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rainbowgardener
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winter garden and what to do next year

Well it's officially winter here... by that I mean that the last cold weather crops lettuce and swiss chard have bitten the dust with all the hard freezes we've had. The rosemary and basil I brought in to try to overwinter in the house promptly mostly died. They were still clinging precariously to life with a few tiny green leaves. But I had to make room for the Christmas tree in front of the biggest window, so they went out on the deck to finish dying fast.

The house is all decorated for Christmas and I'm (of course! :) ) thinking about next year's garden. I've been reading the Sticky on Aerated Compost Tea and thinking about whether I should try that next year. I'm still a bit daunted by the bucket and pump thing. But when I think about what happened in this years garden there were three things that mainly set the garden back:

The biggest was when the raccoons got the deer netting untied in peak tomato season and got in and not only ate a bunch of tomatoes but romped around and broke a bunch of branches. GRR!! Slowed the tomato production back a bunch, just when they would have been doing well. Also about the same time (maybe related, could the raccoons carry plant diseases? or maybe just because the broken stems were vulnerable?) the tomatoes got some kind of blight. I did get it controlled with the milk treatment and pruning, so they did well later in the season, but again lost some of the most productive time. The third was that the squash vine borers got my zucchini plants (as usual) so they were a total loss.

If I can find ways to keep these things from happening, it will make more difference in my garden productivity than any fertility I can add. Really got to figure out that zucchini root borer thing....

petalfuzz
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I haven't had the chance to try it, but Amy Goldman puts strips of foil around the stem of the zucchini/squash plants. Covers about 3" from soil level. Worth a try against the borers!

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applestar
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Rainbowgardener, I STILL can't get over that the raccoons untwisted the twist ties to get in. :lol: I think you need to watch Over the Hedge. :wink: As for me, I'm eye'ing my back fence, thinking about how to deter that groundHOG.

Too bad about your rosemary and basil. Mine are doing OK. Rosemary plants are being watered every morning from below with 1/2 cup or less of filtered water and from above with another 1/2 cup or more, and are thoroughly misted. They're draped over with the curtain every evening to stay between the fabric and the windows in the trapped cold air. Basil plants are surrounded by other plants in locations where there are NO CHANCE of draft from windows or doors. One of them has an onion-bottom co-habiting the pot, and the greens have grown to about 6" now, ready for the first cutting. :cool:

The Jalapeno plant has 2 last red fruits plus a green surprise that developed AFTER being brought inside. I'm wondering if they're self pollinating. There are 2 more white flowers and a 3rd bud. I'm curious to see if they'll develop as well. And the Quadrato d'Asti Giallo (yellow sweet bell pepper) that I brought inside is starting to form buds. I wasn't expecting it to stay alive (actually the Jalapeno is looking worse with yellowed and spotty leaves) so this will be interesting -- fighting aphids on that one though.

That aluminum foil trick is an interesting idea, petalfuzz, I might try that for the zucchini and squash next year too. They did NOT do very well at all for me this year. :?

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rainbowgardener
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You are right, marlin, can't wait that long. But I will try the foil suggestion. Also floating row cover is supposed to exclude them, but then you have to hand pollinate. I might combine that with your suggestion.... keep them under the row cover until mid summer and then remove it, hoping that the root borer moths will be gone.

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rainbowgardener
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still eating from the garden!

Dinner last night was my garden grown bell peppers, which I stuffed and then froze. Defrosted last night for supper. Turned out really good. The sweet bell peppers were actually sweeter than when fresh. To go with it had salad (store bought :( ) and boiled new potatoes, which are still left from the local organic CSA farm, have been in storage since we quit getting any more CSA veggies.

Couple nights ago was my frozen pesto from garden basil, defrosted and put over pasta, with sliced windowsill ripened tomatoes on top. The tomatoes were still good, but that was the very last of them. Still they lasted into December. So I managed to have homegrown tomatoes from sometime in June to the beginning of December. I think that's as good as it gets here in Cincinnati! ...

I have maybe ten or a dozen more meals in the freezer and then there will be nothing left of the garden except some dried herbs and memories!

Snow yesterday and today!

treeguy
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: ohio

critters

dogs work wonderfuly for keeping every thing out if not maybe a solar electric fence about 6-10" off the ground. I use the dog method and most of the time she is inside.
My central oh garden is done but for the carrots and few potatoes I havent dug up yet still working on drying seed for next spring cant wait already :D its goin to be a long winter.

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rainbowgardener
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Long winter, but only about a month now until I start the first seeds under lights in the basement! I love it... gives me my gardening fix between Jan and spring.

treeguy
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Location: ohio

winter

I started tomatoes jan 1 last year they got tall and spindly but I had the first real tomatoes :o little comp we have at work 8) had to pollinate by hand bees /bugs were still sleepin zone 6 frost date may 15

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rainbowgardener
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I'm in Ohio too, zone 6b. When I said I started some seeds mid Jan, I didn't mean tomatoes. I start my tomato seeds about Valentine's day, because of the problem you were talking about. I don't have a heated greenhouse or anywhere to put big tomato plants before they can go outside. In front of windows they do get too tall and leggy. Starting them in mid-Feb, I still am the first one on the block with ripe tomatoes (in June).

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