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I love receiving letters like this one that came today:
Oct 25, 2007
I wanted to write and let you know how much I enjoyed your article on straw bale gardening. I had wanted to try my hand at straw bale gardening the year before but waited too late so this spring I got everything prepared early and only tried 3 straw bales this first time.
After reading of your success in the Carolina Country magazine spring of 2007, I decided to attempt my own garden. I am a widow. My husband was a farmer and an avid gardener. So, since his death, I have had a small garden every year with my daughterís help.
I went by all the directions you gave. I put 3 cucumber plants in 1 bale and 3 squash plants each in the other 2 bales. I have never had such a bumper crop of either vegetable before, but every day after the vegetables started yielding, I pulled squash and cucumbers, enough for me and my family and friends.
I didnít have to spray for insects during peak season, nor pull weeds. I did water every day. It was such an interesting project. I told my friends about it and some of them were amazed. Next spring, I plan on using more straw bales.
This is an excellent way for anyone to have fresh vegetables, as it only requires very little space and, of course, a sunny location.
Enclosed, please find pictures of my straw bales. The one picture was several weeks growth. I could almost see them grow from day to day. It was exciting!
Hey hi Kent. Well I am now running my tomato vines through the shredder. This was about the third frost and this one they wouldn't pull through. So far I have run about 4 wheel barrow loads through. Sure does reduce the pile. I have at least that much more to do, but that is enough for one afternoon for an old guy. Well that is if you factor in pulling the steel posts and cages too. Next is the bale garden vines.
I will be pulling the posts and moving them to another location, since I had two rows too close together. One mistake I won't make again.
I think I had a rather descent crop from the bales anyway.
My comparison of dirt versus bales the tomatoes were about equal. I had mulched the tomatoes in ground heavily with grass clippings, so I didn't have a lot of weeds to pull. The peppers had sturdier stalks in the ground and did do a little better than in the bales, but I did have to get on my hands and knees to care for them as I did not get them all mulched plus the same for picking peppers from those in ground.
What I lacked from the bales could probably have been boosted with miracle-gro. I plan on having more bales next year, and try some cabbages in them too. The squash done very well I haven't seen them do any better in dirt. and definitely the no weed with the squash was a plus. I wasn't so lucky with a melon. But possibly I should have started those seeds inside and plant them deeper when they had some size to them.
I don't know on that, but it is probably worth a try. I will probably try putting plastic under the one row of bales as that area is bad about brome grass creeping into the garden. If That will stop the brome grass it will solve a twofold problem. Then on the other end of the garden that is where they had thrown junk, and covered it. I can have garden without digging up junk. Once I get the hang of the right fertilizer in the correct amount I think I'm going to like this kind of gardening. It is another way to have raised beds without the expense of constructing and materials. There is the cost of the bales though but factor in no weeding it is a good deal. Gives me some time to go fishing!!! lol
Good for you Kent on the letter from the widow lady. You helped her a lot.
That was a very good note on your comparisons Russ. You be sure to copy that and put it in your notes or wherever you keep your information from year to year. It helps for the next year to decide what to do then.
As far as the fertilizer goes, I think Kent leans very heavily towards the Miracle Grow. I tried Perry's mix and it worked pretty good for me but don't know what I will do next year.
It has been a fun year and met a lot of really cool people like Russ, Barb, Donna, and others. We have had frost almost every night now for a week. I still haven't gotten out to pull the dead vines out as I am having some work done in the house. Always something isn't it?
I too must get out to the garden and try to get some cleaning up done. It has been pretty cold daytimes, but of course that is only after being used to summer. It is now at almost 7:30 27 degrees outside, and yesterday got up to 51 degrees, highovercast. this morning it is clear so should be a little warmer. All the tender things are frozen. Only have my few remaining bonsai plants to be moved inside, before really cold weather comes.
My youngest son who was visiting for a few days, did a lot of Honey Do things for me. He went back to Sumner, WA, on the west side of the Cascades, yesterday afternoon. So now I am about back to my normal routine. The slide out tray in my kitchen island, finally got both side rails broken, so am going to HD to hopefully find replacement rails.
Hope everybody is ab out ready for winter, regular????? time instead of DST.
Whoops, thanks for reminding me Donna. I normally remember those things. Guess retirement is really sinking in when it doesn't matter what time of day it is. LOL, The first to go was what DAY it is. Doesn't matter. The only thing that reminds me is on the weekends the tourists show up.
We see them coming down the highway. In the summer it is the boats and other water toys, in the fall it is the rifles for hunting, and in the winter the snowmobiles. Also a good indicator of course is the RVs heading south in October and north in April and May.
The new DST, has sure messed things up. One of our computers has already changed back. While we were in town today, we noticed that most of the bank clocks have already changed too. If anybody really paid attention to those clocks, They might be late a few times this week.
Kind of makes you wonder how many bank vaults are controlled by the same computer program.
I think the German's are smarter than our law makers. They decided right after the war that DST didn't help a bit, and that productive work slumped whenever the change took place. Maybe they didn't have as many Golf players. That is the only thing I can think of that would benefit from DST.
Lets see now the fish are supposed to start biting better at 11:30. Hmmm is that DST or ST hahaaahaaaa
Hey We caught a pretty good thing today Lowes was trying to get rid of the rest of their plants. Shrubs and trees were 75% off.
Flowers and the like were 90% off. We were too far from one payday and not close enough to the next. But did pick up some that would spruce up the planters in front of the church, for a while longer. and three pots that we thought we could nurse along and plant out in the spring. What we got for $.90, some stores are still asking $14.95 I probably should have got a couple more mums. Oh well. That's probably enough to satisfy an itchy green thumb.
Hey guys I feel the same There are a lot of fine people on Dave's garden. I appriciate sharing with one another, the kind thoughts and yes the prayers. I thank all of you. Russ
Going after the cows reminds me of when I was way younger and it was our job, my sister and brother and I to go up on the hill where our 8 dairy milk cows pastured in the day time. The cows pastured right next to the Canadian border, at that time no fence or anything else we could see to tell us kids, ages 6, 8, and me 11 years, where the border was, We could see the buildings about 1/2 mile or so down the hill by the road. If the cows had wandered north so that we thought they were in Canada, we went back down the hill to tell Dad that they were in Canada and we couldn't get them. I'm sure Dad was very disgusted with us for not just walking over to them and bringing them back home
Yup those are some memories.
One place we lived, our old Guernsey new when it was time to head into the yard. She could unhitch the wire loop that held the gate shut. Many a time we saw them comming when we were just getting ready to go get them.
Now that I am older, I don't think I would trade those memories for any of the younger ( now almost teens), that have all the game boys , and such.
Has anybody had any success/failure with beans in bales??? Yesterday I sowed a small row of Climbing Blue Lake beans onto a bale underneath a trellis.. See what happens.
I also sowed my cucumbers and pumpkins directly onto some bales, also added some nasturtiums. Will begin to plant my precious little tomato, chilli and basil seedlings into the remaining bales in a week or two when my exams are over.
The wheat grass is looking lush, have given up pulling it out for now. Still watering every day, adding blood and bone every few days. Can feel the heat inside the bales getting less. Cant wait to plant in them!
I haven't planted beans, in bales. although I see no reason it wouldn't work.
A little different though, I did plant three Castor beans in a bale. they did grow. but not to the size of the ones in dirt. but then after the tomatoes started coming on I didn't fertilize any further.
I use the castor beans for rodent control. It seemed to work as not nearly as many sweet potatoes had been gnawed on. I put some of the seeds in mole tunnels and they either move on or stop their tunneling any way.
You will have to let us know how they do. I am sure someone has had success with beans though.
Just watch and someone will come up with their experience.
We haven't had any of that four letter word that starts with S, yet. But it is sure starting to feel like it is in the air. The leaves are pretty much off the trees now. I have been collecting them for my compost.
The darnedest thing Lena, I planted beans 3 times in a bale and only one bean grew to have any beans on it. Don't know why. Also, in a bale next to it, I planted dill seed twice and none of it even germinated. My sister can't seem to get rid of the dill in her yard. Not too sure what the problem was with either the seeds or the bales.
Great minds think together is that what they say? I got some mole stuff from Gardens Alive and it was 10% Caster bean oil and and 90% inert ingredients. Then someone on one of the forums told me to plant Castor Beans. I used the stuff from Gardens Alive, and immediately the little buggers packed their suit cases. But, they moved to the other side of the house, which was ok, because that is where my dog does her hunting of them. But, boy that side looked like a mine field.
It was too late in the year when I got my castor bean seeds going so I didn't try that. But will next year.
Jeanette; How many seeds do you want, 1/4lb? 1/2lb?? LOL
Some of mine are over twelve ft. and about 2-1/2" diameter stalks.
I plan on feeding the moles over in the Church yard on the south side of the fellowship hall. They keep the whole south end humped up with their tunnels. I really don't mind them being there. Just don't want them to keep multiplying, and then come back and hit me full force!!!
Today ol man winter tried to make a liar out of me. After I said no
S _ _ _ yet. Something was trying to spit a little. I'm not ready for it yet.
LOL, I'll let you know in the spring Russ. I can't believe them getting that big. Do you have to stake them or just let them ramble so the moles know where not to go?
It actually works then!! I know they didn't like that stuff I got from GA.
We haven't seen any of that S ----- stuff yet either. Our night time temps are in the low 20s so it could come any time. But the ground isn't cold enough yet for it to last even if it does come. I don't think.
Tell Barb and Connie hi for me and hope you got all your wood in.
O Gee This year I am wishing we did have wood heat. 1/2 fill of propane ( PROPAIN the way I feel ) cost $335.99.
I didn't want the tank topped off just yet, as with being on fixed income, I can't pay the bill within the 10 day time frame to save a nickle a gallon. This year that adds up to $33.60 that we will not save..
Previous years I would contract for 600 gallons. and pay in advance. That way, my cost per gal. would not fluctuate.
I guess, raising the price per barrel of crude oil is the Arab's way of making us pay to fund their war effort, against us.
The castor beans that were in the bales did fall over after the bales got really soft. Those in the ground were very sturdy. The resident cat climbed one of them, to get at a bird. I tried to bend one of them to get at the dry seeds.
(Hi, sometimes I wake up in the morning & Russ is here at the computer typing way before it is light outside. He really enjoys visiting with friends in other time zones.) We saw Connie last eve at one of our great grandson's 2nd birthday party, one of Connie's grandson's , she seem to be doing good. Party was at a bowling alley & she bowled a couple strikes, we didn't bowl. Last time I bowled was when Connie was a baby. This time I got a word, or two, in . Barb
I've finally caught up with reading all the threads - WHAT an adventure! I may have to skip the summer season and go for an autumn crop as I can't get the bales sorted out in time and it is now only four weeks to the official start of summer here. My vegie gardening at present consists of Silverbeet, leeks and onions lurking in the herbaceous border and a single pot each of shallots and potatoes. Very small beer (as we say in Aus) compared to some of you guys. On the other hand, my Mother has been sprouting some Pumpkin seeds for me so who knows I may do it yet. I'd certainly like too but my gardening time seems to be currently taken up with my flowering bulbs, all of which are now coming to an end and having to be dug up and stored before it gets too hot and they get cooked.
I read somewhere where I think it was Russ who said he didn't think much of spinach, or was it silverbeet? Mum and I have just tried out a thing which improves the flavour drastically. When you cook your leaves, put a few pinches of nutmeg in the water - it seems to remove that odd bitterness and metallic taste that these greens sometimes have. We also put the youngest leaves into salads and we use it a lot in quiche type egg pies without crusts, as they are easy to reheat at work in the microwave for lunches.
I am enclosing a picture of part of my herbaceous border. You can see the silverbeet plants and the tops of a couple of half grown leeks coming up at the right side of the Pride of Madeira plant. When I moved into this house (almost exactly one year ago) this whole border was basically bare soil with weeds. What a difference a year makes!
Sorry to hear about the propane problem Russ. Problem is winter really isn't even here yet. It is going to get worse before it gets better.
In our area the power company has a yearly budget that they average out your monthly usage that you can sign up for so that each month, summer and winter the payment is the same. Has your propane company done anything like that?
We do have wood heat but don't use it completely. We also have the wood Bob has to cut, split, and stack to dry. We normally use it when the weather is the coldest and sometimes when it is damp to get the chill off the house and then the electric can take over without that darned meter running like crazy. Bob tries to keep a year or 2 cut ahead so it gets plenty dry.
Good to hear from you Barb. Sounds like a fun party. I haven't bowled since Connie was a baby either.
Is that why Russ gets up early to grab the computer first? LOL We all enjoy hearing from both of you.
Lena, I planted bush beans in one of my alfalfa bales. They grew and produced nicely. My purpose was to grow them in the bale so I wouldn't have to bend over to pick them.I was very lax in fertilizing them but even then they produced quite nicely. Will probably plant a bale to bush beans again next season.
Donna: Glad to hear your beans did well for you. Bending over to pick beans shouldnt be a problem for me either, Ill be climbing a ladder. My beans grew way to tall last year, started flopping over the top of their trellis, then add the height of a bale... The top of my trellis is just over 3 metres tall! Will let you know how they grow. Still waiting for them to germinate at the moment.
`Donna; I think that is just what Lena was looking for. I would have thought they would as they also put some nitrogen back into the soil.
Jeanette; I got more of the tomato vines ground up. I even run some of the top of the bales through. The bottom part is very wet and mushy, just like mud, except you can see that it was straw. Those ol mater vines had really thick roots and they did go all the way through and into the ground.
Happy gardening Lena!
Kaelkitty. Yup it was me on the cooked spinach. I do like it in salads.
I have some Chard left yet I will try that trick with some of that. Thanks for the tip.
Russ: What a fascinating picture!!! The s/p, you could enter that in next years photo competition. The intertwined roots look (to me) like a family (or close group of friends) in a tight loving embrace, sticking together, happily occupying the same space, supporting and protecting each other, while getting in each others way just a little in the process. Kind of like a real family.
Pretty good imaginations you people all have!! LOL
That is some Castor Bean plant Russ!! My goodness and in zone 4!! Now that was in soil right? How did it compare to the ones in the bales? That's amazing. You must have fertilized it a lot.
I will have to try it next year. Did you get a lot of beans off of them? You know they make great trading on the trading forum. They are quite expensive when you buy them. What color are the flowers? Bet they are pretty.
Jeanette, you have grown Castor Beans haven't you. Actually I never paid much attention to the flowers just the pretty red seed pod clusters. i have used them to make flower arrangements, they are very eyecatching. Also the leaves, the smaller ones near the tips of branches. I have also used scissors to cut away the green part of medium sized leaves just leaving the heavy veins. As they dry the veins curl and are attractive.
No, as a matter of fact I have never grown them. I did get a few on a trade last year but didn't get them planted. Why do you grow them Donna? Just for floral arrangements? Or do you use them for mole control also?
And Lena and Blue, nope, looks just like my dahlia tubers when I plant them in pots. No room for them to spread out and get big.
Russ, I think you need to straighten them out when you plant them.
The ( flower ) of the castor bean is not spectacular. There are no petals to the flower. It is a creamy white flower that is mostly pollen. When the male bud opens it releases the pollen to the wind and it catches onto the red spiny female seed pods. The red seed pods are definitely more noticeable from a distance. In warmer climates the castor bean plant is a perennial. that will live many years.
You can Google, castor bean varieties , and get pictures, uses of the castor bean.
I didn't count the different varieties but there many, distinguishing difference's the color of the stalk as well as the leaves.
I plan to try leaving one plant stay standing this winter, just to see if it will come back. It may even give some adventurous Mole something to think about. LOL
Oh, Something I did last year. I used three leaves of the plant in sand casting a bird bath. Which incidentally I haven't finished yet. But the large veins make a striking design in the concrete. I didn't get around to making stepping stone squares this year, but the leaves would make a nice design on stepping stones in the flower garden too.
Jeanette I did get a lot of seeds. But many of the seeds will not germinate. I think it has to do with either polination or weather the seed pod was mature enough, at the end of the season. but the imature seeds will usually float in water. The ones that float get mashed and mixed into bait for mice. don't like them little buggers either.
Well off to do another favor, for someone else. But then what else would I do right now, ha ha
Russ!! A perennial! the Castor Beans? I did not think that. Now I know I am going to have to start some. I have a picture I took out of the newspaper that I will try to scan tomorrow to send you all. It is pretty cool of just what you are talking about Russ.
It isn't very dark tho and I don't know if my printer will scan it dark enough. Do any of you know how I can darken it on the scanner? I would love to send it to you.
I had thought I would start one on the bottom of my perennial garden and not stake it or any thing, just let it ramble throughout and maybe that would keep the moles away?? What do you think?
It's things like this that make me wish spring would get here pretty soon!! BUT, the weather lady is starting to use the "S" word. Won't be long now.
Well, I have heard that castor beans work to repel moles, so I sure will try them next year. I also used a powder I bought at Lowes which had 10% castor, but it was expensive, and I have a lot of ground to cover...I will google to try to find out where to buy the seeds... just an FYI... I have heard that some people are sensitive to the plant - I don't know if it's just the sap that can be irritating, or the whole plant, but in any case, be careful the first time you use them. anne
Hey lonejack, great to see someone from my neighborhood using bales - I just bought a bunch and hope to try them next spring. Are you growing anything in them now? I'm pretty new to portland and would love any advice you have to offer about growing veggies and fruits here. Would love to know more about your irrigation system, too.
There is one article that kind of links the Castor bean to the same family as the rubber tree. Where they get the milky sap that is rubbery.
It did say something about the sap being an irritant.
As far as being perennial I believe that would be limited by the zone you are in.
I am just experimenting with this one. I have my doubts that it will come back. I won't be out anything by trying. Without going back to the article, I am only guessing but I think it referred to zone 8 and warmer.
The stalks are woody but have a hollow core. The sap in mine is clear.
I do remember being given Castor oil for something and even though I no longer remember the taste, I do remember it was nasty. I don't know if it took care of the problem or not. Nor am I willing to taste it to find out. LOL
A durivitive (my spellcheck says I am wrong in the spelling of that and it didn't like my spelling of "spellcheck" either, lol) 2 words I guess. Anyway that the durivitive is deadly. Ricin. A man was just convicted last year in our area for using it to try to kill his wife with. Something you do with the plant.
I bought a bottle of the caster oil at the health food store. I was going to try to use it to spay, mixed with water, on my garden for moles. But then decided to try to plant the beans instead.
Jeanette, Yes the ricine, is a highly processed powder, from the castor bean. Also there is the ricine gas, I would have no knowledge of how that is processed. but I think that in the form of the actual bean and the roots have to do with the quantity thing, that the mole would have to eat, before it would actually kill it. or anything. I am still very careful around it. As the whole plant is supposedly poisonous. I use care when getting the bean out of the spiny shell. Of course there a lot of house plants that are poisonous. defenbackia is one. Now the century plant ( mother in laws tongue) is one with a rather interesting story. Feed it to your mother in law and she will lose her voice ( for a while). lol
EEs if eaten could cause considerable irritation.
Many of us like the, lowly kiwi. It also has an irritant that has caused some people some grief with lips swelling up or even large blisters.
I think that was the demise of one of my koi, a year or two ago. one of the canes or vine drooped into the pond, and I had 5 koi floating. I managed to save 4 of the five. I used fresh water from the hose turned low to get water flowing through their gills to resuscitate them. It took about an hour before they could stay upright in the water and not roll over onto their side and float to the surface.
We just have to be careful with our Green Thumb activities and know what we are dealing with. I am including a pic of an EE leaf from the EEs planted in a ring around a walnut tree in the front yard
You are so right Russ, if we just went out and looked around the yard or at the plants in the house to discard any that were not poisonous we probably wouldn't have many left. I remember your EE ring. Now, what do you do with those in the winter? Do you have a picture of the ring? Would love to see it. Those are very beautiful plants.
Remember the other day I was telling you about an article in the newspaper Russ and Donna, about one of the things a woman does with the leaves? This is a fountain. And there was one more. If you are interested I won't bother the rest with the picture but if you want it I will send it D-mail.
Anyway here's one. It won't hurt the rest to look at it. LOL
Rachel, here is another picture but the article is pretty long. If you want me to copy it and send it to you I can do that. Also, if I can find it, there was an article I read on how to make these from leaves like the Caster Bean, Rhubarb, Elephants Ear etc. This article is about a woman who has made a business out of making and selling these fountains. I think you can read on the bottom of this picture what she sells them for. Very interesting. Gosh Rachel, maybe you and I could go into business. LOL, just kidding. On my part anyway.
Jeanette; There was an article in backyard living. This lady was using rhubarb leaves as a pattern design in sand casting birdbaths. The second picture looks very similar to what she was doing. This could even be the same person. I really like that fountain.
Anyway the article told how to do the sand casting. Which is what prompted me to give it a try. My birdbath don't look that good though. Kind of thick and I didn't do that good of a job. I think I may have used a heavier piece of plastic over the sand. Some of the wrinkles of the plastic show too. But it is a one of a kind, and it will work. I probably didn't even have the right consistency of the cement.
Wvdasy; That was a kiwi vine. that was down into the one pond. After I got 4 of the five koi resuscitated. I started checking. Water samples were fine. There were quite a few leaves missing off the vine that went down into the pond..And checking on the toxicity of the kiwi on line, is where found the pictures on some children, that were affected. by eating the kiwi fruit. I would think that it would be the same as a person that is allergic to bananas.
I can't prove that it was the kiwi vine. but every thing else was A OK. And They probably ate all the missing leaves.
I will try find the issue of Backyard Living that had that article on sand casting. See if I can scan it in for you. Russ
Russ, that would be really nice. I don't think Kent would like our using this forum for that though. Altho, this time of year it isn't really that active. I saw another one of those bird baths that a woman made from that. I was thinking it was in a freebie Garden Gate issue. But, I do get the Backyard Living too so you could be right.
I thought rather than use this forum or the D-mail that I would just copy the article and mail it to Rachel. But, in case I can't find mine, if you find yours go ahead and scan it into this forum with the instructions how to do it. That is unless Kent, or someone else complains in the meantime.
I am assuming that Rachel, your address is in the exchange? If not, and you want this information, send me your address thru D-mail.
Jeanette you may be right about the garden gate. I didn't find that article, but I did find the instructions on the internet.
1Step OneFind a leaf. To make your sand cast function as a birdbath, a large leaf is best, such as a rhubarb or elephant ear leaf.
2Step TwoMake a dome shaped pile of sand on a hard surface. The pile of sand needs to be approximately two inches larger then your chosen leaf. Cover your pile of sand with a piece of plastic wrap.
3Step ThreePlace the leaf face down on the pile of sand. After placing the leaf you might need to adjust the sand pile to make sure that the leaf is fully supported.
4Step FourCover the outside of the leaf with concrete. Put the concrete in the center of the leaf and work it towards the outer edges. You want the concrete to be about one inch thick in the center and gradually taper down to approximately 1/4 inch along the edges.
5Step FivePut plastic wrap over the concrete covered leaf and wait for it to dry. It will take a couple of days for the concrete to dry thoroughly.
6Step SixRemove the plastic wrap and carefully turn the sand cast leaf over after the concrete is fully dry. Lift the second sheet of plastic wrap off of the leaf.
7Step SevenPeel off the leaf. Most of the leaf will pull off easily, but you will might have to use a scrub brush to remove any pieces that do not come off. Wait a week for the concrete to cure before sealing or painting.
8Step EightPaint your sand cast birdbath in the color of your choice. If you do not want to paint it, you can apply a coat of concrete sealer before filling it with water for the birds.
Tips & Warnings
You can place your new sand cast birdbath on the ground in your garden or yard or on a pedestal.
If the leaf you want to use as a hole or tear in it, you can take a small piece from another leaf and place it over the damaged area as a patch.
Hope this is a help. Russ
Jeanette, I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the sand cast fountains and the other things the lady made. I always wanted to try making the large leaf sand casts. Maybe I will get ambitious next spring and try.
Jeanette ; I will Have to admit I didn't type it out.
after I found it I just done a copy and paste. That will work for most printed material. but not pictures.
I know I still have the magazine, just can't put my finger on it.
This is a shot of the ring sorry some of my plant tubs are still setting there.
Sorry, My mind is kind of like a sieve. Most EEs are a tuber almost ball shaped. Yes they do have to be dug up and stored dry. If they freeze they are done for. The leaves can take a light frost then they should start to wilt. Dig them and let them dry. Store them like potatoes cool and dark. If there are any new tubers wait till spring to separate. They can be started indoors in a pot. to get a head start. They can be grown in a container they do like nitrogen rich moist soil. They like hot humid conditions. I don't get as good a growth, as I plant them in partial shade. That makes it easier for me to keep the soil moist.
If you fertilize once a month with nitrogen rich fertilizer the may even grow larger, like an Elephant's ear.
Yup KK, I don't think you would even have to dig them, at the end of your summer. Those are some very large EEs. With our weather, as far as the EEs are concerned, we don't really have the long hours of sun. or the constant humidity, for them to get that big.
Yes, one of the DGers in Houston sent me pictures of his and they are almost like trees down there. But, you can't have everything. If you have the right light etc, they would make lovely house plants.
KK, that's not fair comparing a zone 4 or 5 with a zone 10. : ) I think if Russ goes to the trouble of planting and digging them every year that it is pretty good. Kind of like dahlias or begonias. I am sure in zone 10 they probably bloom year round. Don't know. Do they have to have that rest in the winter to get their strength for next summer's blooms?
That's not bale gardening tho so I guess I should be asking on the other forums. Just curious.
Jeanette I think they would do alright in a bale. But then that wouldn't exactly be making the best use of a bale. They like good drainage. Some grow EEs in a pond, but I don't think that would be the best for saving the tubers. I tried it and they didn't get very big, and just sent roots all over. I'm thinking of putting some at the edge of the garden this next spring. I want to see if they will do better there. I don't have real good soil in the ring where I have had them for a couple years. The tubers did not form very well. I didn't fertilize them either. Usually the bigger the tuber the larger the plant will get. This year the largest tuber disintegrated but I got 8 different plants from it. Hope they all keep over winter.
And yes zone 10 compared to zone 4 is like compareing apples and oranges. LOL Or should I say a Peterbilt to a VW bug???????
I tried the chard with putting a little nutmeg in it. Decided to add a little more flavor. Cut up a couple tiny onions and one banana pepper and just a little butter. we both eat it then. We will try it again, at least. LOL Next spring we will have some spinach again.
Jeanette I wasn't suggesting an unfair comparison - I KNOW you can't grow them that size when you have to dig them every year - even though I don't have to dig mine they actually don't get that big either, our humidity is too low and the plants seem to keep their leaves smaller to prevent wilting. Mine do however, flower - weird rather than beautiful, I have other aroids with truly amazing flowers like Dracunculus vulgaris. I just thought Russ might like to see what the plants can do under the right conditions. Anyway every climate has it's good and bad points, there are plenty of cool climate plants I fancy madly, but can't grow here.
Russ, I am glad you liked my suggestion re the chard. I like your recipe as well - I wonder what people did do for flavour in food before the onion! They seem to wind up in almost everything Mum and I cook. I have even (accidentally) made onion jam - I was trying for relish, but I cooked it too long! Also re the EE I'm pretty sure they all "rest" in the off season, it's just that some die right back to the tuber, and some keep a few leaves, but don't grow any new ones for a couple of months. Obviously the climate has an effect - I get the feeling that some species can go either way, depending upon the local climate where they are grown. They are real food hogs though so I'd give them a good dose of fertilizer once you have them replanted and growing again.
We will now return you to your regular program on Bale Gardening, LOL! Bye for Now, Kaelkitty.
PS, In case any of you were wondering where my username comes from - This is Kael, he thinks I am his kitty, so Kael's Kitty became Kaelkitty because it is easier to type
Beautiful Kael!! What does that name mean? Does it sound like Kayel? Is that how you pronounce it? He is gorgeous.
Didn't mean to sound snippy over the comparisons in zones KK. I guess I do get kind of disgusted with our cold zones sometimes. But, even we need a rest from gardening just like the plants do. I did smile tho. LOL
Yes Jeanette it is pronounced Kay-el. He will be five on the 13th of December coming up. When he arrived in my life he was the tiniest ball of fluff, just seven weeks old - who would have thought he would grow into the 14lb/6.5k monster he is today. He measures 33in/84cm from nose to tail tip and he is quite happy to stand on his back legs and put his front paws up on the desk in order to drag me away from the computer, if he feels like he is not getting enough attention! What makes his size so hysterically funny is that his mother is a tiny black and white SHORTHAIR less than half his size. We have always joked that his father must have been a giant mutant squirrel on steroids! (and no we don't have squirrels here so that made it even more of a mystery).
About the time I got him I had just finished reading this book. The giant cat on the cover is named Kaelas and he is the "king" of all of the magical animals in the story inside. They are both black and white, and even as a kitten my boy was pretty regal so I took the name from the book and shortened it (as he was so tiny at the time I thought he should have a smaller name) LOL, little did I know then how big he would end up being! This has lead to the other joke with my friends, that his size is due to the "morphic resonance" from his name! This just goes to prove that science fiction and fantasy book readers are an even odder bunch of people than plant fans in my opinion, but at least we relish our "oddness" - the rest of the world just doesn't know what they are missing!
Kael goes to work with me every day in the shop and he is chief customer greeter. Sometimes I think more people come in here to see him than to buy a book! I must go now customers to sort out, see you, KK.
Cool story KK. Cool Cat Kael. I can see why you work in a book store?? It takes a person that loves books and do I dare say "fantasy" to work in one.
You know Kent and one or two of the others are going to come and jerk us back to the strawbales.
You see, there are places here in the states that people are just starting to plant theirs. I wonder if they call this "spring" where they are? come on you guys in the south, do you call this spring where you are? That is the craziest thing I have wondered yet. If you look at a calendar, spring starts the 21st of March I think it is.
Hey that's cool. Just ??? 4 months till March. I've got some bales spoken for. Have to finish cleaning up, before I start hauling them in. LOL Also need to cut down that dead walnut too. That is the one that took a direct hit from a bolt of lightning. Glad it was the tree and not the house.
I will be placing them in the poorest part of the garden. I will still have a dirt garden as well. Some things need to be in dirt. I am going to try useing the old rotted straw, grass clipings and leaves, with a little dirt, for some of the sweet taders. Will also cut some of the vines back, just have to see if that works any better.
And Kent, I will try to prune up just so high so as to keep from haveing to crawl on hands and knees to pick the lower maters. LOL
Will space them further apart too.
And Kaelkitty you will have to keep us informed as too how they do for you. We all love pictures. Even of Kael LOL
I guess we've all been taking advantage of the last little bit of half way decent weather, to get things cleaned up and ready for the next 4 months of nasty stuff.
Have to admit that I have been mixing the leaves grass and dirt. Took down the poles for the cattle panels. Getting the new spot ready for the bales. That also involves dismantling an old storage shed and cutting down that dead walnut tree. I would just drop the tree but one limb would smash right down on the fiberglass roof that I plan to reuse.
I also had one of those dome, canvas covered buildings to take down and relocate. I will be putting it back up and covering it with clear fiberglass panels. I want to use it for a greenhouse. To help harden off some of the tender plants next spring. I really don't know if I can get all that done, as I sure take a lot of rest breaks.
Any way; "Hi " every body! See me waving to you? LOL
We have no plans for travel this Thanksgiving. I'm going to roast a bird, put out invites to family. If no one shows, I guess I will find as many ways to serve turkey as there is for sweet potatoes.
I'm just not going anywhere, unless I absolutely have to.
Well You and Bob, Take care. Come spring, if the boat is still in the hoop house, You could tell him It would be kind of big for a flower pot.
Heh Heh heh.
I don't have travel plans for Thanksgiving other than a few miles to a friends house. After what I did last Monday wouldn't be up to traveling too far anyway.
I was leaving our Senior Center to just go across the street to Garden club meeting and someway missed my step and fell flat on my face into our recently gravel re-topped street .nose and upper lip look awful. But anyway I have really good bones as nothing broke. But everything still hurts especially my middle finger and left knee. I thought I was being careful but obviously not careful enough. Am so thankful no teeth broke and hip joints still okay. I was told when I had the second replacement spikes installed in my hip joints, both, that if I did break either, that there was at that time ,12 years ago, nothing else could be done, only a wheel chair. So you know I try to be careful.
I grew tomatoes, squash, peppers and swiss chard in my bales this year. I made the mistake that some have made and placed my bales too close together.
I started too late this year, first of June. Next year I am going start my bales in late March.
Some of the plants may take longer to thrive but I will be able to get other things done in the mean time.
Now that it is winter I plan to make a report on my drip/fertilizer system. It sure make tending the garden easier. This year I spent the month of August in Haiti so lost my bean crop. My bride and daughters didn't pick them. They were in the back yard out of sight out of mind. The Tomatoes did great. I only lost a few. The drip/fertilizer system worked perfectly through some really hot days.
I use a growing system called Agrotowers, http://agrotower.com/, to grow my beans on. Three towers give me all of the beans I need. I grow purple beans so I can see them on the plants. I am experimenting with the Agrotowers to introduce to Haiti. I think they can be very successful.
By the way in anyone is interested here is another link that has a ton of appropriate information on growing food in 3rd world countries. http://www.echonet.org/,http://www.echotech.org/mambo/index.php
Same here. Wouldn't work here either.
Jeanette; I'm getting closer to getting rid of the tree. I have the shed tore down and what was in it moved. Would have dropped the tree today but had a fairly strong south wind. That would not helped at all.
Maybe tomorrow. I know that when I do get it down, Barb will rest easier, she has been afraid that it would some day fall on the house.
Well none of the heavy part would but some of the branches could hit a window and maybe the A/C unit, That wouldn't be good either.
I think I will just try googling, agrotower, and see what I come up with.
Good luck--------- Russ
Just did it. It would not do much for me. as It would take a lot of mulch in the winter to save something like strawberries. Then sometimes we get a really strong wind. I don't think the stack would topple very easily. but if it did it would be a problem. But it does have potential where the winters are not too severe. Or in a greenhouse aplication.--------Russ
I'll have to take a look. You have me curious now Russ.
You be careful with that tree. Out here they call them widowmakers. Especially with the wind blowing. The birch trees get borers in them and they kill the tops. When you go to cut them the tops fall off and because of the chainsaw running, they don't hear them coming.
lonejack, your link worked for me, the other didn't. After I saw the picture I knew what it is. someone gave one to my sister last spring and she raised strawberries in it. They seemed to grow quite well but i don't think she used the best potting soil.
Ok, this time it worked for me. Maybe too many people had it checked out. LOL Very interesting Jack.
Donna, I don't think the potting soil would matter if she used the tower the way it describes. i.e. as watering, fertilizing, etc. She probably didn't want to mess with that. She could have fertilized good and maybe got the intended results. Bet she enjoyed the strawberries she did get though.
Well Barb will not have to worry about that any more. I notched it and cut the back side and gave a tug with the pickup on a long cable. I had it cut through with the exception of about 1 inch. The tug only made it lean. Had to cut a little more before it actually went down.
Most trees of that size, would have toppled with nearly 2 inches still holding. Guess walnuts are that much tougher.
But it is laying right where I wanted it to drop.
Just wish I could get these dog gone pictures to load right. Been trying to post it for nearly an hour. I give up. No pic for this time.
Now I hope that there is enough good wood to have it sawed into boards.
I would like to make a head board, for our bed, from it. After all It was there to take the lightning bolt instead of it hitting the house.
I don't remember if you said if it was a Black or English Walnut. I remember many, many years ago when my brother cut down a black walnut and stored (??) the one large log at my other place to cure until he wanted to use it. You obviously knew just how to cut and fall the tree. Good job.
Donna; It was a black walnut. Growing up under my father, I had to do things right. All of us boys had some hard learning. I'm not saying he was abusive, but he did have a short fuse. To keep us busy, he would some times have us cut down a tree or two, for the following winter.
That was all with an ax and a two man saw.
That makes me appreciate a chainsaw very much! I was a little concerned with this tree though, it had a lot of limbs counterbalancing it the opposite way I wanted it to fall. Thus the cable and the pickup, to make sure. Probably a good thing too. When I was down to the last inch untill it would have cut through to the notch. It still wasn't ready to give up. I moved the truck a little more to tighten the cable, and it only made the lean. The right way of course but I did have to go back and cut a little more. It was a tough old tree and I guess it wasn't ready to give up. The lower trunk and one limb was all that was alive. The lightning killed the rest of it.
I am going to have to put up with some walnut saw dust in the garden. But with it being dry I don't think the effects will be so much that nothing will grow. But I will keep in mind as to where to plant some root veggies that don't like to grow too close to a walnut tree. Corn is close enough to being a grass that it will do OK. and so on. The tomatoes will be in bales, so they won't be affected Now the sweet potatoes\\ I don't know yet. But I'm thinking of bringing in some sand and mixing it in all the compost I'm making from all the leaves and grass clippings and this last summers bales. The bales were nearly compost, by the time I had to pull the tomato vines and chop them up. Most of what I run through the shredder has really shrunk to a very small pile. I need to get more leaves and stuff to add to it. I will want to have enough to help counteract the walnut saw dust. There probably won't be enough to worry about but why chance it.
Well " may your winter be mild and short and we all be ready for next years gardening!!!!!! LOL Here is a pic to make you think of something besides w i n t e r ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
Russ, sure glad you got that sucker to fall the right way. You need falling wedges before you try any more of those.
I'll never forget the picture I saw my BIL and a couple of nephews got a chain saw stuck in a tree they were cutting down. So, they used another one to get that one out and it got stuck. Before they were done they had 4 chainsaws stuck in that tree.
That is from not knowing what you are doing. LOL Fortunately nobody got hurt. One of them went to pull a tree with a pickup but the rope was too short. End of story. Another one dropped a tree right on the motor of the chainsaw. End of saw.
Honest, they are all still alive to tell about it today.
Jeanette; There are some real horror stories concerning chainsaws and felling trees.
One young man, fortunately working with a crew of men, had been trimming branches. Was going to restart his saw, without placing it on the ground. It did start but with the force he used on the rope and the inertia of the swing, brought the chain in contact with his neck. He did survive. Only because, the other men got him in the truck, held pressure on the wound. Got him to the hospital just as his heart stopped. How the Dr's. saved him I don't know. He had severed one artery and most of his throat. I don't care if I'm in a hurry or not, The proper way to start any chain saw is on the ground and held firmly.
I have used wedges on some, but if you are trying to fell it against the wind, or to the side with the least branches, a long cable or a good rope, might save more than the cost of the rope. If nothing else, peace of mind for your spouse! No laughing matter!
I have had a saw get stuck before, but wedges and a small jack lifted the tree trunk enough to relieve the pressure on the blade. That tree was already down, so I didn't have the worry of a tree falling the wrong way.
I do appreciate your concern for a fellow gardener, and so does Barb. Thank you!!! Russ
Most years, we would have already had 3 or 4" by now.
But whenever they have that El-Ninya (spelling ?) effect. we will sometimes get a mild winter. They had snow South and East of us, but we only had a very light flurry, could barely see that it had done anything
Was to the VA this morning, 100 miles from here. The Dr. give me a good report. I was happy and smiling all the way home. Had to tell Barb right away.
Yes now I can get back to cleaning up the mess, I really wanted the tree down a year ago. Had people that said they would do it or help, of course that never occured. So as they say the best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm.
Say , question what did you say you used to cure your bales. I could go back and look at all the posts but sometimes it is just easier to ask.
Or were you able to get the amonium nitrate, like Kent does.
Well I better get out and get some more of that mess cleaned up.
Congratulations on your good report card. That's great. Now you don't have a reason to not clean up that tree. LOL
I have used 2 different things. One was a Urea 36-0-0 and the other was a high nitrogen lawn food 'cause I couldn't find anything else. I think the Urea was ammonium sulfate. Don't know that it matters. Kent might have a reason. Some used bloodmeal. Some used hay bales.
I ended up using quite a strong fresh horse manure tea, and some blood&bone meal. Bales cooked very well, ready for planting after less than 3 weeks.
Everything is planted now and growing nicely. My tallest tomato plant is about 50cm by now, and showing its first fruit. And cucumbers/pumpkins sown direct into the bales are getting their 3rd true leaves.
Am thinking it might almost be time to give the plants their first "feed" of diluted manure tea. Its been brewing over a month now, so has hopefully cooled a bit.
I am still working my way through reading all the previous threads (currently up to #13) and remember some of you using epsom salts? What does that do? Add Mg I guess... MgCl2 If I can remeber highschool chem correctly...
And what does the brown sugar add? Im quite interested in making my own fertilisers at low cost, and prefferably organic.
Has anybody sprinkled side dressings (eg bloodmeal, fetiliser or manure pellets) onto the bales around mature plants? Is it neccessary to use liquid fertiliser?
Did anyone have sucess with side planting cucurbits in the bales? My logic thinks it could work, if the plants were set deeply enough. Sticking the seeds straight in there might not... the seedlings may grow up not sideways... Any advice????
I have spent the last few days building huge cages around my tomato bales out of bamboo and twine. And I think I got my first sunburn of the season. Summer is really beginning to heat up over here, supprisingly early this year.
Well, uni is finished for the year, thank God I passed everything despite spending waaay more time in the garden than in my books! I am supposed to be finding a summer job and starting work asap. Hopefully in a nursery or outdoors centre. Definately enjoying my freedom while it lasts though!
I hope you are all keeping warm. Heres my first Black Krim, very small still, and a little odd, but beautiful none the less
Jeanette; & Kent Thank you Both. That does clear things a bit, for me.
I have the bales, spoken for. The retired farmer just says they are in the hay loft. I think I had better get them as soon as I get the space cleared for them. He isn't in that good of health, so the deal could change in the wink of an eye. If I can get a lot of bales, I will have to try the beans and cukes in the bales too. The Squash done fairly well. for starting them by seed in the bale. But I didn't lay any thing down to keep the weeds from coming up and try to overtake the squash. I had run out of time to get them tied up on any thing. Then the vines were already too big to try training them other wise. Guess I just get too involved in helping others. I don't know if it will work or not but I think I will try to
re-negotiate the price to mow the lawns, if gas gets any higher. Or maybe get a couple of nanny goats and tie them out get paid for mowing and milk the goats too -------------LOL-------
Congrats on your grades, Lena.
And good to hear from you, even though my garden is done for the year. But we are enjoying the fruits of our labor, with lots of sweet potatoes and squash, in storage. the cucumbers all put up and tomatoes canned and setting on the shelf. Same with Onions and the garlic, all on shelves, Waiting their turn to flavor something good.
Just keep the pics coming , kind of makes us anxious for the seed catalogs to start coming in. :o)
I do still have some swiss chard still sending up some new leaves but they always seem to get frozen before I get to them. Guess I should put up a makeshift hoop house for them, extend the season for them.
Heres my little structure that I built yesterday. Its suprisingly sturdy. The poles go into the ground quite far. Once the tomatoes get large enough I will start tying them to the poles along the edges. Should give them plenty of space to grow.
Wow Lena, you don't mess around do you. You get things done. Including tomatoes already. Doing great. I love the tomato cage, lol, trellis. I sure hope you get a summer job working outside. Beats working a cash register or waiting tables. MacDonalds? Yuck. You are doing great getting to part 13. Good for you.
Russ, you are just trying to make us jealous of all that canning you did. Sure does sound good.
Did I tell you I am going to try a few tomatoes in hydroponics for the winter? Try, that is the magic word. I have never done any hydroponics and don't know the first thing about it, but I will try. I always thought it would be interesting. Will let you know how it goes.
I'm going to have to get my metric conversion chart out if you keep talking about centimeters, etc! :-)
I was in the 4th grade in 1967 when the US "Guvmint" tried to get us on the Metric scale and it was a dismal failure. About all we have to show for it are the drinks are still in 2 liter bottles and we have to have some metric tools to work on our Toyotas and Hondas!
That's a great looking trellis for the tomatoes.
Are you going to sucker your tomatoes?
You folks in the Southern Hemisphere will pull us through our winter.
Hey Jeanette, that sounds great. I am no where near, to where I could try Hydroponics. Though I have been thinking about. Getting a small corner of the garage cleared, to use for starting all the maters and S/Ps. Barb didn't really mind too much of all my little plants, taking up a lot of room in the house, although I did get quite a few suggestions. LOL
Anyway, it worked out. I don't think I can get much done, on the garage thing, this winter. I have way too many irons in the fire, for that to happen. Maybe next summer for that project. I would have to have either gas or oil heat for that. I would not depend on our power Co. for that. We been without power far too many times to depend on them.. Really though I think the longest we have been without power was 4 and 1/2 days. Power was off twice that winter though. all in the same month. Oh well I'll get around that too..
I put a small gas heater in the living room that don't depend on anything except there to be gas in the tank. It don't even have to be vented. So I think another one like that for out in the garage should do the trick.
Sure looks like winter outside this morning. Started snowing about 5:00 pm, but only accumulated to about 1" so must have stopped before too long. got down to 21 degrees and is quite clear in the south. However weather man says more snow to come, so I didn't go to Wenatchee as I had planned, expect the pavement is pretty slick.
I'll let you know how mine turns out Russ. If so, we'll get you into hydroponics yet. Listen to me!! You would think I know what I am talking about. LOL
The last time we lost power for any length of time was over Thanksgiving about 8 years ago for 5 days. The next summer we bought a wood cook stove and a generator with the transfer station. Would you believe we haven't lost power again except for an hour or 2 at a time?
Donna, we got 4 or 5 inches of snow last night. It is up to 32 degrees now so some of it might thaw, but the ground is frozen solid so doubt if we'll lose it all. It is suppose to be 11 degrees a couple of nights this week and snow again Wednesday. So, hang in there you will get your share.
No snow here yet. So I have made a big dent in getting all the twigs up off the garden. and burning them. It's up to 25 now, but came in for another break, and to warm my fingers. Barb just said I would say your hair smells like wood smoke- - -but you don't have enough hair to get smelled up. We had a good laugh with that, but it is true what little I do have is cut in sort of a flat top. LOL
Just have to get the bigger logs moved now and clean up around them.
Skid loader quit running so not sure how far I can get them for a while.
Barb had a Dr. appointment this evening, so will have to stop soon anyway. Been have a lot of pain in lower back and hip area, Going to try a cortisone shot for today, but I'm thinking that at the very least, she will need some therapy there maybe even surgery. Just going by how my back felt and what had happened to me. It don't take much to get your back out- a- whack. Then if you were lifting and turned wrong that is when things really go wrong.
Yes please keep me informed on the hydroponics. I understand that on a large scale it gets quite involved. I'm thinking though that just to have some tomatoes during the winter for two or three, a failure wouldn't break you up in business.
Well better go back out, try get a couple of the smaller logs moved. It looks like we may be getting some snow by Friday. If we do I hope it don't get so deep to make it impossible for me to work on the skid loader back where it quit running. I depend on it to clear my "lane" or driveway whichever. but 180' of snow drift is beyond me to try shovel by hand. I have done it before, but not any more. Think I had better throw a tarp over it just in case. I could always run a long extension cord out to it and work under the tarp with a light. Oh the problems that occur to trip us up.
Oh bother I just wrote a long reply and then didnt post it! Ill try again.
Russ: Yes, hard work chopping, but good fun too. Tieing all the knots tightly with the tough natural twine was actually the hardest, on my fingers anyway! And the chair I was standing on kept sinking its feet into the ground, unballancing me. haha good times.
Jeanette: Noooooooo not McDonalds, I couldnt do that! I wouldnt even consider eating there, so my morals will definately prevent me from working there! I value wholesome nutritious food, thats why I grow my own I guess. I have an interview at the BBQ Factory on friday morning, to work in their shop/ sale yard. They sell camping and outdoor furniture, and, well, BBQs. Could be ok. Really I wanted to try a simple labouring job like painting or landscaping or concreting. My last chance to do lowly paid unskilled work before graduating. Imagine how upset my father would be if he payed for me to go to uni, and I end up working as a painters labourer! I just like the outdoors, and hard work is fun too.
Where would you set up hydroponics? Does that mean it would be just as possible to grow tomatoes in an EB over winter?(or even a strawbale if you can contain the mess?)
Kent: I dont understand your funny imperial system either! It doesnt even get taught in schools. I know that 3 feet is roughly one metre, and theres about two pounds to a kilo. Gallons are about 3 litres, maybe 4? Dosn't make sense to me at all. At least metric is all in multiples of 10. Farrenheit is another mystery. So if 32 is freezing, then what is warm? Too hot? 25 is warm for us, 35-40 is tropical and nearing too hot. Body temp is about 36 I think.
Yes, I sucker and stake my tomatoes. At least I did with my 32 plants last year. This year I got a little bit excited, and planted, umm, 114. The bales, Ill blame it on the bales! All that additional growing space! And since discovering DG and plantfiles, I could look up all the tomato varieties on offer in the seed catalouge, which just increased the temptation... I have a lot of work ahead of me. It will only be my 4th season canning too.
My elderly neighbour asked what I was planning to keep inside that cage. When I told him tomatoes, he couldnt believe it, his had never tried to run away before! Haha. I was pleased to hear he is growing a few plants himself this year. Last year he didnt bother, so I shared some with him. Maybe he got reminded of how wonderful home grown tomatoes taste!
Right, enough from me. Im heading out to water my garden before the sun goes down. It takes me about 45 minutes every evening. Maybe Im just too careful. Oohh my peppers are flowering!
Good luck with the snow :-) Heres some plums on my lovelyl big old plum tree. This same tree had the most gorgeous white blanket of flowers in spring, kind of like snow...
Good for you Lena. No MacDonalds, but don't eat that BBQ either. Think what they put in the sauce!! LOL. What are you taking at school? Yup, bet your daddy would not like it one bit to see his daughter in a painter's uniform.
Yes, with the right atmosphere, i.e. light and fertilizer you could grow tomatoes year round. They are not an annual. Those two things are the most important. And water. I am having my so put up a big Metal Halide light I bought from a Master Gardner and it is on a track 6 feet long, in my basement. Also, they will need a little heat. I am not going to give them much because I don't want aphids and spider mites. I also have brugs and a rose bush in there. It is my plant room.
Good luck on your job interview Lena, let us know how it goes.
No BBQ for me, thats right. Not my thing really. I dont think they actually cook the BBQ there anyway, just assemble and sell it :-) Need to type out a CV tomorrow too, been putting it off. Lugged home another big armful of bamboo poles this evening (after dark!), so I can keep building cages, confuse the neighbours some more. They think Im a little strange anyway I think. Oh well.
Lucky you, having a heated and lit up plant room! Have you tried growing tomatoes in there before? Would the flavour be the same as summer tomatoes? Keep us updated on that one.
Unfortunatley I was trying be mature and responsible in my choice of study program, and maybe appease my Daddy a little too, so Im doing a commerce degree. Just finished my third year of it, so only one to go! I have been doing majors in Finance and Real Estate Valuation. Because Im doing a fourth year, I can fit in another major. Am trying to enroll in Agribusiness at the moment. Really (really really really!) wish I had studied Horticulture instead. Maybe The Ag major will help lead me back to what I really want to do, growing vegetables. I did manage to use up my elective papers on Plant Biology, Ecology, and Biochemistry (?) though. That was fun, and interesting.
I tried to post a picture of my "snow" before but it didnt work. Then I got distracted by what was growing outside and ran away. So Ill try again now. It really does look cold and wintery still doesnt it! Palmerston North in September. Enjoy.
Its after midnight Im off to bed. Goodnight (morning). Lena
Lena, I like your snow better than mine. We are supposed to get up to 6" of snow tonight. I don't really mind the snow it is the shoveling that is hard, especially since I have angina and am not supposed to lift very much. And also since i fell 2 weeks ago my left wrist is very painful to use.
Do you by any chance know what variety of plums those are, are they green when ripe, anyway they are good looking plums.
Lena, with all those tomato plants you are growing you better lug home armfuls of bamboo every night. LOL. Maybe your neighbors will think you are trying to root them.
I think it was about May of this year that we were really wishing we had some good flavored tomatoes. We were in a produce department of a large grocery store and the produce manager overheard us talking about it. So he suggested we try the hydroponics that a local (I say local, about 40 miles away) grows in their greenhouse. He told us they really were good. So, even though they were $3 per pound, we bought a couple to try. We were hooked. We ate those until ours kicked in in August.
Now, whether they will taste that good this time of year? We don't know. They didn't have any last time we were at that store. It is 50 miles away so, with the price of gas what it is, we don't go down there just to buy $3 a pound tomatoes.
With your college degree you should be able to be a real estate salesman, but if you do you won't have time to lug bamboo poles around and build pens for your tomatoes. Unless you do it late at night with flood lights. LOL, I have 2 sisters that sell real estate, and believe me, they work looooooong hours.
Lena; Not that it makes much difference, It is easier to do math in 10s.
but Noah new only cubits and built an ark that saved his family and many animals. LOL
But I did look up the formula to convert the temps.. I only listed a few of the temps.
At least those are what the conversion table shows.
So when it is 32C we usually start to perspire.
between 10 and 25C is a comfort zone or spring temps.
I don't care about the ease to do the math, When it is hot , it is hot
I just enjoy hearing how your garden is doing and the fact that you are sharing your pics and and progress.
Keep up the good work and you will help us oddballs through the 0C to the -35C season. Hope you will stay with us when your temps are 0F to -35F LOL
Don't mind me I'm just having fun.
Donna: The plums ripen to a dark dark red/purple colour. They get quite large and meaty. Excellent for making jam, the skins just dissintegrate rather then roll up and stay visible. The tree is bearing another huge crop this year. Im already finding homes for them, I hate to let the excess go to waste. Last year I took a few buckets to the Salvation Army. A group of ladies were making jam and selling it to raise money for the needy.
I suspect its a type of Doris, but Id dearly like to know what they are too! January is the month for them, they are just slightly earlier than the main mob, they all ripen at once and disapear very quickly again.
My neighbour Andrew has lived next door for over 20 years, and hes still in touch with the lady who used to live in my house. She planted that plum tree some 30 or so years ago! Ill ask Andrew to ask her next time I see him. It will give him the chance to make fun of my newest tomato again cage too :-)
Dyson: Hello :-) and glad you enjoy them. Im also very pleased my growing season has started!
Jeanette: I now have exactly the right amount of bamboo, its been carefully counted out and measured. And the tomatoes are all planted or distributed. I kept giving my bamboo away to friends when they came to get a few tomato plants off me. These are mostly young people who dont really garden much, and are only "addopting" a few plants each to keep me happy (Im hoping they will be hooked soon) I didnt want to kill healthy little hand raised heirloom tomato plants! After the blank looks I got when asking what sort of trellis they were going to use, I decided it may be better to give them a few stakes each with their plants. I cut them down from behind the gym on campus, so it doesnt cost me anything. Just need the motivation to go and pick more, which I always seem to find. The last 6 seedlings left yesterday. Branywine, Black from Tula and Golden Jubilee. Its been fun, but Im relieved its over now too. Time to grow up and make fruit!!!
How soon are you starting your winter seedlings? Will you grow heirlooms?
Thanks Russ! Im forming some sort of conversion scale in my head from that. And Ill definately keep you all posted on how my garden is doing. Its nice when people are actually interested. Not many of my friends are. I can often tell when a friends eyes glaze over with boredom, as soon as I start talking about my garden. Can make gardening quite a lonely activity.
Don't worry our eyes won't glaze over from boredom with news from your garden. We may get overly bored with our winter though, Which seems to have some connection to the depth of the snow. and weather the same snow that falls November is still under the rest of the snow that has accumulated the rest of the winter. We usually get snow in March and some in April . So you know we are nowhere near ready to plant yet. LOL
Kent, you are right would be a good visit. I am thinking about planting a few tom. seeds soon. I planted some Jan. 07 and had 3 or 4 small ripe tomatoes in early June, then they more or less died, but it was and interesting experiment.
Donna, you are going to have to start hydroponics for winter gardening with Russ and I. I didn't know you started yours so early. Do you grow them in your greenhouse? I didn't think you heated it that much.
About that plane Kent, I don't fly good. LOL Haven't since I retired. I had to travel so much when I worked I swore I never wanted to see another plane or hotel room. However, if Lena were to get some REALLY good looking tomatoes- - - - - - I might be persuaded.
No Lena, I don't think I'll grow heirlooms for my trials. Once I decide to get serious about the hydroponics, if I like it, then I might get into those. Right now, just a few that I am used to.
I planted some seeds in some rockwool but don't know if they are going to germinate in that. May have to go back to the Pro-mix.
Jeanette: I can flap around some but haven't been able to get off the ground yet. I think it has to do with no tail feathers.
I think that would be a once in a life time trip and I think it would fun.
Don't know if we should let Kent do any driveing though. He may get KPH & MPH mixed up, and get us all in trouble HE HE ok Kent your turn. LOL
That is very interesting Russ. A couple of them are pretty simple, altho, I did have a problem understanding the one with the holes in the bottom of the bucket. Not really, guess you just have to keep adjusting to get it right. I think with that large a bucket full of Peralite it would take a bit to get it right.
Still think I will stick with the one I sent you as a beginning one. Unless I find something easier. LOL, don't know how much easier you could get tho.
You are right about the trip being a once in a lifetime. Also about letting Kent do the driving. Flying? Oh oh.
Yes come to New Zealand! Its never too late to learn to fly. Lovely warm weather here at the moment. Ill make sure I continue to tempt you with lots of nice summery pictures... and tomatoes when I finally get them!
Did I tell you, Im going to Germany to visit my family for a whole month in mid January? Before too long, I will taste the extreme cold for myself. Last time I experienced the European winter was about 10 years ago, so I ve been lucky. We usually go over in June/July when its warm (and cold here!) but my Grandmothers 90th birthday on the 5th of Feb is not to be missed.
I just got home from my job interview. Such a nice day, I rode my bike. Interview went ok, now I wait till monday to find out if I got the job or not. There were a few more applicants. This could be my last free weekend for a while! Fingers crossed.
Kent: Oh... and I always thought imperial was the name for the old English measurement system! Haha. Thats what I remember my Daddy calling it when he was explaining it to me when I was young. I used to help him tidy his workshop, sort his millions of drill bits and spanners etc back into their boxes. Some had metric sizes (mm) and some "imperial" sizes on them eg 5/8 or 7/16, funny fractions that made no sense to me at age 7 or 8. I knew what cm and mm were though. Hmmm. Maybe because my dad is German, and has messed up the translation... or I could have messed up the translation too. It is most likely that that conversation would have been carried out in German. What is the American measurement system called then?
Google earth is great isnt it. I enjoy playing around on it from time to time too. I have had a little look around the States recently, get an idea where everything is, and where you folks live. I still cant get over how vast your continent is. And how many large cities there are. We have about 5 cities in NZ, only one of them even close to 1m people. Our total population is only 4m!!! Most NZ shots are not that clear though. Quite rural so they wouldnt bother I guess. Palmerston North is not very scenic anyway.Theres far nicer places, like Russell, Bay of Islands, where my Parents live. That is one of NZs most beautiful spots, with the best climate in the country. You can grow melons, bananas, and other tropical fruits there. Here in Palmy they wouldnt grow.
The newspaper? Do you really think so? Ill have to think about that one. And wait till I have some brilliant results to show off too. Not much to see yet.
Which tomato varieties do you all like to grow? Would be interesting to compare.
I won't say definite for positive. I have always called it American Standard and for bolts it is either SAE or NF for National fine thread.
Now as we are going into evening. the temp is 0 C or 32 F.
One thing that has always bugged me when we were supposed to be learning the metric system. How come time is still a standard. all clocks are either a twenty four hour military on the face or one through twelve. Or do the Brits have trouble with the math there. ( grin )
Not sure what the Brits problem is (bigger grin) I think the Kiwis have the same problem though, working on 12 hour clock. Im used to 24 hour cos thats what they use in Germany. Or did you mean the brits use 24 hour? Now Im confused