Skip to comments.Weekly Gardening Thread – 2011 (Vol. 38) September 30
Posted on 09/30/2011 5:02:33 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232
Good morning gardeners. Fall is in the air here in East Central Mississippi on this last day of September. It has been beautiful weather for cleaning up outside and taking care of the yard. Our daytime temperatures have been in the 70s with an occasional bump up into the 80s and the overnight lows are ranging from the 40s to the 60s. While I am waiting for Spring to arrive I will be occupied by continuing to hone my skills at home brewing.
If you are a gardener or you are just starting out and are in need of advice or just encouragement please feel free to join in and enjoy the friendly discussion. Our Freeper community is full of gardeners, each with varying interests and skill levels from Master Gardener to novice.
I hope all your Summer gardens did well this year and your Fall gardens prosper.
Weekly Gardening Thread
I hope all of you will stop by.
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I have got to tell you that the mosquitos in Maryland this year are beyond stupid. I can get six or seven bites by simply going to the mailbox or walking into the carport to get into the car. Needless to say, my gardening aspirations are taking a backseat. Even before our wet late Summer/early Fall rains, the mosquitos were thick. To tell you how bad they are... I spray mosquito spray on my youngest each morning before school. Poor little girl looks has bumps upon bumps due to outdoor recess. I am actually hoping for an early hard FROST to kill these things off. Anyone else experiencing such a problem?
The mosquitoes here in my part of Mississippi have not been a problem at all.
I haven’t had six or seven bites for the whole season. We are getting cold here now, and except for during Indian Summer, we are unlikely to see mosquitoes again till next June.
Years ago when we went to New Hampshire for a vacation, my husband was nearly engulfed by the things. He was COVERED in bites in the time it took him to walk from the car to the door. I don’t think I was even bitten. Something in my chemistry. I have never been bothered much by mosquitoes.
Wow! Y’all will have to set up some massive desalination plants all along your coast if this happens.
No chicken eggs yet, but the ducks continue to lay, but only a couple have been full sized.
Our five Maran pullet chicks are growing like weeds. I believe I told you last week that Barb moved them to a large pen in the dining room. She had them out on the deck one day this week. Once she took the dark cover off of the pen, they seemed to enjoy it, but they are wild and we haven't handled them enough. The way they are growing, we will be able to move them adjacent to the flock and start to aclimate them.
The garden is about kaput for the year. I am going to mow down the old garden, get the tiller running and till it up, ammend the soil heavily and plant part of it for bearded irises and other bulb plants. Got a couple packs of rizones at Sam's Club last Friday and a pack of 100 Crocus bulbs.
I also need to position that third raised bed and fill it with soil. Also, I need to make a few more raised beds, position them and then have another load of garden soil dropped off. If Jugears is re-elected next year, we will be on a subsisence economy by 2014.
It must be a maryland issue right now. I have even searched the outside of the house for any sort of standing water. The neighbors are all complaining about it as well so it isn’t something just around our place. I have never seen swarms like this during the day! (This is the only year thus far that I have hoped for really COLD weather so soon!)
That’s just awful. And here we just had that major flood. I drove around a nearby town the other day and it was sad to see. The water line was so high, I could tell many cars had to have been completely submerged.
They say that there is now a housing shortage around here because so many homes have been made uninhabitable.
Our particular little town wasn’t quite as hard hit. A few of our neighbors have piles of flood debris (basement stuff) in front of their homes - no one has any idea when it will be hauled away. Good thing we are into colder weather with all the mounds of debris everywhere, pests will love those mounds. We were very lucky in that we didn’t have a drop enter our home.
And you poor folks don’t have any water. I wish there were a way to “even up”.
As to my garden. Esssshh. I think there are some potatoes hidden in the tall weeds, and I know I have some carrots left to pull. They take forever here. I think there are some herbs left also.
I didn’t get a single head of cabbage. Just as I solved the rabbit problem, the white butterflies took over. No sauerkraut for me this year.
Turns out our “cantaloupe” were really muskmelon, and stupid us thought they went bad because of their color. LOL. But we only wound up with three anyway. Tomatoes struggled, but we managed a couple of bushels. Barely. So on and so forth. A few tiny pumpkins too.
Our state legislative reps are trying to get the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to quit releasing water for the rice farmers down near the coast. They grow two crops per year and need water for the second crop. The LCRA sells the water to them, since they helped build the lakes.
Lake Travis is at 36% or 37% of capacity. It may get lower than it has ever been since it was built. There are places we haven’t seen since the mid to late 90s. All public boat ramps are closed.
South FL Update, Got to agree with you Red. I got up this morning and it’s cool outside for the first time this fall. The A/C is not running. WOOOO HOOOOOO.... The garden will love the cooler weather and will stop wilting in the late afternoon. The plants survive but to not thrive when it get’s above 95!
It’s been raining for the better part of 2 weeks here in Wisconsin. My husband had to go back to the plant last night to finish up some work. When he came home about 11 pm, there was a tree down in our driveway. He had to hike to the house to pick up his chainsaw and attack the tree in order to get the car in. I slept through it all. I hope tomorrow is dry and a little warmer so that we can finish up the tree and other garden tasks.
My garden is done for the year. I have 2 beds emptied and 2 to go. The last of my tomatoes rotted before I could do anything with them, except give the best ones away. In fact, I gave away most of my produce this year. I’m going to cut back on what I plant next year. 10 tomato plants, rather than 14.
It’s 48 degrees and cloudy this AM.
We have had some really nice fall days here in Missouri. I have been working on garden, yard, and patio cleanup. Getting ready to plant the winter gardens.
Wheat will be planted after frost. I am setting up the raised bed for lettuce, onions, garlic, and carrots which will grow all winter under cover. Last year I had fresh lettuce all winter and spring from this.
Some of the raised beds will get a cover crop, but I have not decided which. Maybe clover or rye. Now that the heat is over, we have quite a few green tomatoes and new flowers, so I will probably be cutting off branches to bring inside sometime in the next 2 weeks.
Not the best gardening year. Mostly due to the cool rainy spring delay in planting, followed by the very hot and dry summer, but we still had a successful green bean yield and it looks like the corn will be pretty good if the weather holds. I had 1 ripe persimmon this week, so I just picked it and ate it.
Have a great weekend. God Bless.
Do you get Purple Martins up there? I grew up in a town that the local grade school Principal started a project of putting Purple Martin houses in many places around town. The farmers all got involved and also put them up. Within a few years the problem with many of the insects was eradicated.
My immediate response? "Yes! Indeed!" :-)
They are slowing down, but we are still picking tomatoes; all sweet peppers are FINALLY turning color; hot pepper plants; such as fatali, caribbean red bonnets, and mustard habaneros are LOADED!
Just scored a load of Honey Crisp apples from a local orchard, as well...they are the BEST; all other apple trees can be chopped down to make more room for Honey Crisp.
Yes. Here in New England (spit); my wife flees indoors as the sun goes down...too many skeeters. They don't bother me...I'm 'fair skinned', so they might think I'm not very healthy, or something...
Silver lining? :-)
I would take such forecasts with a grain of salt...they can't get the five-day forecast right with any degree of certainty. If they are calling for drought; I am buying life jackets and a boat.
I’m in Hampron Roads, VA and we are experiencing the same thing. Worse, we’ve had a “hatching” of little tree? frogs that have been hopping around, getting under foot. So yesterday, I was cleaning some porch chairs on our gravel driveway; I looked down to my right, casually, and had two copper heads, one after the other, slinking by...scared the c**p outta me! One was axed but the other got away (I think the frogs attracted them)...am still shaking and was when I posted on FR abt it yesterday PM...got some VERY interesting comments, many were helpful. Am off to buy “Snake Away” this PM...ah, life in the country!
Well, I think the old saying is that your wife is “sweet” and the skeeters know it. I am afraid that you have a bit more vinegar to you. LOL!!! What is so weird about these mosquitos is they are out in the sunlight and during the day. You can actually see small swarms of them.
The Eastern Shore part of the state has beautiful Purple Martin “houses”. I don’t know if I have ever seen them in my region. However, I am now wondering if it is the type of thing where “if you build it, they will come?” I am more than willing to erect one of those houses in the front and backyard. Heck... I’d put them in the side yards, too.
Been getting some nice salad out of the fall greens plot and have the best crop of beets I’ve ever had. No freeze yet so still getting cukes and tomato to put on the salad, and a few canteloupes still out there that I hope will be ready mid-October weather permitting.
Got my overwinter greens planted and they should be coming up soon. Other than that it’s prettty much letting things go a 2 or 3 more weeks then I’m going to start putting the garden to bed for the winter.
That may make even more sense...I am a cranky sourpuss, and drinking my blood might be akin to a skeeter tapping into one of those plastic lemons at the grocery store...yuk!
Okay... you just made me feel a whole lot better! Snakes are horrifying to me! I am talking about run around screaming your head off terrifying. I hope the “Snake Away” works for you. I love your area! However, I think I would be one of those crazy ladies in the neighborhood walking around with thick boots on and carrying all the time right now!!! Good luck to you and please be careful!
LOL!! Mosquitos use to leave my Dad completely alone and swarm my Mom. It used to bother her, too. Finally, Dad said that having a beer (or two) was what kept them away. Mom didn’t drink but I think it was Dad’s way of having a beer and making my Mom think it was “natural mosquito repellent”. LOL!
South FL UPDATE: New Garden Pics
You don't say? Hmmmm...
By the way, Red...how’s that “mosquito repellent” coming along? :-)
Thanks for the pics. That’s some fence you have. Otta keep the deer out.
I think garden should be fun besides productive and theraputic. Here are some pictures of my fun garden.
We’ve had wolves locally. Not quite where I live but getting closer. Recently a pack of them attacked and killed one local hunters three hunting dogs and just today I read of another article about one poised to attack a bow hunter. She felled it with 4 shots from a .44 Magnum.
Thanx, hon - it really was heart-stopping because just a minute before, they weren’t there! Then they were less than two feet away and if I hadn’t seen them when I did....eeek!
I live on 3.25 acres with a run-off on one side of the property and a stream at the back, pretty far away. I never go into the woods in warm weather and always wear thick jeans and boots when I do. This is the first time in 6 yrs we’ve seen copper heads - black snakes, yes, and they’re more afraid of you - but copper heads (as a kind freeper told me) just “freeze” so you don’t know if they’re going to strike or what...creepy. Alongwith “Snake Away”, I’m getting a shot gun - an axe handle length away from a copper head is too close - better to blow them away!
I agree with that. Same goes for gore bull warming. Here is a slide show of the Texas drought. Slides advance automatically.
I had a problem with some vermin digging up the dead fish I put under the hills in the garden. They are no longer with us... My dog tells me when they are out there and I shoot them.. Hard to shoot a gun at night with a scope..
It is going great! I have had a couple of the first one I brewed up and bottled. The Canadian Blonde. I now know what a green beer tastes like! LOL. They get much better after aging in the bottles for a month or more. My Irish stout still has about another week in it’s second stage fermenter before bottling. And I have a Cream Ale that is one week into it’s first fermentation. Next up is a Belgian Trappist Ale after the Cream Ale. Then I am going to brew up a Taddy Porter Ale. Life is good!
Patience is a virtue. Oh, well...it is clear that your winter will be much more enjoyable than ours...
Yes it is! I remember well that we didnt see that many until everybody started putting up Martin houses. Then they were everywhere. Do some research though. Martins a picky on where they will live. They like Condos high in the air. They are fun to watch also.
How do you do that? What do you mean by "cover"? How much snow do you get; for how long?
I have barn swallows which are just as good as purple martins. In fact, the fact that I have barn swallows may be the very reason that the purple martins refuse to colonize here.
My research indicates that purple martins require a clean, apartment style bird house, or a series of hollow gourds hung on a pole. The bird house is mounted on a sliding pole that can be raised and lowered. The bird house has removable floors so that it can be cleaned out each winter. You should take the bird house down over the winter, or (at least) remove the floors in the compartments. Then, you have to watch for the "scout" martin in the spring. You immediately hoist the clean bird house up a pole (with the floors re-installed) and hope the "scout" bird spots it. He will then bring the rest of the flock back to move in. The trick is to get the martins in before sparrows move in. The two species will not live together.
I can't vouch for these instructions because they never worked for me. In contrast, you only have to leave your barn door open, or a window, to attract barn swallows; and supply open space to fly and a lot of insects for them to catch. They leave in the fall as quickly as they appeared in the spring. That's why barn swallows are easier!
Martins do want a water source but what we and others did was put out stock tanks filled with water or large bird baths. They dont need a lake or a river just a source of water and it should be large enough for the number of birds. Several bird baths also worked. I know the town where I grew up and this was started had no body of water for many miles.
Yeah, they said the same thing about California’s drought in 1976-77.
“it’ll take years to fill the reservoirs”, they said
El Nino kicked in and the reservoirs were releasing excess water in 6 weeks.
If they tell you decades of drought...prepare for a flood.
Have you sampled the first batch yet? How is/was it?
You have to remember to keep your garage door closed when they are colonizing. They can build a nest in an afternoon, and then you can’t close the door again until the eggs are hatched and out of the nest. And the following year, the same birds come back and rebuild.
That was our problem when we first moved here. The previous owner used to leave here garage open. But, we love our barn swallows.
Same thing happened here a few years ago. All the lakes were low and a rain bomb hit Marble Falls. Over 25” of rain in 24 hours with 15” falling in a three hour period.
Yes I tasted/drank a bottle at one week intervals. The first week was a bomb - why my comment on green beer. The second week the carbonation was up but still had a slightly green flavor kind of like a green apple. The third week, this past Wed, the carbonation was really good - nice full head and lots of small rising bubbles and drinkable, finally tasted a like a beer. I think it needs at least one more week. I am brewing Ales so I expect them to taste like an Ale not a lager like a Bud. Ales are easier to home-brew than a Lager.
Two years ago I went to the Home Depot and bought myself a little “blackberry” bush to plant. Now the bush has overtaken my raspberries and is even threatening my horseradish crop. The bad part is the blackberry bush hasn’t produced one blackberry but produces thorns that even a leather glove can’t protect against. Does anyone have any ideas on why it isn’t producing? Do you have to have at least two different plants to cross pollinate?
Not an expert on Blackberries but it is my understanding that almost all varieties are self-fruitful, meaning that you need to plant only one type of plant. It can take up to 3 years before they produce fruit.
We sometimes get snow in November or December, but the really bad months are January and February, so I have to keep an eye on the weather. I planted cold tolerant lettuce(winter marvel and miners lettuce).
I had row covers that would give protection down to 28 degrees and let in 85% of the sun. The back of the raised beds has a retaining wall, and I painted milk jugs black and filled them with water both of these capture the sun heat during the day, and release it at night.
Water also releases heat when it freezes.
I had about 15” tall of cheap fence around 3 sides to keep the cover off the plants. As the weather got colder, I put straw on top of the cover. During nice spells, I would roll the cover back and let it sit on top of the milk jugs during the day and unroll the cover at night to protect the plants.
When hard freezing weather, snow and sleet came, I covered it with an old Styrofoam egg-crate mattress about 1/2 inch thick. It was covered for almost 2 months, before I removed the mattress.
We did have a few days during those months that were cold, but not freezing. We did have several weeks of snow on the ground that did not melt totally, but the patio next to the retaining wall does melt sometimes, if the sun is out.
Lettuce will germinate between 40-80 degrees, and will continue to grow (very slowly) at a minimum temperature of 35 degrees. So I had decent salads off and on during the winter-Lettuce and green onions from the outside winter garden, and tomatoes and spinach from pots inside the house.
Not much to report, most of the garden survived the frost. The green beans are going to seed, lots and lots of seed! It’s an heirloom variety so this is a good thing. The raspberries don’t seem to have noticed the change in seasons, they’re still producing nicely. My strawberries are covered in blossoms and unripe fruit, but haven’t been ripening. I think they’d make great greenhouse berries when I get my greenhouse built. The tomato cuttings I planted indoors seem to be rooting nicely, that’ll make next year’s planting a bit easier.
My health has taken a downturn, what I thought was larygitis is turning out to be a serious throat problem. I haven’t been able to talk for a month, and a week ago I wound up in the ER because my throat tried to swell shut on me! I’m on meds to keep the swelling down, but nobody seems to know what’s causing it to swell in the first place. Theories range from a viral infection to a pulled neck muscle to a pinched laryngeal nerve. God is keeping watch even with all of that, I found out yesterday that my supervisor put her own career on the line to defend her decision to keep me on her team, even though I haven’t been able to work for a month! She’s trying to find things I could do without needing to be on the phones, but those tasks can be hard to find in a call center.
It’ll be great in another 2 weeks
Yep! I think the only time she couldn’t see the idea was in the WINTER. Seems Mom could be fooled by the Spring through Fall beer indulging. He lost at “you have to build the beer up in your system during the Winter months, too” story. It was a definite “A” for effort moment but “F” for delivery!!!