/site/biocontrols/bombus/
We don't use chemicals although some chemicals are compatible with bees if they are given a delay between spraying and re-entry. Some chemicals are not compatible even when they are dry and 24-48 hours have elapsed (like imidicloprid and some synthetic pyrethroids). Biological compounds like Bt are safe with bees, but not all organic products are safe for them.
Strange weather here, too. Windy as somewhat today, i brought the Meyer lemon into the garage, along with some of the newer plants in pots.
My potatoes are sprouting away, the carrots are crying for more dirt, and the kale and cress are being eaten as soon as they sprout (by me), along with one doozy of a pickling cucumber and lots of sugar snaps.
Merry Christmas to all! Hope we don't all blow away!
Does anyone have experience with cold frame kits? Or lights for starting seeds indoors? I'm getting anxious...I can tell you that last year, I bought "cow-pots" to start my seeds and LOVED THEM. No more Jiffy pots for me!
Very EZ. Get your shelf boards cut to fit your space, and stack 'em on the cinder blocks. I use eye hooks on the undersides of each shelf to hang regular 48" shop lights side by side, for a total of two lights per shelf.
We just used an old shelving set from the garage. We put two lights side by side on each shelf. Found the lights on Freecycle! Then hubby took plastic and draped over the whole thing to make like a tent. We stuck a small heater under the bottom shelf and it acted like a green house. This year, I plan on sprouting my seeds in a roaster oven.
Grayce tell me about the cow pots never heard of that before LOl guess you heard about the redneck that when asked where he wanted to be when the world ended?? he replied "Oklahoma cause every thing gets to Oklahoma 25 year later than any other place"
Here are a few pictorial updates on what's going on in my garden now:
#1 Soloist Cabbages (overgrown) in an Earthbox
#2 Cabbages in RB #2
#3 Broccoli heading
#4 Cauliflower heading
#5 RB #3 with cauliflowers (l) and broccoli (r)
We dipped down into the mid-30s these past two nights, so I watered the garden well. I covered the hoops Christmas night with old bedsheets because of the 36-45 mph winds. I was never worried about the cold. Everything looks fine.
Oh, I never did get around to covering up the cauliflower heads, but, they seem to be doing fine, too.
Thank you, all, for the encouragement. And, for sharing so much of yourselves and your love here in the garden!
Before your picture, I could only imagine what people had been saying about snow! Right over there in Dallas?? Wow!
How come you don't put a hoop over your bed? Covered with sheets or frost blankets first, then with plastic sheeting, would keep the snow off the plants, at least. If the temps dip for too long, you could shove some hot water jugs underneath. Drthor keeps all her stuff alive like that. In fact, she turned me on to that perforated plastic sheeting from Territorial Seeds. The holes let the wind, rain, and sunlight through. Also, she figured out the proper spacing on the hoop ribs so it wouldn't collapse under the weight of the snow.
I arrived back from South America just in time for the snow in Dallas.
I arrived home, checked the weather, changed to my garden clothes and run out to the garden.
I did harvest as much greens as I could and cover everything with the perforated plastic and the frost protection blanket.
At 22 F I thought that I lost everything ... ice and snow ...
I looked under the covers today and I couldn't believe how my tender lettuce was all standing up and survived !
What a miracle !
I will keep the cover on for a few days more because the temperature will deep down at 26-29 F at night !
By the way: I fell in love with Chile - what a glorious country !
The garlic will be fine. It survived a couple of years ago when we had 14" of snow. The rest of it was really already finished. There were just a few side shoots left on some of the broc, the maters were finished, and the bell peppers were done. Besides that, I'm lazy and don't have the "oomph" to use hoops and such. LOL
I never protect my cold weather crops and once they are established they have survived 14*. Snow and ice act as insolation. I have had lettuce burned but it came right back. I don't have the "oomph"either Stephanie, lol.
I've lost more by "cooking" it when I didn't get the "protection" off before the temps got too high.
Cow pots are made from cow manure. I used them last year, and they seemed so much better than standard peat pots. You can get them from Gardener's Supply, in different sizes. I just ordered a two-level seed starting lighting station with lights, and I am really psyched! I had an experiment last year starting plants, and it went well, so I bit the bullet and bought this station.
I also got a simple cold frame, so this is THIS YEAR'S experiment!
Got some "rice pea" cowpea seeds to germinate quite quickly using a wet coffee filter in a plastic bag, and put them in a bit of sphagnum peat today. It's so sunny after a cold/rain snap that I just couldn't resist.
Tossed some poppies in around the edge of the veggie bed, too, and built a bit of a cold frame of sorts out of an old window, it's sitting over top of my lettuce and strawberries. By "built", I mean, found the glass and leaned it over top of some bricks.
Also, there's an area of our driveway that's marshy as all get out, so I put some leftover "sprout people" seeds I'll never use in there. Hope to improve the parking bog with at least SOMETHING.
The landlord also agreed to help me build a trellis instead of our butt-ugly non-working water feature, the place that gets the best sun in spring, and has the dryer vent nearby...passifloras, maybe? It's a tough spot, but anything that likes hot and steamy should do just fine...
And my "improved Meyer lemon" is putting on flowers. I've babied that critter - got it for a song from my favorite local nursery, as it's got the weirdest shape ever with thorns to boot. Can't seem to shake my container garden ways of jamming as much into a pot as will fit, so the Meyer lemon is being the anchor for my moonflower vine and a mandevilla laxa.
Grits? we always claimed we were stepping back a century from the world when in Oklahoma - I loved living there. Winds in the south, snows were awesome deep in Little Rock, too - I was on the move and missed all but the edges of storms this last 2 weeks
For everyone who wanted photos of the Compact Sunlite 2-Tier Garden, here are two for you. This unit came complete with horrible instructions, my favorite cowpots, 2 weird mats for placing underneath the pots, organic seed start soil, and 4 really nice sunlight-colored fluorescent tubes for lighting.
It is really neat how you can lower the lights, too. All in all, it took the two of us 4 hours together to get the thing assembled, and we are both very mechanically-inclined! Now I look forward to starting my seeds in style! No more light starvation for my seeds!
To give scale, the window is about 3 feet across. The height on the 2-Tier Garden is about 4.5 feet tall, and it is on rollers. Very sophisticated, very practical. Very expensive, too. Oh well, I keep telling myself that I have no pets, no kids, no more horses...just my garden and oh yes, my outside birds.
Don't know why these photos rotated, but bear with me!