April 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm #48346
I couldn’t find the old gardening thread and so am starting a new one.
This weekend I took the straw off of the rhubarb and strawberries on the assumption there won’t be another cold snap. They don’t care about moderate frosts and I’m thinking that’s all we’ll have going forward. I got the shade cloth on the greenhouse and have started my seeds.
The week before last it did go down to about zero one night but it is too early to know what damage it did. It was a record setting mild winter (following two record setting cold winters) and things were budding out early. Early spring flowers that come up as soon as the ground thaws (daffodils, tulips, and irises for example) are tolerant of normal frosts but going down to zero killed off much of what was above ground. We’ll see within a month or so if the fruit trees were damaged. My seed potatoes come from Northern Vermont and I had gotten an email from them saying they were delaying shipment on account of that brief cold snap so as to make sure they’re not damaged in shipment.
I don’t sugar but it was a good season for those that do given a prolonged season (above freezing during the day, below at night).April 17, 2016 at 10:07 pm #48349
We’re just getting started for the year, and way behind where we should be. But we at least got some seed potatoes in. Baking potatoes just don’t do well in our gardens, for some reason, but we’ve had wonderful success with sweet potatoes. This year we’re trying both some white sweet potatoes as well as a pinkish variety (can’t recall the name of them – got them off the organic shelf in a local market a couple of months ago and waited to see if they’d sprout as they should – and did.
We may be reconfiguring a significant portion of our gardens, downsizing a bit, but also trying to do more intensive gardening somewhat in the way of square-foot gardening (just two of us left).April 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm #48353
Thanks for starting the new thread. So far I’m feeling pretty good about my garden. Three weeks ago I cultivated and made furrows for seeds. I put in about 25′ of potatoes, leaf lettuce, head lettuce, suger snap peas, carrots spinach and I risked 2 tomato plants. Of course it got cold and snowed April 7th killing the tomatoes. It looks like everything sprouted (with the exception of the potatoes), I’m confident they will show soon, it takes awhile to grow through 4-5″ of soil.
Yesterday I cultivated again in an attempt to keep the weeds out. I put in sweet corn mixed with butternut squash, green beans, peas, red bell peppers, tomatoes and beets. Tomorrow I have to water the plants that have sprouted or I think I lose them all. Looks like no rain for another 5 days.June 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm #48994
My potato plants are doing well. A few days ago I planted another row about 50′ long. I have volunteers coming up in the garden where I had them planted last year. They have small new potatoes of edible size, I figure my first planting of potatoes of this season must have edible size tubers as well. My crop from last year is shriveled and covered with root growth but they are not rotten and could be eaten, so They made it the full cycle. I have a yearly sustainable crop.June 5, 2016 at 8:27 pm #49002
I finished putting my garden in yesterday. It had just gotten rototilled last Sunday and then it took me all week to get it put together. It was a mostly cold spring and lot of flowers bloomed late, and lost of gardens around here were late going in. Nature has a way of catching up though. We had a brief hot spell about a week ago that seemed to really get everything growing. Beans that I seeded last Sunday have sprouted already.
It has also been a very dry spring. There’s a good soaking rain today which I am grateful for as I’m already tired of watering plants that I had started in the greenhouse and then planted.
As usual I am running a couple experiments from which I will learn whether they succeed or not. Last year was the 1st year of my new very large garden (75’X170′) which was a disaster as the weeds got ahead of me to the point I just gave up. Some stuff grew well regardless though. This year I’ve put down a good quality reusable weed fabric that’ll reduce what needs weeding by about 80%. I saved some potatoes from last year and planted both them and new seed potatoes that I bought. I’ll see if there is a difference in yield. More or less I’ve got some of seemingly everything out there. Haven’t decided what I’ll can vs just give away. Last year the deer seemed to ignore that awful smelling stuff I sprayed with but I’m thinking maybe I wasn’t diligent enough in my spraying. I am trying a different brand this year plus I ringed the garden with strands of fishing line that I was told might keep them out as they won’t like bumping into it. We’ll see. Even if it keeps the deer out, it won’t keep the bear out, but the bear mostly just took the corn whereas the deer had a much wider appetite. The bear can trample a lot as he walks through though so I have the corn along one of the edges. Somebody already ate a couple of my cuke plants. Not sure who that’d of been. I’ve got a much better trellis netting system this year for the pole beans and metal posts which are sturdier than the wood ones I used last year. The beans were so abundant that the weight of them started to pull the whole thing down last year. One experiment I am trying is with carrots. I did one row planted in the normal way which will require thinning and another where I painstakingly tried to put fewer seeds so as to not need to thin. That is easier said than done with such small seeds. Because it doesn’t matter if I waste space or not in a garden that big, just to see what happens I replanted some small onions that I saved from last year. They were too small to bother with for eating so I had cut off the tops, put them in a plastic bag and kept them in an extra refrigerator that we had in the basement. The cut tops were still green. I otherwise have new plants that I started from seed.
For those with the typical small household gardens (like I always had myself), about the only thing they have in common with very large gardens such as I have now is the word garden. Big gardens are very labor intensive.June 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm #49019
I’m working on weed problems with a cultivator. I have it set up to dig a furrow in the center for planting. The right side weeds at the same time.
After the rows are planted the shovel in the center is removed and the stanchion positioned to the side using a small cultivator tooth. Then I can weed on both sides of the crop row until the plants are to high to fit under the tractor.
So far I have them under control. The garden looks empty, but I have rows newly planted that have not sprouted or newly sprouted next to my potatoes, corn and beans.June 7, 2016 at 12:52 am #49028
My weeds are mostly crabgrass which I find most problematic given how fast and thick it grows. The weed fabric I put down is not off to a good start. The 6″ staples I used to hold it down were working OK until all that rain yesterday really softened the ground up. Today I was fighting the wind getting under the weed fabric and pulling the staples out of the ground. Once the plants grow it won’t be a problem in that the plants will stop the wind at ground level, plus some of the plants will be growing on top of the fabric, but until then…..
I am leaving on vacation this Saturday for 10 days and think I’ve got to get it weighed down with rocks before I leave or it’ll be a complete disaster by time I get back.June 9, 2016 at 10:14 pm #49049
The verdict is in. That one night in April when it dropped down to about 0 degrees did a lot more damage than just killing off some Spring flowers. I have virtually no apples in my small grove (14 trees). Last year was such a bumper crop that I cut some branches out of fear the weight of the apples was going to split or pull down the trees. Of the 11 small fruit trees that I have planted these past few years (pear, plum, cherry, peach, apple, & mulberry), only the mulberry tree will bear fruit this year. It is too early to know for sure but so far my large black walnut tree isn’t looking like it will have any nuts. Last year it too had a bumper crop.
This is a reminder that in a survival situation a single weather event can destroy a lot of food. We don’t plant here until the end of May and so a cold night in April doesn’t matter, except to the fruit trees that will have started budding. A single hard frost in July or August however could destroy a year’s crops. That’s what happened in New England in 1816, the “year without a summer”.June 10, 2016 at 12:33 am #49051
Sorry you lost all that fruit. You can be pretty sure most of your neighbors and probably a huge area surrounding you suffered the same damage. I have plant damage and I’m several hundred miles south of you. Bad weather and crop failures are an excellent reason to have durable food storage. Put up your crop when you have it.June 10, 2016 at 1:36 am #49055
Apple trees are pretty common around here and others have lost their crops too this year. This won’t materially impact me being I’m not reliant upon what I grow, but it is a reminder that come SHTF that Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. Of course there are many other potential weather related events that can wreak havoc on food supplies in any part of the world. All the more reason to diversify what you are trying to produce.
I remember the 1st year I had a veggie garden at my old house. Everything grew perfectly and I was thinking this isn’t so hard. The next year a tomato blight came through and killed them, some mold got to the cukes and summer squash, and the melons I was trying to grow ran out of season before they were ripe. Fortunately the 1st good year encouraged me to keep going.June 10, 2016 at 2:39 am #49059
I have a fox living under my shed. He’s rather large and some people who have seen him think he’s a small coyote. He kills and eats rabbits. I’m hoping he wipes them out before they start the attack on the garden. As usual my wife has put up deer fencing from top to bottom using military camo poles. Even the birds are unable to penetrate it. Oddly the deer seem scarce this year. So far we’ve trapped 1 groundhog, 1 rabbit and a bunch of chipmunks. The crows spotted a cat one day and harassed it to death. Nice cat is taking care of our mice problem. Pesky crows also spotted the fox and make a terrible racket. What we really have is an animal farm with a small human gardening zone. It’s a good thing we don’t have ducks anymore. They were banned by the town, they were so good at fertilizing the lawn.June 22, 2016 at 2:23 am #49228
I have the results of another of my experiments. The corn I planted which was dated as “packed for 2011″ looks to have all sprouted. The older your seeds are the less viable, but these seem to have held up pretty good.
Now if only it would rain. I just got back last night after being away for 10 days. I lost a few things to it not having rained but most things seem to have made it through.June 22, 2016 at 4:49 am #49229
We had a strawberry moon here on the solstice. Last one was 1967. Next one won’t be until 2042. Relatively dry here too. A little rain but not enough to make a real difference. At least it’s not not like the rest of the country. Sleep temperatures are still quite comfortable. Can’t say the garden has produced much so far except some rhubarb pie and maybe a salad or two. Not really high summer yet. Just a little heat to tease us. Unlike me my wife however is on flower time. The flowers the flowers oh the flowers…… Such a romantic!July 17, 2016 at 2:23 pm #49513
I started harvesting potatoes yesterday, the plants were done for from the heat & bugs. These are from the first planting I did in late April.July 17, 2016 at 3:13 pm #49515
Looks good. My potatoes are just flowering. My garden is doing pretty good. The only problems so far is I lost some sunflowers to deer and some of the squash have been getting chomped on too. All things considered the garden is in far better shape than last year’s.
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