So what's everybody up to?
I noticed some green shoots coming up on my raised bed, pushing through the straw mulch, so I pulled off the plastic and straw and TAH-DAH... the garlic is coming on strong! Yeah! I tried fall planting garlic a couple of years ago, but the gophers ate it. =0( I didn't think gophers liked garlic... apparently we have eye-talian gophers here. LOL
Here's a pic with the plastic pulled off and the straw mulch waiting to be removed...
March on the Homestead
So what's everybody up to?
Not only did the garlic come on (you can see them in the forefront of this picture), but a few of the onions I tried to overwinter also made it, in spite of my doing nearly everything wrong. I scratched compost into the bed in the fall (not supposed to fertilize overwintering onions) and I didn't dry them off for two weeks before covering them (instead, I think I watered them %-). These are Utah's that I'm going to try and get seed from. You can see them in the back of the picture, looking just beat to heck from my tender ministrations. LOL
I had to hurry to do this, as the wind starts to kick up around 9:30-10 these days. The straw was still so nice and dry that I put it in one of the donkey's stalls.
Here's the bed all cleaned off, with the poly hoops up waiting for the row cover. You might be able to make out the rebar running alongside the bed at the base of the hoops... I use that to wrap around the edges of the row cover to hold it down, and put the bricks on the ends. But by this time, it was too windy to even think about trying for putting the row cover over, so I'll have to wait til maybe this evening or tomorrow morning, when the wind is down. I'm just glad we're getting a lull in the morning and evening. So often the wind just seems to be going 24/7.
In the background you can see the plastic lying out and drying off, held down by cattle panels, which we used to hold it down on the bed this winter. We'll fold it up and get another season out of it. =0)
A while back someone wanted to see my seed starting set-up. I finally got most of the junk cleared off it, and here it is. It's in the same little room as my pressure tank, so this is as far away as I could get. You can see it's an A-frame, with a single shop light on the top, a double set of lights on the second shelf, and braces on the bottom where another set of lights could be attached for flats on the floor.
Time to start my herbs...
Wouldn't ya just know it... the wind has been roaring ever since, gusts probably to 40, steady at 30... things just getting beat to heck out there. There's no way I can get the row cover on, and it's supposed to keep up all tonight and tomorrow.
Hope there's something left by Sunday, which looks to be the first break. Thank heaven these are bulbs and it's a WARM wind... snort.
HOORAY! The weather today is absolutely miserable.... woke to the soft pattering of rain, ate breakfast to the ticking/tocking of sleet, washed the dishes as I watched the swirling snow flurries. I'm not even going to grumble about having to wipe the mud booties off the dog's feet when they come in... when they go out. LOL My boldest, baddest, goofiest dog just stood in the door and looked out when I opened it to let her out... uh, no, I don't think I want to go out in THAT. How is it that an animal that loves to roll in dead things won't go out in a little weather? LOL
But it's wet and it's wonderful.
Oh dang, the sun just came out. GO AWAY! I want puddles, for Pete's sake. I want water sluicing off the roof. I want snow up to the banisters on the porch.
I'm beginning to think it's like dating... the more you want it, the less you get it.
Finally! No wind this am, dashed right out and put the row cover on. Here's what it looks like with the old way of controlling billowing... #9 tie wire hoops. It works pretty well, but as you can see the wire doesn't exactly conform to the cover, and a strong wind can actually move it enough to work the wires out a little. It can eventually lead to the rebar coming unrolled and the whole rig coming undone. Only happened a couple of times last year, but I've been looking for a better system.
Here's the new way... I've put in some fence staples on the railroad ties and run haystring through it, crossing over from side to side. This is one way I've seen it done on the big high tunnels. It certainly conforms better. I think the haystring might be too abrasive for a whole season, but I've got softer cord on order. Shouldn't be but a day or so before the winds kick up again and test it.
Jay i think your wind is alot like our here in OH. Just always windy at 25 -30 mph all spring. If it ain' t windy its a blessing.
Good idea on the string.
i m going to try a few hoop mini Gh on my raised beds.
i have left over plastic from the big GH and i have tulle for bug protection that i use also . When i m done iwth the plastic.
It could work ? i hope
enjoying your thread alot and learning much :)
The tulle will work, provided you grasshopper problem isn't too bad. I tried that one year and the little buggers ate right through it. LOL
The GH plastic will work, but it'll get pretty hot under it and need to be vented somehow. I've used plastic to warm the bed early in the spring, but I don't put plants under it because of the venting needed. Maybe you can figure out a slick system. =0) Frame the ends or something.
Yep, 20-30 pretty constant here... just a breeze. LOL The little tunnels over the plants really helps with the battering and drying out from the wind, and it hides all your tasty morsels from the bunnies and birds. I couldn't grow much out here without 'em.
Send pics and let us see how your garden comes along!
I was thinking of a flap of tulle under the flap of plastic. kinda like a little triangle window ? i got a great tape that holds and is uv protected and wont break down quickly.
i will send pics soon :)
I'm liking the new billow system much better. We haven't had any real wind yet, but it certainly handles the strong breezes better (25-30 mph).
Now I'm stuck with wondering how to do it in just plain dirt, instead of a raised bed. Any ideas? I can make ground staples; I'm just not sure they'd stay in in a gusty high wind.
Well, dang. We've got 40+ mph gusts this morning, and they've stripped the row cover off. =( The haystring has it nicely gathered, so it's not flapping and tearing itself apart in the wind, but the garlic is exposed. At least it's warm.
I've got snow fence ordered as a wind break, so maybe that'll help.
No wind this morning, after several days of FREAKY 40-50 mph wind & cold but no snow. It's supposed to rain/snow tomorrow night (promises, promises) so I am going out now to spray my fruit trees. Been putting it off for too long, the apicot blossoms are just about ready to pop. Somehow during the winter, the nozzle of my brand new (last year) spray bottle disappeared. Emailed the mfg, and today they kindly offered to send me a new nozzle gratis! Meanwhile, I'll try to get the apricots done, at least, with a tiny spray bottle from the dollar store.
Re tulle, Jay, do you mean yard goods from a fabric store? When I lived in Scottsdale I'd buy a bolt of it (green, of course) when the local fabric store had a sale in January, and use it to cover my veg garden. Raised armloads of all kinds of lettuce in the winter, down there. I think the netting lasted 2 years or more before the sun ate it. I never compared it in cost to row covers, but it was pretty cheap.
Yes, tulle from the fabric store. It is cheap, pretty sure it's cheaper than the row covers, but I gave up on it after the grasshoppers ate through it. Also, it offers no frost protection, not as much moisture conservation either, which are big plusses with the row cover. But it all depends on the budget. =0)
I've gotten a couple-three years out of the row cover material, and as it gets torn (by wind, by dogs jumping on it, once by a dang chipmunk chewing through it) I use the bits for smaller covers over pots, patches, preventing carrot seeds from drying out while they germinate... you get the idea.
spray a little cayenne pepper on it , chipmuncks don't like that . LOL
found this thought you might find it interesting
That's a very cool tool, but I don't think it will work. The wind will rip the row cover apart around it. I used similar clips on the PVC greenhouse... just popped the suckers right off and that heavy construction plastic flys very nice thank you. The light weight row cover will just tear. Not to mention, I just ordered over $100 of windbreak fence, so I'm not spending anymore money. LOL
The dog got the chipmunk, so that took care of that. =0) I'm not one to think something is too cute to die. That's our dog's job and she's pretty good at it. Gophers, mice, chipmunks. She's got them down to a manageable number now.
Gophers may be the only pest critter I don't have! Had bunches of them in Scottsdale. When I advertised my house for sale down there, I called it "Gopher Baroque". LOL
We stayed in Heber Utah for 4 months. :)
Yeah i can see how it would not work. The last plastic i used did very well in our hurricane of 75 mph winds. didn't tear. Cost a big $$$ and since the new GH is bigger and taller i can't use it . Gonna make a smaler one for the old plastic later.
To funny on the dog. LOL
my theory is if it taste good , eat it. LOL squirel and possom ain't to bad deep fried with a bit of ranch dressing . :)
It'd take a dozen chipmunks to make a sandwich! LOL I suggested cottontail for dinner, but the SU nearly fainted, so I don't think we can go there. =0)
Wetness predicted... measurable even... so must go seed pasture.
No pasture, but I got my Little Garden tilled & planted yesterday. Might do the Big Garden today, but my water pump is solar so I need lots of sun -- cloudy again so we may not get it. I don't know about measurable precip -- haven't had any for so long I forget what it feels like.
Heber is on the east side of AZ, Flagstaff is sort of in the middle. Heber is south of Holbrook, and I-40 runs between Flagstaff & Holbrook. It's about a 3 hour trip by car, about as far as going down to Phoenix from here.
Taynors, I don't think I have ever been to Heber, Utah, but both towns were named for the same guy, an early Mormon. (How's that blizzard doing? 75 mph winds, wow.)
Jay, does your SU object to eating the cute little bunnies, or are they not good to eat? Somehow I lump them into the same group as clams, you can't eat them in months containing no Rs (May, June, July, August). I know, I know, that makes no sense whatsoever. LOL
It's more the wild issue... though cute's a factor too.
I'm pasteurizing goat milk at the moment. It's in the 40's here right now, almost sunny--those high, very thin clouds that just dilute the sun a bit. Not too windy either. I'm torn about the seeding... they're predicting 2" of snow, followed by warm and dry. That'd be great to get things started, but will something show up to keep the little oatlings going? Fribble, fribble. %-
Ordered goat cheese culture this week, looking forward to something besides yogurt and lemon cheese with this. =0)
Well, I bit the bullet, screwed up my courage, took the plunge, threw caution to the wind (might as well join everything else down in the pasture) and compromised. LOL I seeded half of the area, which means 50# of oats broadcast and covered by harrowing. I pulled Levi the Great White Ass out of winter storage, harnessed him up and hooked him to the tire harrow. It's the first time he's actually done field work for his supper. I'm so tickled. We did a pretty good job, he only tried to lay down once (another reason to always have a buggy whip handy) and it's doing something that looks a lot like snow higher up in the mountains. Still warm down here, breezy but not bad. If wetness shows up tonight, at least I got something in the ground. And if it doesn't, the seed is covered and the birds and mice will get less of it.
Oh how I am longing for spring Jay!!! I like your setup there! I have started my seeds indoors as well. DH does not seem to like my green house that covers the dinning room table. huh? Go figure. My garlic did awful last year, whats the secret? I believe I had poor drainage as they seemed to melt! weird. :/
Melting.... that sounds like what my onions are doing and I think it's a combo of wet and freezing. =0( My raised bed is highly amended with peat and compost, as well as being lined with hardware cloth to exclude the gophers. Were your garlic bulbs in a raised bed or in the ground? Did you mulch and cover them with plastic to keep the mulch dry over the winter?
DH is beginning to sound unreasonable... no chirpilating feather dusters in the living room, no seedlings in the dining room. Does he have any idea how much he is saving in mental health and food bills here? Where's his sense of perspective? All he really needs is the recliner and the remote, what's he gettin' all uppity for? LOL Wait! Has he run out of life support factors (beer and chips)? You may need to recalibrate the fuel delivery system, readjust octane proportion. Has he been polishing golf clubs or casting flys across the room? Could be same bug you've got! LOL
Well, I planted in the spring. I planted in huge above gound pots with drainage holes in the bottom. I used good soil mixture with mulch. Maybe I should have put them in the ground. I dont know. I was so disapointed because I wanted to make garlic braids. :(
I know!!! DH is a big bummer. Wet blanket and stuff. He has a touch of OCD and does not like things out of its place. Chickens...outside. check Garden plants... in the backyard in the ground. check oh no!!! we are out of beer and chips!!! ahhhh...he may notice the six showgirls and silkies in the blue tote in the dinning room. hehehe
We are getting a nasty, wet snow right now. I had so hoped we were finished with that mess for this year but I knew better way down deep in my knower. I am sure it won't hurt my onions as they have been out all winter in the snow, ice, sleet ect and done just fine. I am also not worried about the seed I planted a few days ago because none of it has sprouted yet. But I am worried about all my little garlic just coming up and my rhubarb that is just peeping out from under the mulch.
Do you always get snow this late or is this an oddity? I mean NY we get snow as late as April or so. I LOVE rhubarb!!!!
We didn't have much snow last winter but this year has made up for it. It's pretty normal for this time of year. I was just hopin' against hope I guess.
I have never eaten rhubarb before. MaryE sent me some of her plants to give it a try. They grew good last year and she said I should wait a year to harvest any so I am looking forward to eating some this year. How do you fix it?
My grandmother grew it out in the backyard every year. She would try to make pies from whatever we did not eat. Which was not much. hehehe You can make it up in pie like apples too. I have boiled it and have used it to make rhubarb zuccini bread. It is so good.
Braids would have been so nice, bummer to have lost this years. But there is always next year!
I think this fall I would try putting the garlic in the ground or the pots in the garage? Mulch deeply (I had 6" on mine) and keep them dry till later in the spring. I'm going to keep the mulch on my later next year; I got bit by all that warm weather we had, and I think I've uncovered them too early. They'll make it (I hope) but I think they'd be more vigorous and healthier if they hadn't gotten hit by this bout of single digit cold and the wind!
Cool about the rhubarb! =0)
I have not had mine covered at all. I didn't have much hope any of it would come up. The beds were frozen pretty deep so I wasn't sure it was garlic and not weeds. I dug one up and it had the bulb on the end I had planted. I planted hundreds of them. Maybe some will survive.
LOL! You guys crack me up. So planting garlic in the fall is recommended. I was told Spring! bummer. That may have been the problem. I planted it in the spring last year. I can put it in the lean-to next time. Its still cold but not as cold as outside. Maybe that will make a difference. So I should also wait to bring it out until April? Thats when spring starts here. Still a threat of snow though. Maybe I should wait until May.?. I had never done the braids but bought a book to try. oh well, next time.
i think darius did a article on garlic
i will see if i can look it up
Great article by Darius. Thanks for the link, I read it just in time, was about to plant garlic bulbs out by the potatoes but instead will plant them amongst the lettuce!
Re making cheese, I am new at that and have only made queso blanco, yoghurt, and lemon cheese. The queso blanco was okay, the yoghurt wasn't too tasty but was okay, but the lemon cheese didn't curdle like it was supposed to so I panicked and added apple vinegar, then strained it anyway, and what I got was very sour cheese. Ewwwww. So if you have goat milk available, Jay, why do you need to order goat cheese culture?