Summer 2015: How does your garden grow?

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 - 10:34am

This thread is another seasonal place to put food garden photos, ask questions about growing things, and share tips and tricks and such. I'd recommend you put your growing USDA zone or international location so we can get an idea of what grows well where. I'm in USDA Zone 8.

The above picture is of one of our salad beds and our herb garden. It has Jericho cos (the first year it's formed heads!),  and lots of black-seeded Simpson leaf lettuce in a cut-and-cut again bed, where we pinch the leaves at the top to prevent bolting. Another bed has kale, baby cabbages we are thinning, and beet greens. The medicinal and cooking herbs in this bed (all perennials) are bee balm, lavender, oregano, and thyme. We also have, in other locations, dill, coriander, basil and sage.

What are you growing? How is it doing? Share what you learn here and speed up the learning curve for us all.

 

40 Comments

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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First time trier

Hi Wendy,

This is my first year gardening so advice from me will be somewhat none existent. However, i am keeping exhaustive logs of what i plant, when it is planted, soil type, how often it's fertilised and the rate of growth. In the meantime I've got some updates to share.

I'm in the United Kingdom with a USDA Zone 8b. I've taken the rather optimistic approach of planting whatever i can get my hands on just to see what takes hold. In the second year I'll focus on what grows best.

In the meantime here are some potatoes that i was forced to harvest early as wind damage snapped the main stem. Not to worry, i have 9 more plants!

(There were another 2 potatoes attached but they fell away during extraction)

Now for the data; these were planted on 8/3/15 after a 2 week chitting period in a 50/50 mix of general purpose compost and miracle grow all purpose enriched compost in a partially shaded area. They received 3 doses of liquid fertiliser in 2 week stints starting on 18/04/15. Growmore fertiliser (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) was worked into the soil on 11/5/15. I'm actually thinking of laying off the liquid fertiliser and the Growmore in future. I'd like to try something organic so I've got some fish, bone and blood for the next dosage. I'd also like to garden with minimum input to lower the resource requirements for growth. They were harvested on 29/5/15 giving two and a half months of growth.

All the best,

Luke

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
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Fingerlings!

Small potatoes, also known as fingerlings, are the best tasting ones in my opinion.

I like how you are experimenting with what works for your property, your microclimate. We are really happy with things that grow with minimal assistance, minimal insect damage, no insecticides or herbicides (heaven forbid!) and minimal watering or other fuss. This is not just because we are lazy or busy, it's because things that require that sort of care are not healthy, not cheap, and not sustainable in an emergency when you cannot get more of whatever it is from the store.

Example: we lost our peach tree to old age and put in a new one, which should have not gone near the raised beds and therefore succumbed to root nematodes. We have to cut the new sapling down, and while we can put in a different peach tree somewhere else they always require Bt (bacillus thuringiensis ) to have healthy fruit that is free of plum curculio insect damage (from bugs that overwinter in the soil) . So we are going to put the new peach tree in the hen yard to let the chickens eat the bugs. Voila! No more need for Bt.

You can also cut down on the use of nitrogen fertilizer if you can get over the cultural programming that says bags of cow manure from the store are great for your garden but urine (ha - get it?) trouble if you use . . . well, you know. Even if this is not your cup of compost tea at the moment, keep this technique in mind for when number two hits the fan. Number one might just help you grow enough food to make a difference.

killerhertz's picture
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Edible leaves

You can cook all those leaves up too if you aren't composting! Asian cultures of course use them in their cuisine. You can pan fry or steam. Give it a shot if you haven't already.

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rayne
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Potato leaves are poisonous!

Please do not eat the leaves, stems, or green tubers of potatoes as they contain glycoalkaloid poison. 

 

The potato leaves used in Asian cuisine are *sweet* potato leaves which are edible.   This is a VERY important distinction. 

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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Biosolids

I've gone full plunge into the world of human waste; that manure in the first bed is Class A biosolid. My old man works at the local sewage plant so I've been able to acquire a little for the journey into this brave new world.

A few documents worth checking if you're going down this route;

Biosolid recycling in agriculture

Anglican Water Biosolid blurb and quality control

And the all important sludge matrix

EPA Q&A for our friends over the pond

It recommends a 10 month application to harvest timespan so I'm just going to play it by ear.

We're all heading there eventually anyway so I've learnt to let go of the vanity aspect. I can handle other people's shit

All the best,

Luke

P.S. Potato leaves will be composted - thanks for the heads up

P.P.S. And in other news my neighbour has just discovered 2 bee colonies in her guttering. Upon further investigation at least one of them looks to be honeybees which she is happy for me to take and put in a hive. Is there a market value for social capital? It isn't listed on the FOREX...

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Thrivalista
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Humanure: it's best to make your own

Municipal sewage sludge is far more toxic than most realize - lots of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, solvents, and other non-biological nastiness.  I'd be very reluctant to import biosludge from offsite, where I have zero control over what went into it, given all the - er, not s**t that goes down the drain.

Here's one link to get ya started: https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/sludge.php

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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More data

Hi Thrivalista,

Yep, I've seen those reports. Heavy metals and steroids I think were the main offenders.

Toxic sludge is poison!!!

Quantities, please. In what dosage and for what size of human? Are we talking new born babies or fully grown adults?

Can mother's breast feed if food is sourced from biosolids?

I don't know the answers, and I will offer full disclosure on what I produce. People can make of it what they will. But the time for being scared, cowed and indecisive is over - resources, resources, resources! Grow or extort! The mandate of Humanity!

But i agree on Humanure - get to know your own shit

For the record, only a small proportion of my diet will come from said biosolids - I need more data at this point before I go knee-deep. But consider this;

Quote:

8) What percentage of biosolids are recycled and how many farms use biosolids?

About 50% of all biosolids are being recycled to land. These biosolids are used on less than one percent of the nation's agricultural land.

Source

Quote:

Organic manures Biosolids currently represent 2% of the total organic manures applied in agriculture but are the most highly researched and regulated of all organic manures. The rest is comprised of farmyard manures (96%) and industry by-products (2%).

source

Yes, the coverage isn't overwhelming but chances are you've already joined me. 

Worth a read (especially sections 'Can biosolids be used safely?' and 'Conclusions')

Is failure still an option?

All the best,

Luke

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
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all right, let's get back to summer crops

What's everyone harvesting so far? We have been harvesting the last of the peas, the beginnings of the blackberries, more lettuce, more cabbage and kale, beet greens, fennel, jalapeno peppers, green onions, lavender, and spices. We've frozen all the remaining strawberries and mulberries, and made mulberry syrup - and pies!

Still using up from last year: Home-canned chicken stock, peaches and pears, fig jam, grape juice, and pickles and relishes. Dried foods: hot peppers, figs, green beans, mushrooms, blueberries. Frozen foods (not many of those left): last November's cabbage strips for stir-fry, green peppers, parsley in ice cube trays, and  garlic chives.

What's coming in: new figs, potted ginger,  and grapes are still tiny. Wax beans, okra, banana and bell peppers barely fruiting yet. but doing well. Tomatoes, blueberries & elderberries are not yet ripe, pumpkins may need hand-pollinated despite an apiary 2 blocks away. That's worrisome: they have not "deployed" the hives to various gardeners in the county. I need to go talk to them.

What's new: sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) I got from my father-in-law's garden are already 2-ft high. I'm trying pole lima beans this year.

Disappointments: as I stated earlier we lost a peach tree to root nematodes. The olive tree died back a bit due to cold this winter. Carrot and cuke seeds must've been too old and, for the most part, did not sprout.

Next project: replace aging teepee trellises, putting in celery and sweet potatoes. Need to plant a new crop of lettuce.

***

I've done a cost-benefit analysis, and we save--NET--about $1,000 a year on produce. We know how to grow other crops, but we put in no peanuts or potatoes this year. We've experimented with them, however, and feel that it's enough that we know how, and where, they will grow

robie robinson's picture
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picked and ate my first

summer squash of the season. still no squash vine borers (my most hated pest)

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NorCal update

Wendy, your garden sounds prolific. Congrats on saving so much money while eating healthy, deepening your resilience level, and enjoying the outdoors!

Here in northern California:

  • the berries are ripening. I've already started freezing strawberries and raspberries. The native blackberries (which are everywhere) are about to arrive in force in another 1-2 weeks.
  • have had several months worth of lettuce harvests already
  • the tomato and tomatillo plants have flowered and are working on their fruits
  • grapes are ripening (though my vines are exhibiting signs of K deficiency, which is retarding cluster development)
  • the cucurbits are beginning to vine out
  • the apple trees are producing nicely. The earliest variety, Gravenstein, should be ripe for picking within the next 3 weeks
  • onions, potatoes and garlic seem to be doing very well (won't harvest for 1-2 months)
  • the corn has been a disappointment. Again, it's stalling out at a stunted height. This will be the third year -- can't seem to figure out the reason (maybe K deficiency again? Though I've babied them this year with topsoil updates and compost tea). 
  • even bigger disappointment is that I just discovered one of my bee hives swarmed off. Oh well. Still have 3 active hives left. Hope they decide to stay...
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sand_puppy
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California Drought: How are gardeners adapting?

I would love to hear how you Californian's are working with the water shortages.  Have you changed gardening techniques?  Drip irrigation? Gardening in cement troughs filled with soil?

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It's not a "California Drought"

It's a west coast of North America drought, for clarity.  Mexico through Alaska.

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Upstate NY

We've had good rain the past two weeks.  That's helped a lot.

Fruit:

  • strawberries coming on strong.  Chipmunks and a catbird are nibbling some of them.  We've seen the baby catbirds in the nest, so the kids say "No netting daddy!".
  • Mulberries are ripening - lots of them too.
  • Plums set really well, apples OK - and we'll get our first few pears if all goes well.

Greens: eating lots of lettuce, bok choy (all gone now), chinese cabbage, kale.  Giving some away because we have so much.  My strategy of leaving dandelions in the garden anywhere where they don't interfere too much is working well.  With a taproot, they feed mainly on deep soil moisture and nutrients.  They only really interfere with other plants if the plants are low enough to be shaded by them.  The garden dandelions taste much better and grow much bigger than the ones in the lawn.  Plus any uneaten leaves , flower stalks etc. rot in the fall and redeposit on the surface the deep minerals sucked up by the taproot!

Tomatoes: growing well, small fruits now.

Peppers and eggplants: growing slowly - we'll see.

Beets and chard - growing well, but they've got some of that leaf damage that results in brown spots.

Carrots - growing well.

Chestnuts and pawpaws - planted some small ones down the hill.  Put down cardboard and topped with wood chips in a 6'x6' square around each 12" sapling.  Put them in tree tubes or hardware cloth.  Ordered 5 trees total, got 7.  5 are doing well, 2 probably won't make it.

 

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Wescoast gardening

Those on the west coast always have to irrigate their gardens. What many people don't know is that even in the pacific northwest there is often no measurable rain for 90 days in the summer (non-drought years too).  The big problem with the west coast right now is the lack of snowpack.  It was a warm winter.  My hometown in SE Alaska had the same mountain snow level this March as what is usually seen in August!  First time my parents have seen that since they moved there 40 years ago!

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
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today's small harvest

That's a peck basket of banana peppers, right before I canned them. Why banana peppers? Because our annual influx of American Grasshoppers cannot stand them and the plant loves the climate. The pickled ones are great on sandwiches. I also dry and freeze these. I am well aware that electricity could go from anything to an EMP/Carrington event to war to a currency crash so freezing is really a very small part of our food preservation strategy.

Keep wood slat baskets indoors and dry and they will last a very long time.  FYI the basket is from a thrift store, as is the on of the set of dining room chairs you see that we reupholstered.

Other harvests: more lettuce than we know what to do with, a beginnings of a deluge of tomatoes, jalapenos and cabbage, beets & carrots. Lots of herbs, including oregano that wants to take over the herb bed, but most notably lavender and bee balm.

Here is what I did with some of our dried lavender and bee balm, and some Spanish moss off a neighbor's property. It smells wonderful.

Yes, I can use the lavender in everything from sachets to soaps to flavoring beverages and making Herbs de Provence. But projects like making this wreath feed the soul.

 

 

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Michael_Rudmin
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One aspect of our garden is weeds.

I don't see how to post photos, so instead... I offer my facebook post which shows the same.

Wonderful lamb's quarters. A farmer's blight, we discovered the weed, let it live, and found in it one of God's great blessings to gardeners with patience.

I pick the young spinach-like plants, strip them of their leaves, and wash the leaves. I then boil them in excess water, and drain them: that is important to remove toxic oxalic acid. Finally, I dice the cooked greens, and they are ready to use.

This time, I decided to saute: I gathered all kinds of fresh spices: raspberry leaf, unripe blueberry, oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, bee balm, chickory leaf, dill, mustard blossom. I cut the spices rough, along with four cloves garlic, 5 red cherries, and 5 yellow cherries. I sauteed them in olive oil on 2, then topped with three fresh cherry tomatos and the floral bud of oregano.

https://m.facebook.com/home.php#!/story.php?story_fbid=10153030281723831&id=774078830&refid=28&_ft_=qid.6165973716924754286%3Amf_story_key.-1959908839583812904%3AeligibleForSeeFirstBumping.&__tn__=%2As

The pictures show me holding a lamb's quarters weed, then it in the pot, then chopped like spinach, then it shows me sauteeing the vegetables. Finally, it shows the finished product.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Michael, your link does not work

Your link started with https://m.facebook.com/home, so it will send people to their own Facebook page.

To post a picture, do the following. On the toolbar above this post, and any of yours, is a picture icon (4th from the right). Click on that and it will bring up a box that labeled "Image Properties."

Image Properties has several choices. One option is to copy and paste a picture's URL but again, things from Facebook may not be visible that way. It's a good way to add a picture from an internet article, though. To do that on a PC right-click on the picture and choose copy link location. Paste that into the box and click the green "OK" button at the bottom of the Image Properties box.

Posting pictures from your PC is a little more involved, but still pretty easy. Click on the picture icon of the above toolbar and bring up the Image Properties box. Click on the blue button that says "Browse Server." That will bring up another pop-up menu box titled "File Browser" and in my case I use the Mozilla Firefox browser so your choices might be slightly different.

On the top left of the "File Browser" box there is a green arrow marked "Upload." When I click on "Upload" a small box appears that says "File" and right below it there is a button that says Upload. Click on the upload button and find the picture you want from your computer, then click the OTHER upload button at the bottom. Once it is uploaded the top of the picture will appear in the File Browser box. You're not done yet! Not until you click on the green checkmark that says "Insert into post." This will bring you back to the Image Properties box and your pic will be posted when you click OK. Like I did with this.

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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I think I understand, but don't see

Wendy, from what you describe, I SHOULD be able to post pictures; but I don't think I am able, for the reason that it loks like the mobile version doesn't have everything. Most of my posts are from my phone; but IIRC, my Iceweasel (browser)/Mint Linux also desn't show anything either.

However, linking everyone to their own facebook page is pretty funny. Sorry.

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What a Difference a Month Makes

May 29, 2015
May Garden Photo

June 29, 2015
June Garden Photo

South Central Kentucky Zone 6a
 

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
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Green Shoots Recovery!

Sunshine be upon us!

First pic is of the bed with Class A Biosolid and compost mix.

Second pic is of the bed with no Biosolid

The difference really shows up in the broccoli (top centre of both pics). Both beds average same amount of direct sunlight a day. But going forward I think food intended for cooking will be grown in Biosolids whereas salad dish produce will be grown solely in compost.

Another note is just how much room the broccoli leaves take up per vegetable. The 3 plants in the first bed are blocking the sunlight from reaching the beetroot around them.

Most of the potatoes from the second bed have been harvested and eaten (which is why it looks bare). However, peas, carrots, ginger, onions, garlic and more potatoes have been sown/planted in the space.

Flowers have been planted to encourage pollination. You may have noticed the copper tape around the beds to combat slugs.

In terms of economy I think large spread items (stuff with big leaves) can probably be potted to reserve the raised bed for both root vegetables and small profile plants such as sweet corn. 

Next project is the automated watering system. Solar panel, diaphragm pump, car battery and water butt have all arrived. Now for assembly and coding!

All the best,

Luke

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South Central Kentucky Zone 6a

Somky,

That's awesome. Can you tell us what you've planted there? (other than the obvious corn.) And how is the owl stature working as a pest repellant? I know a lot of building managers in NYC used them to scare off pigeons...

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
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blocking can be good

Hi, Luke Moffat.

You noted how much space the broccoli leaves take up and were concerned that the beets around them were getting crowded out. You can use that intentionally to block out weeds. If the beets are not huge they should transplant well with extra water the first few days. I like the idea of putting large-leafed plants around small profile things like corn - I did that with our okra since it grows on a slim stalk. Try starting big things in pots and transplanting them into areas immediately after a bald spot in the garden shows up due to harvesting.

You were smart to add flowers to encourage pollination. I've always have one small raised bed just for that reason (we have 18 raised beds all over the yard and they will not go in the same picture! I hear copper around the beds gets rid of slugs - is it true in your experience?

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Adam, your garden rocks!

I really want to try the tomatillo - you inspired me.  I understand the husk keeps the birds off them.

For what it's worth, we stopped a potassium deficiency in our soil by actively composting kitchen scraps.

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What's Growin on!

Cucumbers cv 'Tasty Green" on trellis.   They pull double duty in hot days of summer..

Had moth caterpillars growing in Junes fruits, and some have imperfect pollinating but in full swing now that Solstice has passed.

 What to do with so many cukes???

The ugly ones get two lives- first they are either shredded - or sliced , placed in quart jars with muddled spear mint, covered with water and chilled for a day or two.  The resulting elixer is double cooling thanks to natural elements in both plants..    Try this simple hot day "tea" on your friends without telling them what is in it.  they will be shocked.  Of course to look pretty one should garnish with a cuke slice and mint leaf but the first time, have you guests close their eyes and guess.

You can add a teaspoon of honey if you really like a little sweet.

After the liquid is all gone,  then the cukes have their next incarnation:

The cold water bath essentially is a traditional way to crisp cukes for pickling!

the shredded ones become Tzatziki

​the slices become EASY to make refrigerator pickles.  
 

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midsummer garden

Those groans of pleasure you heard in the distance was my husband and I sharing the sun-warmed very first fruit off of our 3-year-old Carolina Red apple tree.

Here is what we picked as we needed it today, not counting the blueberries and lettuce we already ate, not counting the jalapenos I just canned, and not counting the wild blackberries.

Note the bad patch on the smaller tomato. That was the start of blossom end rot, so we supplemented the soil around the tomato plants with calcium nitrate. Per Mother Earth news,  as an emergency treatment you can also use a Tums (calcium carbonate) tablet in the soil at the base of the plant right before you water or it rains. The soil pH--this makes the calcium "available"--was not a problem for us since we'd tested and amended the soil.  And here come the grapes.

Our immature bronze muscadine grapes.

Muscadines grow wild around here, so they have no pests. We have them and concord grapes along two fences and a skinny arbor fills the space between the driveway and the neighbor's yard. We planted red clover underneath it to hold the 45-degree slope in place. They come in bronze and black, and FWIW the bronze ones are more vigorous.You get bigger grapes, of course, if you water them while they are fruiting, This type of grape has seeds, and the hulls/skins are not very tasty but I have a wonderful recipe for grape hull pie. I have a cone strainer and pestle set to juice them and other things like mulberries, elderberries, and blackberries. It's a great tool and I highly recommend it. Homemade concord grape jam is amazing, better than Welch's brand in the store. You'll laugh at how we prune the grape vines on the fences every fall: for now, with a chainsaw.

Clemson Spineless okra & Blue Lake green beans

We interplanted okra and bush green beans this year. The okra will fruit all summer but the bush green beans will finish just in time to start harvesting the pole beans. I'll put the bush wax beans I've started indoors under the okra when the bush green beans are done. Pine straw mulch keeps these plants from drying out in our hot summers here in SC, and keeps the weeds to a minimum. I'm still trying to find an heirloom okra I like. Note that the raised bed is made of bug-proof cedar log end-cuts with the bark still on them from a local lumber mill.

Banana peppers/Kentucky Wonder green bean trellis in background

Here are some of our ridiculously prolific banana peppers. Behind them is the nice, tough volleyball netting we use for trellising. The Kentucky Wonder pole green beans are flowering and should start fruiting soon. Pine straw mulch again keeps these plants moist.

Front yard figs

We are about to drown in figs again. The bush is 10 ft by 10 ft and should produce over a bushel. The fruits get a little over 2" long by 1" wide with a purple exterior and a pink starburst center shading to yellow. Great fresh they are even better dried and served on a salad with goat cheese and nuts. And of course, our favorite treat: home canned fig/lemon/walnut jam. 

Volunteer pumpkin

Last but not least we had pumpkins sprout from the autumn pumpkin we composted. Here is the first one. I have more photos but this is long enough. We had a chicken vegetable soup the other day that contained home-grown okra, green beans, carrots, onions, peppers, cabbage, home grown spices, and the tender stalks of black seeded Simpson lettuce. We added home dehydrated mushrooms and home-canned chicken broth. The only things not from our garden or skill were the store-bought chicken and black pepper. Today it was tacos with garden tomatoes, jalapenos and lettuce.

At the moment we don't have to feed ourselves exclusively from our garden, but for now it keeps the cost of produce down and is much more nutritious. With only 1/3 acre we grow to supplement to not to supply; but we live in farm country and can get the rest and have skills to trade. And we continue to put more land into use: this weekend we are finally getting some fresh oak logs for our shiitake mushroom plugs.

 

 

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khuber
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West Coast Drought

Chile, South America is into its 5th year of drought.

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Sweet potato woes

Who said gardening or farming is fun or easy?

Last month I planted 500 sweet potato slips in my big garden in hopes of having a storage crop for winter. Shortly after the slips leafed out I noticed some nibbling on the tender leaves. My garden patch has an 8' high deer fence and 2' of 1" chicken wire at the bottom dug into the ground and buried to deter rabbits or burrowing pests. So...what was eating my plants? Saw a friend at church who has a small vineyard and had the idea of trying the netting that they put over the grape rows when the grapes start turning color. He gave me a drop off a roll and I laid it over the plants with some success. Bought some more mesh and covered all the rows, but something pulled the mesh back and started eating leaves again. 

We borrowed a game camera that takes motion activated infrared pictures and saw a coon and porcupine cruising the garden at 4:52 am. They are both climbers ......so we put a hot wire all the way around the garden at 1' off the ground and set a trap  for the porcupine with catnip outside the garden. So far no critters in the have-a-heart trap but the hot wire seems to be working. 

I just hope the plants can recover enough to start a new cycle. 

robie robinson's picture
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sweet potatoes are resilient

had 'em eaten off by deer repeatedly, in the same year, such were they eaten that not one vine overlapped the row as is common. dug 'em in sept. and still had a good crop.

robie,master gardener )

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OOG

my goings on about "settleing the mare" are in fact. after your visit, you got me thinking, i purchased a team Suffolk Punch drafts (full siblings). Kelsey has been settled due in spring. they're 16.3 and 17 hands and approx 2000lbs with 29" collars.

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robie robinson
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don't forget, OOG

about the winter squash, esp the butternut varieties, waltham etc. their nutritional profile is similar to sweet potatoes, they seed save excellently, store just as well, and, as important, are less attractive to critters...

horse post...we added 48' to the milk parler for their stable. bet your big gelding would work well in harness

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Butternut Squash

Robie, thanks for that tip about butternut squash.  I tries growing sweet potatoes before, but I think I'm too far north (zone 4 or 5); they didn't grow well (very small).  But I bet I'd have better luck with butternut squash!

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
yeah, Zone 5 is too far north

Sweet potatoes were never a good crop in Zone 5 for me. Regular white potatoes, now that was another story.

It's been a treat to grow sweet potatoes and peanuts but there are things i miss from up north. You can grow sweet cherries, for example, and lots more different varieties of apples.

jeff.oconnor's picture
jeff.oconnor
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 18 2015
Posts: 5
Human Waste

I believe that I read some where that human waste is dangerous from human pathogens in the "leftovers". I would be very diligent getting an expert opinion on the matter.

robshepler's picture
robshepler
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 16 2010
Posts: 108
Plastic mulch

We are growing sweet potatoes under plastic mulch in 6a it works great! Not a sustainable method, but my wife gets her sweets.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
plastic mulch not for all climates.

Problem with that is where I live it routinely is so hot the plastic fries the roots underneath. Good technique for our cooler early spring and late winter here in SC. But that's maybe two weeks on either end of our true winter

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 578
Butternut Squash

Planted 25 butternut squash plants and just harvested 105 mature squash and stuck them in the root cellar. Probably planted too early this year, but it was a fantastic crop. I let the vines remain and they are putting on some more fruit. Might sneak in another crop before first frost (November 15  + or -.)

Let me know how the draft horse thing works out......

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 25 2014
Posts: 377
Copper Tape
Wendy S. Delmater wrote:

Hi, Luke Moffat.

You were smart to add flowers to encourage pollination. I've always have one small raised bed just for that reason (we have 18 raised beds all over the yard and they will not go in the same picture! I hear copper around the beds gets rid of slugs - is it true in your experience?

Hi Wendy,

The anti-slug copper tape has been up for 4 weeks and i am extremely pleased with the results - the slugs in my garden simply won't cross over the tape. For three weeks i was slug free until the grass around the beds grew and covered the tape allowing the slugs safe passage. So i just improved my general maintenance and trimmed the offending grass. The slugs now target my unprotected pots but these are generally easier to spot.

All the best,

Luke

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 25 2014
Posts: 377
Update - Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce!

Apologies for the lack of photos. I've been harvesting but not snapping. However, I did try something new at the weekend; Thai sweet chilli sauce! I had an abundance of peppers so had a go. It could have done with corn starch instead of corn meal (for achieving the correct consistency) but I'm still learning. One minor revelation - it contains tons of sugar (Arthur, look away now). On a resilience note, garlic, corn and chillies I can grow myself - sugar is another story.

The finished product - feedback has been somewhat positive;

All the best,

Luke

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2244
Way to go, Luke!

I think it was Ferfal, in his writings of the economic collapse in Argentina, who said how important it was to have items like gravy and bullion and such just to add flavor to foodstuff and make it more palatable.  I have to believe your sweet chili sauce would be a good flavoring agent!  Maybe you could use maple syrup or honey in place of sugar?

Luke Moffat's picture
Luke Moffat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 25 2014
Posts: 377
Hi Pinecarr, That's an

Hi Pinecarr,

That's an excellent suggestion. I'm trying to cut a lot of sugar out of my diet (that's what really drove me into cooking meals from scratch - i wanted to understand and monitor what went into them). I like the idea of honey as that'll help with the consistency too. The sauce itself was actually very good and surprisingly easy to make.

All the best,

Luke

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