Urban_Garden
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I’ve heard doing the French Intensive Method allows you to plant more closely but it is also a lot of back breaking work. =/
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Ozark Lady
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I have no luck with cucurbit family, bugs eat them up big time.

I like the tulle tunnel idea of Ted's. But, I don't know if it would work for me, When I remove the tunnel to pollinate the cucurbits by hand or let the bees in there, I would also let the other bugs in there.

On a totally non-fruiting crop, where I wouldn't have to worry about pollination I can see it working. But, Ted, what will you do about pollinating them, and not letting bugs get in?

I also like the idea of a second crop in the wings, but what keeps the bugs and disease from attacking the tender young seedlings?

I don't know that it will work, but, I had cabbages near my leafy plants, and they were aphid encrusted. But, there were no aphids on the tomatoes, tobacco, or peppers. I will use cabbage as my 'catch crop' again this year. And I might well, try the tulle cage for raising some cabbage for my kitchen, and not for the bugs!
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tedln
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Urban_Garden wrote:I’ve heard doing the French Intensive Method allows you to plant more closely but it is also a lot of back breaking work. =/
Please explain the french intensive method.

I plant about 6" apart simply to insure I will have germination in a given space. I then thin out the weaker plants hopefully achieving an 18" spacing. If the plants start growing into huge plants and need more space, I remove the lower producing plants or plants showing signs of disease. If the plants have plenty of space at 18", I may still remove the lower producing plants or plants showing early signs of disease and replace them with new seed for successive planting. If plants grow really large, but stop producing, I will remove and replace them.

Ted
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tedln
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Ozark Lady,

In my experience, the pollinators, honey bees and ground bees seem to come out early in the morning. I've never noticed vine borer moths in my garden before the sun gets really hot. I simply hand pollinate before the borer moths start their day.

I designed the hoops where the cloth hanging down is attached and rolled up on a light weight board and they are held in place with two bricks. I simply remove the bricks, lay the boards over the top, do the harvesting, and pollinating. Drop the board back into position, and replace the bricks. I then go to the other side and do the same thing. No mess, no fuss.

It isn't a perfect method, and I have never tried it. I really thought about using spinosad to prevent borer damage, but if not used correctly; it can also kill the honey bees. I looked around and didn't see any at local garden supply stores and didn't want to order it. I simply decided to try this method because it is potentially less harmful. Another reason for the hoop tunnels is the fact that they can also be used for other purposes in the off season simply by replacing the netting with clear, heavy duty plastic. They are also easily removed and replaced. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that they are constructed by tying everything together with that cheap, green, plastic coated; gardening wire you purchase in little rolls.

I suppose if you tried to use them outside of raised beds, you would probably have to drive some stakes into the ground to prevent the hoops from blowing away.

I'm also using the tulle netting which has larger holes in it than regular tulle. I'm not sure the netting will stop aphids, but I will know by the end of this season. I would have preferred to use the regular tulle, but it only comes in 54" widths. I made my hoops pretty tall to easily accommodate
my large size 6'3", 240#. The netting comes in 72" widths which worked great. I did have to attach a wood strip to the top of the hoops and drape and staple the tulle to the strip for each side. Each bed required ten yards of tulle cut into two five yard pieces.

You could cut the ten foot long, 1/2" pvc into five foot lengths and make smaller hoops, pushing them into the ground over more narrow rows and a single width of regular tulle or tulle netting would fit over it.

You could also construct rectangular wooden frames of any desired width, construct the hoops; attaching the hoops to the lightweight frame. You then could simply move the hoop tunnel around as you please or flip it onto a side in order to work on the plants under it.

You could also purchase the ten foot lengths of pipe, a good supply of 1/2" pvc tees and four 1/2 pvc 90 degree elbows and cut and glue the pipe pieces to a pvc frame. You might want to make the frame out of 3/4" pvc with 3/4" to 1/2" tee reducers for the hoops.

Lots of possibilities.

Ted
Last edited by tedln on Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ozark Lady
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Ted, that makes sense! I have the raised beds, and the tunnels already.

Problem is: my bugs may not be the same ones that you have. I suppose the only way to find out is to try it. If it even lowers the population of pests by 50% that is that many less chewing on my plants. To the best of my memory the critters that ate my squash looked similar to stink bugs, not moths. A lot like potato bugs, might have been potato bugs, as that year I did grow alot of potatoes. I just checked my memory with hubby, he also remembers them as small gray stinkbug looking things.

And I thought, gee that tulle makes sense. But, then I got to thinking of pollination, and when I looked up squash, well, that is when I had the questions.

I do grow alot of leafy plants so I definitely may copy your idea on some of these, I had considered vinyl screen wire, for the same application.
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cynthia_h
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tedln wrote:
Urban_Garden wrote:I’ve heard doing the French Intensive Method allows you to plant more closely but it is also a lot of back breaking work. =/
Please explain the french intensive method.

Ted
The French Intensive school of gardening has developed other names in recent decades: BioGrow Intensive, among them. Close spacing and deep preparation of the growing bed are the hallmarks of this method. The soil only needs the deep preparation ONCE. Not once a year or once every three years. ONCE. PERIOD.

And you don't have to bring the whole garden into production at one time. (Well, many of us must: if 96 square feet is what's available, why not?)

The French Intensive method originated in...well...France, where the availability of land is much smaller and gardeners must make every square centimeter of land earn its keep. The Wiki article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biointensive is a start, but an Internet search on "French Intensive gardening" returned several good (and a few "out there") articles. :)

Cynthia H.
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tedln
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Thanks Cynthia,

It's nice to know what I've been doing for years has a name. :shock:

Ted
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