Skip to comments.WEEKLY GARDEN THREAD VOLUME 31, AUGUST 1, 2014
Posted on 08/01/2014 12:20:34 PM PDT by greeneyes
The Weekly Gardening Thread is a weekly gathering of folks that love soil, seeds and plants of all kinds. From complete newbies that are looking to start that first potted plant, to gardeners with some acreage, to Master Gardener level and beyond, we would love to hear from you. This thread is non-political, although you will find that most here are conservative folks.
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Eighty two today and in the 60s at night is quite welcome, but unusual. We have plenty of water to last the rest of the growing season, I think.
Cukes, squash, beets, and maters are growing like gangbusters, and adorning every available cabinet space, and boxes on chairs. Got to get with it and do some processing.
I am feeling so much better. Thanks to all for your best wishes and prayers. Feeling lots better, just not as much get up and go. I think I need to eat some yogurt, to get back good bacteria balance.LOL
Have a great weekend. God Bless.
Pinging the List.
Woodchucks feasting on the leaves of many veggies.
I probably took the tomato pruning too far this year...live and learn......the few we’ll have will be big and juicy.
Unseasonably cool here in Southern NH.
North Central Texas here. Having a relatively cool summer so far - thank God!! - although the drought continues. Still many inches behind on rain for the year, and still haven’t made up for deficits in the past several years.
I have a question for fruit tree experts. I have a very old pear tree that came with the property, but I can’t identify the variety. For whatever reason, it has gone gangbusters this year with little or no care (I remain completely organic and never use chemical pesticides or fertilizers - more out of laziness than principle) and the tree is loaded with very large, quality fruit for the first time in years. I’ve done a little research and have narrowed it to either an Anjou variety or Bartlett, though I lean toward Anjou. Any more fine-tuning tips for identifying?
Oh, and I DID prune pretty radically for the first time this year, so maybe that played into the performance. Just rogue lower branches and suckers, but it took off about 15% of the tree’s limbs.
Also, I have been trying to become an expert on when to pick, how to ripen and how to store. The only respectable resource I’ve found is from the U. of Oregon, but wanted something more specific to Texas. Any reference or help would be appreciated.
We’re getting a bit of badly needed rainfall here in Central Missouri this afternoon.
I can’t pick and preserve as fast as things are growing right now. That is a good problem to have.
I’m taking off a bit early from work today so I can go in town and fetch Mrs. Augie’s new Kubota zero-turn mowing machine. Tomorrow is mvi on my truck and new tires on the horse trailer. In between all of that we’ll be salvaging barn lumber and trying to get some more canning done.
I sure do hope I get to sleep when I’m dead...
Every year brings me a new lesson.LOL
I have been harvesting San Marzano tomatoes and others over the last few weeks. Canning most, roasting a few and making some good pasta sauces with some. My garden is still producing but not as prolific as in years past, but I am grateful to just have a small garden.
I'm glad to hear that you're on the mend!
We are struggling with our fruit trees not doing much. No fruits any bigger than a pea. Thinking that the drought followed by extra hard winter may be our reason.
I too, need tips, so I hope someone has some.LOL
No rain here, and I haven’t heard the weather reports today.
At least it’s not so hot this year, so canning some pickles will be a lot more pleasant than usual.
My gardens are small, and I never got them all planted this year. Lots of seeds didn’t sprout, and I decided to just let a couple lie fallow with cardboard on them.
Hauling water every day during the summer gets old. I need to figure out a gravity system like hubby has.LOL
Tomatoes don’t do much when the weather gets into the fifties. You might need to cover them with row covers at night or something to give just a little extra heat.
Hi Green Eyes!
I wish i could share some of my tropical monsoons with my fellow FReeper gardeners!
That would help. Pinching them back might help, too.
Many could use some of that moisture to be sure.LOL
Worth a try I guess.
So glad to hear you are on the mend. Rain was predicted here yesterday, but not one drop fell, and now the chances are gone until the end of next week.
I’ve be pruning things, started fall tomato plants. Have some volunteer swiss chard up, and have been looking through seeds to plant for fall. Luckily, the moon dates for above ground cropas are next Sunday & Monday, August 3rd & 4th, so I can procrastinate a few more days.
For Texas Gardeners:
It’s usually warm here until mid-October, so it’s not hopeless, but this season has been weird.
I am really into procrastination even more than usual right now.LOL
Weird all over it seems to me. At least we are getting a decent crop here this time.
Lovely, soft, steady rain today ..... just at a 1/2” in the rain gauge since this morning. There’s more in the forecast over the weekend - we need it. The garden is obviously happy today. :-)
We are having a nice rain all day today. For the last couple of days I was thinking, “got to water the flower garden today,” but I’ve been feeling crummy all week so day after day I’ve neglected the garden. Today, God took care of it for me.
We are having unseasonably cool weather here in NC. It’s the coolest July I can ever remember. I bet we’ll have an early frost.
Was there an old home site where the Pear Tree is located?
Good news for sure.
That’s good. I think I am going to have to break down and water tonight when it cools off a little more.
Glad you’re feeling better; hope it stays that way!
Still in the ‘in betweens’. The cool stuff is finished, and the warm stuff has yet to start producing.
The tomatoes (mostly) survived their ordeal by hail, but weather has been much cooler than normal, so they, and most else, are rather slow this year. The beans mostly didn’t survive the beating.
The Arikara corn is about 2’ tall, stocky, and starting to push up tassels. Each one has several tillers. If it pans out, I may plant a large plot of it next year for chicken feed. The painted hill & Golden Bantam are about the same size, but are on different maturation schedules, so the three won’t cross pollinate each other.
Starting to get garlic, and we’re pleased with it this year. The Spring planted did much better than the Fall planted, in both survival and bulb size.
I came across this since last week, and put one together, sans bucket—I use a trash can instead, so don’t need a lid. Really works well for threshing the rye
“DIY Bucket Thresher for Backyard Wheat Growers”, with photos, instructions, videos and discussion at link. Most practical thing I’ve found for small plot threshing; working well on the rye. For the trash can, I used a 3’ piece of threaded shaft.
The only drawback is that you do have to remove the heads from the stems, or the straw just wraps around the shaft and stall the drill. OTOH, up to about 1’ of stem is no problem, so I don’t have to be too careful with the deheading: pair of shears on a handful at a time, on a tarp does it.
Ended up with 2 gallons of our ‘sweet’ bush cherries. They make a great jelly or syrup; and are fairly good eating out of hand, though tarter than a commercial sweet cherry. Downside is their size: just too small for a cherry pitter, so pies etc are out of the question.
The tree is on my homestead, where I live. It’s well away from the house, though. (1.4 acres)
How are the Trombettas and Cucuzzi doing? My T's are permanently wilty looking. The Cucuzzi are growing like crazy, but aren't putting on many blooms.
Thanks for the link. That works great. Hubby put his wheat between two sheets and walked on it. It worked, but not as fast as this.
His main trouble is that he harvests it and has no good place to store it so that it doesn’t get rained on. He lost part of his harvest due to rain/mold. The birds liked it though.
How are the Trombettas and Cucuzzi doing?
Both are definitely cyclical. The T that was wilting every day & looking yellowish (bottom leaves) has just finished a cycle of producing new squash - 9 of ‘em! I used 2 in stew & just peeled and cut up 7 more to make some dishes this weekend.
Have you noticed anything weird about the Trombetta juice? After cutting up a bunch, I had a ‘film’ of juice on my hands that scrubbing pretty hard didn’t really take off. It dried and cracked - could peel it off in thin sheets. I had to wash my hands a couple of times to get it all off. It was also hard to get off the cutting board, some ended up on the granite counter top & required some real elbow grease to get it off .... and it’s a total stinker to get off my peeler. I have to soak the peeler in a cup of hot water with a drop of detergent, then scrub every tiny blade multiple times to get off the T juice that is stuck on.
The cucuzza is a heart breaker. I got one nice one and have had no more. A couple weeks ago, it was all boy blooms. About two weeks ago, I got a boatload of females, but no boys were blooming, so no pollination. The last couple of days, I have both blooming (maybe 4-6 females, couple of boys) so maybe I’ll get another cucuzza before the season ends.
When you say “Spring planted” garlic, was that this Spring (2014) or last year? I have tried garlic a few times but when I’ve planted it in the Fall, nothing happened.
Any tips on what to plant in the areas that will be open once the last of the lettuce and radishes are gone but we still have some time before frost hits?
Our tomato plants are huge and all the fruit is turning red at the same time, so much for planting 5 different kinds and thinking they’d ripen alternatively. I will try sun-drying some of the smaller plum type and might process the excess (I don’t have a pressure canner so I think I have to add sour salt if I water-bath them, I haven’t ever tried before)
I cut a HUGE zucchini that was hiding under the leaves this afternoon, it’s the size of a baseball bat!
Decided to sacrifice my parsley to the black swallowtails — there are about 10 caterpillars of different sizes munching away, but we need the pollinators here badly, so they can eat it all. Next year I’ll plant some dill for them, since we don’t like that as much and they can eat it instead.
We are also getting highs in the 80’s with 60’s overnight, and just enough rain to keep the sprinklers dormant, for the most part. It’s been a really good season for our little garden, much better than last year.
One more thing about the Trombettas. I have noticed multiple bumble bees in the big yellow blooms, way down in the bottom. My brother came by & was chatting at the garden - he looked in a bloom and started laughing, said his wife had noticed blooms with as many as 4 bumble bees down in them. She took the hose & filled a couple blooms with water & the bumble bees crawled out so they’re not dead & seem ok, if sluggish. We’re not sure what is going on .... drunk on Trombetta elixir? Just taking a nap? Something else? It was not happening when the Ts first started blooming, but has picked up in the last couple of weeks.
Then do what sockmonkey suggested earlier in the season
then get a "Q-tip" and infuse it with male pollen , then place in a baggie in the refridge/freezer
until female flowers appear .
That should solve your pollination probem, along with the timeing of amele pollinators .
” That should solve your pollination probem, along with the timeing of female pollinators .”
I cleared out everything in the gound last week. I took cuttings from 7 tomatos to try to start a fall crop. It looks like 4 may survive. I also cut all the peppers and both tomato plants at ground level in my raised containers. My three peppers that were in the ground got dug up and potted. That would be 1 cayenne, 1 jalapeno, 1 chilitepin.
It sure looks different with just mater stakes in the garden now. They seem to be doing better than our maters did this year. We got exactly 0 maters. Thank you Rocky Raccoon or Mr. Crow. You just wait...
Another option is to place approximately one gallon size of heads in a burlap bag ( or sturdy pillowcase->but your wife will kill you )
and treat it like a pinata with a baseball bat, and let your emotions flow !!
Innowing : Absent a suitable wind , empty onto a sheet with a fan set on high, and blow away the chaf
Repeat as necessary !!
Can't help you with the crows, but a good dose of blood meal around your tomatoes (and peppers, if you grow those) should dissuade most raccoons from poaching. Certainly works here (full disclosure: central mtns of Panama, elev. 3000 ft, 9 degress N. Lat., and, yes, we do have raccoons...well, I don't any more, heh, heh, heh...). Some of the locals also mix dog poop into their compost to discourage critters. No info on results with this technque.
One year I grew rye ,sychethed it, shocked it,threshed it by hand, all by hand .
I later used it to make rye bread.
I was never so happy to have paid $1.25 then for a loaf of rye bread , as I now knew what went into it manually.
Thanks for the blood meal suggestion.
On the crows, I think I will remove a screen from the window, and address them with a pellet gun.
The reason I asked is that when I was a boy, in the 40,s amd 50’s I roamed around the country side hunting and fishing, and most old homesteads had pear trees long after the houses had fallen down, or burned down. The remains of chimneys was always a good sign that a pear tree was around. Other fruit trees didn’t seem to have the staying power to survive. The fruit that fell to the ground in the fall would be very sweet, and I was always eager to find it. So were the birds and animals.
To all my fellow FRgarden lovers, I wish you love and happiness in your gardens, they really are more fun than non-gardeners could ever know!
I am sorry for your garden misfortune especially maters. Got to have some home grown ones, or else it’s just not right ya know?
I got some bacon today. We’ll have a few BLTs before the cold weather gets here. Only time I buy bacon is after we get several good maters nice and ripe.
Yes indeed, the harvest and eating is the favorite part!
I did give some thought to doing the pollinating myself a couple of days ago as I gazed sadly at my cucuzza and the idea suddenly popped up like a bloated something-or-other from the swampy depths of my aging memory banks. I’m going to take a look at what is going on with the blooms (if any are left) when the rain stops and see what I can do. Thanks!
West/South Central Wisconsin...the garlic has been harvested. Tomatoes are just pickable. Fruit trees doing great! As Joe Bastardi predicted...it is a “Garden of Eden” this year. 49 chickens have been dispatched and are canned or frozen. We had a horrible winter and a cool, beautiful summer summer so far.
I planted an “extra hardy” of nearly $20/pound seed German harneck last Fall, as that is what’s recommended for it. Most of it had not survived, nor thrived the previous year, so I used what little I had from that harvest to replant. It did do better than the previous year, but still nothing to write home about.
I planted 2 or 3 varieties of soft neck garlics this Spring, all either bought at the store, or at the organic market. They are not hardy enough to over-winter in our Zone-4/5 climate, so get planted as early as possible in the spring.
In any case, garlic is a heavy feeder, and needs P for root development, more than it does N for tops or K for flowers—not wanted. Also, it needs to be kept fairly well watered, same as onions, to maintain growth.
As for tips, I’m too new at garlic to have any, but Tubebender is a garlic grower par excellance!
As for fall planting, we only get a single short growing season, so can’t really do succession planting; however, depending how long you have until freeze—not frost—you can try any of several quick maturing cabbage family crops, especially if you can start with transplants. Also carrots can work, and stay in until the ground freezes; nothing wrong with harvesting them before full maturity if you need to. Also short season peas, usually bush types, to ensure maturity before they’re winter killed. Depending on your climate, you might also get fall spinach. Basically anything that is low number of growing days that would be planted in cool early spring weather can be used for a fall crop, if your August isn’t a real baker.
I have root knot nematodes that are killing my tomatoes. Next year, I'll probably do tomatoes in pots. I'll be covering the affected area with plastic this year, and solarizing the area to above 140F to try to kill them off without having to use chemicals.
Peanuts are doing great.
It was hit and miss on which years it produced.
Dad cut it down about 30 years ago.
I really don’t have an answer. I don’t think I have nematodes.
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