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applestar
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2014 Gardening Season Review

It was 54°F this morning, Mid-August, and my garden is producing... but things are definitely starting to wind down and serious thoughts about Fall to Winter garden is starting to occupy my mind, which inevitably leads to pre-planning for the next year's Spring and Summer.

I know for the southern-most states, Fall/Winter season gardening is starting up again after a summer hiatus, and northern-most states are starting to cast anxious glances at the weather in case frost might come early.

So I thought we could talk about the first half of the year's garden in review. It was a weird weather season for many of us, and sometimes unusual pests or diseases or unusual timing of those issues have plagued us.

Is there anything that you did this year that worked particularly well? That you would incorporate into your future gardening practices?

Anything that didn't? That we should all learn from?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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webmaster
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

My seed starting could have been improved with heating pads. Winter lingered long here in Western Massachusetts and some starts ended in the cold. So I had to put out a second string. I thought this year would be better but it actually was less so. Because I live in a forested area the surrounding oak trees limit the amount of sun my plants get. Strategic placement is important.

That said, my tomatoes were better this year as I focused on faster producing plants, particularly the smaller cherry tomatoes. That way the fast producers might have a chance at outrunning the weather. I'm going to double down on prolific vegetables next year.

The front yard has benefited from removal of twenty years of leaves and branches. We planted various ground cover and flowering plants which continue to bloom. We planted varieties that bloomed in waves so that early bloomers were succeeded by later blooming varieties. Lots of bees this year. All in all the front yard was a success.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

What ground covers did you plant? Were they for shade?
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

Rairdog
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Things I learned.

I left the tomatoes in the solo cups a little too long due to the late spring. Some flowered like sunflowers which seems a natural defense to stress and reproduction. It may also send out hormones to flower instead of root. They still got 6 to 10 ft but kept getting stressed from the cold rains which lead to easier and earlier septoria. I have bigger pots to pot up next season.

The ones I planted with beans are over 10 ft tall and show little sign of septoria. The ones in the grass in a totally new spot show little sign of septoria. This reinforces the principle of good spacing and air circulation. It also tells me I am never going to beat it but I can run from the hosting plants near the main garden. It also makes me curious about how I till the main garden and these two new spot were growing in undisturbed grass areas. Maybe its the undisturbed myco's doing their job combating fungi or the lack of host plants. I think these same principles can be applied to powdery mildew.

Did I mention I hate SEPTORIA! Usually I can out grow it, get a good crop and it bites me in the end. This year it whooped my butt!

Rairdog
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

If we have another bad winter this year be prepared to fight white flies, mites and aphids early on next year. I have always had ladybugs owerwinter in my attic. Come spring they are in the house, stuck in the screened porch and everywhere. This past winter wiped them out which leads me to believe most predators were knocked back a notch giving way to the rampant infestations this year.

catgrass
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

This was the worst gardening year I have had in 17 years, and it shouldn't have been. We had sufficient rain and not a super hot summer. I am in zone 9, but I never made the first cucumber (planted 4 times), the stink bugs overtook the tomatoes early, the beans were so-so, sunflowers were replanted several times, my bell peppers did ok, as did the jalapenoes, but that's it. The eggplant have suddenly quit, and even my flowers did not do well this year. :(
zone 9 Southwest La.

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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Re my ground cover, I'll have to ask my mother in law this weekend when I see her. It's something "this season" that the nurseries were selling. ;)

JayPoc
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

funny...in many ways, the garden flourished this year despite the bad weather. Squash and Zuch had no issues with SVB, and are still producing. Very few aphids and immature stink bugs, which have always been a battle for me on the other stuff. I think last winters ultra extreme cold killed most of those things. Powdery mildew wiped out my cukes earlier than I like, but even that is not hurting the squash too much. The tomatoes have been very slow to ripen, but production has been great. Usually, by this time each year my 'maters have pretty much run their course, with disease wiping out any stragglers. But this year, I have all but 1 plant still producing, and several plants just now starting to set fruit good. I've recently started a bunch of fall stuff, but to be honest I'm not sure where I'll plant some of it. I hate to pull up anything still thriving...

So weird. Usually by this time the squash and zuchs have been out of the ground for a month!

A lot of the maters are cracked and ugly...a result of two separate major rains (4 plus days, several inches) over the past two weeks.

Well, where am I. Still have tomatoes, peppers, taters, squash, zuch, basil, parsley, green onions, and chard all being harvested daily. My dragon's tongue beans are close to picking to eat like green beans...I'll leave about a third to mature like pintos. I have kales, collards, lettuces all started in trays, just waiting to get in the ground.

Hopefully this weekend we can process some stuff to freeze.

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lakngulf
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Overall it has been a good year in central Alabama.
1. Massive tomato crop at my house and my Mom's. We gave away a ton of tomatoes, enjoyed some every day and put a lot in the freezer.
2. I really enjoyed growing and eating the heirloom seeds from the wild boar giveaway. I have saved seed from three varieties and plan an heirloom tomato growing experiment in my Mom's rich garden next year
3. Raccoons enjoyed more corn that I did.
4. I have had squash to eat since late May, and still today. Quite unusual for us amid heat and humidity. Currently have about a dozen plants that have just begun to put on fruit.
5. Tomato plants have held on longer this year than in past. Good top of plant green growth, blossoms and fruit. I think our milder than normal summer is the reason for that.

Will plant collards, mustard greens and purple top turnips before labor day.
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imafan26
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Despite all my plans, I got off to a late start in the year. It stayed colder and wetter longer so I started my warm season plants late. I only got two crops of corn in, instead of three. However, it was the first time planting broccoli and while it took a long time to grow, planted in July 2013 and it did not start producing heads until the end of October, I still got side shoots from the broccoli up until almost April. I got nothing from the brussels sprouts.

The tomatoes beefsteak, was a disappointment in size and flavor, I wonder if it really was a beefsteak? The black cherry was good and the wild tomatoes made up for the disappointing output from the ones I planted. I did get some nice snow peas, for a few stir fries and not I have jicama, but I may have started it too late. I got some great cucumbers from suyo and tendergreen, but although the Armenian cucumber grew this time, it disappeared when the beans took over the trelis and I did not get any. The poamoho beans jumped from its trelis onto the cucumber trelis and has been producing and dropping beans and reseeding on its own.

The weeds and snails are winning

I never got around to putting in the spiral garden.

I have araimo and taro going strong. I got some new myoga this year and they are going strong, some have already bloomed.

I replaced some of my lost lavender, but not having much luck this year propagating and getting the transplants to survive. I have done this before, it just doesn't want to work for me this year.

I really have to clean out my orchid and anthurium benches.

I tried a few new things black cherry tomatoes (keeper), Armenian cucumber(still trying), tendergreen cucumber, shiyo kyuri cucumber (both of these cukes are keepers), spinach taro, bun long taro ( I got a new plant, I had this one years ago), myoga (my old one died and I got some new ones), transplanted 2 paphs successfully (hooray), divided popcorn oncidiums, still waiting for the cymbidiums to bloom, divided cardamom, tried propagating meyer lemon cuttings (they are still in the cutting box, but it is still alive), got another white agapanthus.

I got three more roses , but I don't know where to put them?, planted more gladiolus bulbs (they will naturalize), planted new geraniums (the white and red ones look o.k. but the magenta looks a bit stressed), successfully propagated a few cuttings from my red Ohia lehua (it is not an easy plant to propagate).

I finally got 2 cuttings from the lemon verbena to survive.

I have UH #10 sweet corn and silver queen corn from this years' harvest in the freezer.

New peppers I got to grow this year, Bhut Jolokia (technically from 2013), Trinidad scorpion, cubanelle, Hot Thai pepper, banana (I have grown them before but not for a couple of years).

I finally learned after years of doing it wrong, that I was planting my lettuce too close (4 inches) when I really needed 10 inches between them to get a nice head.

Weird stuff that happened this year. My multiplier onions started making bulbs, I thought it was going to die, but it is hanging in there. My green onions keep going to seed, even the young ones. I couldn't get peppers to start reliably until April because of the cooler and wetter than normal weather this year.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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LA47
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

This has been the worst year ever. Long cool spring, then while on vacation, we had 100+ degree days that are really rare here, and the non-gardening friend that was going to water for us didn't water enough. We almost lost everything. Now we are having an extremely wet cool season. Plus DH added wood chips to the garden last fall, thinking it would loosen up the clay soil, and tilled them in so there was major nitrogen deficiency. The Asian peas, onions, and zucchini are the only things that did well. Oh well, there's always next year!
High Altitude Gardener zone 4B or 5A

River
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Like u mentioned applestar started my fall crop of tomatoes (29 plants mostly Amelia's and a few celebritys)
plus I have 3 different southern peas, ms silver crowders/big boy purple hulls & zipper cream peas. My eggplants
are doing better now, because we aren't having as much rain. I am waiting for my cuttings from my cherry tomatoes
to get a little larger & my peppers are doing great. Plus the okra loves the extreme heat. It was up to 101 today with
humidity probably hovering close to 100%

I will wait a little longer & then I will try my hand at growing broccoli & brussel sprouts & maybe cauliflower.
Although I will probably have to do that in the containers. Running out of space
Mobile al zone 8b

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digitS'
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

There were some things different this year that let me know that with over 40 garden seasons experience, I still haven't figured it all out. Right now, we may be coming to the end of the warmest season I've had to deal with. It has been a good melon season, good for the summer squash and the winter squash looks great. So, what is the problem with the tomatoes?

Something tough for the plants to overcome was the winds. The tomatoes are all growing off to the northeast! Some few varieties have been loaded with ripe fruit. Some are loaded with unripe fruit. (With all the heat, what's the holdup?) Some varieties have very little fruit. With so many days above 90, pollination must have failed.

The sudden onset of hot weather was hard on a few things like kohlrabi, which split, and broccoli. Pinching back the premature broccoli didn't work on the smallest plants but several were able to adjust and we actually had a fairly good broccoli season, oddly, a little later than usual.

The cabbages had it tough, too. Aphids have taken advantage. I can only do so much with organic sprays on those curling leaves but the bug numbers were lower enuf for the cabbage to be coming in okay, once again - late. At least, the early cabbage was.

Looking all the way back to spring, I may be evolving as a better plant starter ..! Each of the last few years, I have started the tomatoes later. They still make too much growth before I can get them set out! Things get kinda outta hand in the greenhouse ... Note to self: just like the tomatoes, do NOT leave flowers on the peppers. It might have been a great pepper year if tiny plants coulda had a chance to grow a little more before developing fruit. Likely, it woulda cut down on the number of fruits tossed because of sunscald, too!

I transplanted a little more July-sown bok choy, just yesterday. There was no room for much a couple weeks ago when I began this process. That bok choy is nearly bolting but think it will hang fire and grow a little first.

Too many spider mites in the dahlias! All in all, has, it hasn't been a bad bug year.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

btrowe1
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

I've had a great year, I have stored away at least 75 pounds of tomatoes, and I have more on the vines, peppers are overflowing, zukes and squash are still producing, no SVBs. My butter nut squash is unblieviable, never grew before. egg plants were planted last,I have about 10 on the vines,broccoli,I'm on my 2nd round,brussels growing very nicely cabbage, well another monster, this time 3 made a lot of egg rolls.

Been a very good season..

sunflower13
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

LA47 wrote:This has been the worst year ever. Long cool spring, then while on vacation, we had 100+ degree days that are really rare here, and the non-gardening friend that was going to water for us didn't water enough. We almost lost everything. Now we are having an extremely wet cool season. Plus DH added wood chips to the garden last fall, thinking it would loosen up the clay soil, and tilled them in so there was major nitrogen deficiency. The Asian peas, onions, and zucchini are the only things that did well. Oh well, there's always next year!
I read your comment and feel the same exact way! I live in Washington State. Our June was so cold it stunted my plants and nearly killed them. Then, in July it went to the 90s with no slow warm up. The past two weeks have brought powdery mildew which I predicted for my plants after heavy morning fog which I have never seen in summer where I have lived for years. There were also several severe wind/thunder storms that greatly weakened my tomato plants even my bush determinate types and started a fire in the city and toppled trees everywhere. I also had 100 degree days and so many 90s I lost count which is not the norm for my area. Now stink bugs have invaded my garden and are trying to destroy my tomatoes among other things. The bad thing is, is that I am in a community garden and it doesn't seem like others are helping to destroy the bugs. I am just doing my best to hang in there. I will say that I have learned a lot and that makes me feel like next year will be better. I wouldn't have learned it, if all this craziness hadn't happen. I feel ready to take on canning next year and keeping a positive mindset: I will have so much garden goodies I will have to learn to can :().

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applestar
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Seed Starting with Soil Blockers

This is from last year's seed starting thread:
Subject: I started some too :) -- experimenting with soil blocks

This was my seed starting thread this year:
Subject: Finally! Off to a haphazard start for the 2014 season

OK, so here are some things I noticed from using the soil blocks:
1) saves tremendous amounts of space, especially when heating pad is needed. Micros can go two sets per rectangular plastic Chinese take out -- that's 40 microblocks, lid upside down on and STACKABLE. One set in small aluminum (also Chinese take out). Many clamshell plastic -- sandwich containers, etc.
2) NOT finding the micros suitable for hard to germinate seeds. About 7-10 days max. Tomatoes are usually perfect (also brassicas, basil, marigold, etc.) With right amount of constant heat, most tomato seeds will germinate in 4-8 days. Micros have too small mass -- difficult to maintain correct moisture and temperature levels for long germination period like unheated tomato or even heated peppers, making them susceptible to fungal and fungus gnat issues.
3) microblocks really need covers but the covers should come off as soon as sprouted -- easiest to MOVE the blocks to growing tray -- this allows for relatively uniform sized seedlings in each tray. Image
4) Correctly sized tongs and spatula/paint scrapers for each size blocks are essential and makes all the difference in frustration factor, etc.
5) You really want to upblock from micro to mini quickly. Tomatoes will grow for quite a while in the micros and stay looking pretty healthy, but in reality they deplete resources in own block and start stealing from each other. Large outbreak of helmet heads if sprouted blocks are not moved out to separate growing trays.
(Microblocks are upblocked to miniblocks -- 50 mini blocks to a standard 1020 mesh tray) Image
6) a layer of sand in the bottom of growing trays improves growing conditions if not using bottom root pruning with mesh.
7) Love, LOVE re-using 1qt rice dream containers. In addition to using them to hold 8 mini blocks as growing trays, this year's experiment to deep uppot them in rice dream containers standing on narrow edge worked perfectly (3 per box and 6 boxes fit exactly per standard 1020 mesh tray, maximizing soil volume for 18 seedlings) Image
8 ) One caveat with the micro soil blockers is the inability to deep uppot and bury the hypocotyl up to the seedleaves as for tomatoes (and most other seedlings). When space on the heating mat is not an issue (smaller number of seedlings or sufficient ambient temperature), sowing single seeds directly in the 2" mini block's cubic hole, then filling the hole as the seedling grows results in better tomato seedlings.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Compost Pile in the center of the bed

I am totally sold on situating a compost pile in the middle of a garden bed like I did with the Spiral Garden and the Kitchen Garden this year.

The Spiral Garden had a chicken wire bin that was filled with a mixed/layered balanced ingredients at the outset in spring, which slowly decomposed over the season without any additional turning or adding. But it was sufficient for growing the 10-12 ft Bloody Butcher corn and winter squash as well as cantaloupe melon and cucumber. (A little side dressing and some compost tea was applied at the height of the growing season)

The patio side Kitchen Garden had/has the commercial plastic bin which has been stocked weekly with kitchen scraps, brown paper, and some yard waste (weeds and leaf piles) and grew an amazing cucumber crop. I'll use the finished compost from here to raise this bed.

I'm planning on situating new fall-winter compost piles directly in at least two beds to furnish next spring's compost for the beds.

I am NOT fertilizing the neighbor's pine trees with leached nourishment from my 3 bin compost piles any more. :roll:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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lakngulf
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

applestar wrote:Compost Pile in the center of the bed

I'm planning on situating new fall-winter compost piles directly in at least two beds to furnish next spring's compost for the beds.

I am NOT fertilizing the neighbor's pine trees with leached nourishment from my 3 bin compost piles any more. :roll:
Excellent idea! I am giving that some thought for my garden
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

cdog222
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Every year brings something new. Overall, my knowledge base increases every year...but sometimes when I think I have something figured out, nature throws me a curve ball and humbles me.

Overall, it has been a bountiful year with plenty more activity in progress and on the way. I seem to fall into the same routine every year - I go like gangbusters in the spring and early summer, but I seem to get side tracked with other stuff during the summer months and lose focus on timely side dressing, mulching, pruning, etc.

A few specific things I have learned :

- plant corn a little deeper. The seed packs say 1 1/2 - 2", but several years in a row now my corn falls over. The top half of the plants eventually rise up towards the sun, but the lower half is curved or laying on the ground even. My understanding is that the seeds need to be planted deeper so that the 'anchor' roots that develop have enough soil to spread out and do their thing

- don't crowd the tomatoes! I know better, but I can't help myself. I think if I would have remained diligent with my pruning, I would have been ok. Needless to say, I was not and things got crowded. On top of that, the squirrels thwarted my efforts to keep pests out (mammal and insect!). The loss of tomatoes wasn't as bad as the fact that I think they helped speed the spread of disease. This bed in particular was all Romas, which typically don't give me trouble. Apparently if you cram a bunch into a tight space and let squirrels climb all over them, the rules change!

- groundhogs are the spawn of the devil! Don't get me wrong - I'm a nature lover and these guys are hella cute. But....one little guy ate ALL of my kale, quinoa, cucumbers, watermelon vines, sweet potato vines, and nibbled on several pepper plants, and some corn. I may have had a record harvest in terms of quantity and diversity if it were not for this foul beast. I saw him today in my back yard and I am torn between taking a picture or plinking him with a pellet gun....

- start my peppers a bit later than the tomatoes. It seems that every year when I put my tomatoes and peppers out (at roughly the same time), the peppers always take about a month longer to 'take off'. I usually start tomato and pepper seeds around early March - I'll probably wait an additional two to three weeks before i start my peppers next year.

- more beneficial insect attracting flowers! This has been a work in progress for me. I was quite proud of the number of little flying critters that have hung out in my garden this summer. I started several perennial flowers a couple of years ago that are finally becoming well established. I am also seeing the benefit of letting some herbs (especially the garlic chives!!!) go to flower- they are swarmed by all types of little buzzing things. My goal is to be able to better identify most of them next year.

- pruning for the win! I have become a pruning fanatic. From early signs of disease on tomatoes to focusing the production of a plant on making less but larger and better fruits and veggies, it seems that less is more. And....things look a little more tidy and organized when the plants are sprawling and unattended.

I started my fall crops over the last couple of weeks, so it's hard to think in terms of a full season recap, but the calendar certainly doesn't lie! Only another 6 or 8 weeks or so, and it's all over till next year!

Bobberman
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Ya my ground hog has to go also.as cute as that little fat bugger is! I plan on planting more colors on the north side of the garden in sunflowers that made my garden stand out this year. I bet I have over 400 flowers on about 30 plants and the birds are all over them! its nice to see the colored small birds feasting on the flowers! I too plant my tomatoes too close because I hate pruning the healthy stems which do deter the plant later on! Too many varieties of tomatoes over 12 types. I will plant maybe 8 types at most next year. my groups of 4 like tomatoes ina a square seemed to work the best. I will also plant in a different way like 4 tomatoes then 4 peppers and have a smaller plant between the groups of tomatoes to give better access!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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jal_ut
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Been a good season here. The skunks got after the corn. I put a radio in the corn patch to deter them. It seems to help. I could have planted a few more summer squash. I planted some bush beans, but should have planted more about a month later. They tend to have 3 good pickins then taper off badly. A second crop would have extended the harvest. I expect frost within a week. Its about over here.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

cdog222 wrote:- plant corn a little deeper. The seed packs say 1 1/2 - 2", but several years in a row now my corn falls over. The top half of the plants eventually rise up towards the sun, but the lower half is curved or laying on the ground even. My understanding is that the seeds need to be planted deeper so that the 'anchor' roots that develop have enough soil to spread out and do their thing
I find "hilling" the corn helps. in the big corn fields, I believe they use a machine with attachment that flips/mounds soil to one side and run it along the corn row from both sides. In my small garden, I either wheelbarrow soil and compost (and other enrichment) mix to the bed or scrape up the path soil and toss onto the base of the corn (I believe I put down a mixture of soaked alfalfa pellets, bran, and a little dolomitic lime first this year). I usually do this when they start developing those octopus roots and bury them as well as the lowest leaves that are trailing on the ground. This helps to anchor them down.

One year, I felt that those lower leaves were getting in the way of hoeing the weeds and clipped them. When it came time to hill, there weren't enough of the trailing leaves to bury, and I had more lodging (falling over) problems.
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digitS'
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Well, I'm learning things here!

Skunks in the sweet corn? I wondered what seemed to be a fairly lightweight critter eating several ears. I smelled skunk one morning but didn't know from what corner of the big veggie garden. A radio to deter may not be appreciated by the neighbors ... with my hearing, it would be best for me not to set it up independently ...

Lower leaves have less and less benefit to a plant as they age, or so we are told by the botanists. I don't know how they measure these things. It had never occurred to me to use them as "anchors" for the corn.

Lots of things benefit from hilling. In the post above, I mention pinching back the broccoli hoping the plants would make some more growth before bolting. What I didn't say was that each got some organic fertilizer and was hilled. It has really saved them when Benjamin Bunny has decided to sample every broccoli leaf! Bunnies eat sweet corn ..?

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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applestar
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

cdog222 wrote:I am also seeing the benefit of letting some herbs (especially the garlic chives!!!) go to flower- they are swarmed by all types of little buzzing things.

Don't forget to harvest those garlic chive seed heads after they start to develop. You want to harvest them while the pod and seeds are still tender -- usually while there are still 50% or so blossoms. But it's easiest just to pluck one and taste.
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imafan26
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

My mioga has bloomed and the flower stalks are coming up on the zingiber. It seems I just planted the dasheen but it looks hugs again. Maybe this time they will be ready for New Year.

I have the garlic in the refrigerator chilling, but I had to plant the shallots they were sprouting in the bag.

The third set of corn that I grew this year is tasseling now and I am overrun with weeds.

I did manage to prune the bilimbi tree. I usually wait till later but the branches are brittle and some of them had already broken.

I went out to water the garden late last night so I caught 5 more African snails on my seedling bench. Surprisingly, I really did not see any on the ground. I expected more to be out after dark. I hope I got them all. I put out more slug bait and I replanted the pots. Hopefully, they will grow and the slugs won't eat the seedlings again.

I potted up 4 pandan, but one is rotting. I think that was the one with the broken stem. The others are ok. I may pot up for lemon grass. My pot is putting out a lot of keikis.

I still have a ton of weeds to get rid of.

My front yard was so dry my acerola dried up. I watered it and hope it will come back. My lavender in the front yard looks pretty dead. The pelargoniums don't look too happy but considering they haven't gotten much water and they have only been in the garden a few months they are hanging in there. The alyssum is still going strong.

The grass is extra crispy, it needs to rain soon.

I have two small cherimoya fruit on the tree. It will take months for them to ripen, but so far so good.

The volunteer beans are sprouting.

Jicama is trying to get out of the cage

I need to get my pot ready soon, the sungold tomato is almost ready to plant out. The snails have left it alone. They were much more interested in lettuce and broccoli seedlings.

Yesterday, I replanted the romaine, butterhead, bibb broccoli, and bok choy seeds.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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JC's Garden
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Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 2:43 am
Location: Moultrie, GA Planting Zone 8, Sunset Zone 31

Summer 2014

It's been both good and bad this summer.

First the bad, I always like to finish up on the positive side.
I lost over 75% of my tomato plants to a combination of Southern Blight, Spotted Wilt and a serious Septoria Leaf Spot outbreak. I planted heirlooms only. They just don't have the disease resistance of hybrids. What they lack in that regard is more than compensated for by their excellent taste. The survivors produced more than we could eat and we gave quite a few away.
What I learned:
1. There is a reason heirlooms sell for $4.00 a pound, growing heirlooms is tough.
2. Indeterminate tomatoes require a lot of time to be spent pruning suckers and tying up branches.
A standard tomato cage is nowhere near enough support, you have to be creative.
3. They taste much better than any I've grown before. A tomato growing friend of mine tasted a
Brandywine Pink and said, “I thought I knew what a good tomato tasted like.”
4. Saving large quantities of tomato seeds is easy if you use the fermentation method.
5. In ground vs container. In ground is more disease resistant and produces more fruit.

Squash Vine Borers got into all my squash, zucchini, and cucumber plants. I got good production at first but when the SVBs got into them, they just shutdown.

On the positive side.
I stuck with organic pest and disease control. I didn't use anything that is not used in food or for medicinal purposes. Result, I can treat then pick and eat on the same day. I also have a stronger Garden Patrol because I made good choices.
Okra, eggplant, peppers and herbs have done very well.
The okra plants have gotten so large that a friend (who has grown okra), thought they were hibiscus. They have suckered out and I have been finding okra all over the plants. The eggplants are producing way more than we need. I have already frozen enough peppers to supply my wife's cooking needs through the winter. A high demand was placed on our summer herbs and they provided all we needed.

At this point, I'm starting my fall plants in the greenhouse. I always enjoy watching these new plants come up. There are many decisions to be made, as to the whats, wheres and whens, for the fall garden. I'll sit down with Kara from time to time and discus her needs and plant for them. The most important thing for me though, is to find new and interesting plants that are fun to play with. If you don't keep it fun, it's just work.

Happy Gardening.

imafan26
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

The slugs and snails ate most of my lettuce and beet seedlings. So, yesterday, I planted new seeds in the ground. There are snails there too, but they are sitting ducks in the pots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Bobberman
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Ya lettuce in late summer is hard to grow since the snails eat the first two leaves. There are many tiny ones that destroy everything when it first starts to grow. I sprinkle some Epsom salts around the lettuce every time after a rain and it kills them!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

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applestar
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Insect Barrier Tunnels

Last year, I grew broccoli and cauliflower under insect barrier cloth help up with arched PVC pipes and tightly held down to the ground along the hems with great success. (I also grew cabbages under an insect barrier low tunnel in previous year)
Subject: Yay! Got some planting done! :)

These are easy because excluding pollinating insects is not an issue.

This year, I tried a medium tunnel (almost 4 ft high x approx 5 ft wide x 10 ft long) supported with PVC arches to grow winter squash that are susceptible to SVB (squash vine borer) and it was a great success in terms of protecting from SVB's, Squash Bugs, and Stink Bugs. I still don't see any sign of infestation.

The size of the tunnel accommodated smaller fruiting (max 10 Lbs range) squash, but I think larger squash vines would have been pushing it. When they were at their most robust, the leaves were pushing on the sides as well as top of the tunnel.

One big minus is that you do have to get in there and hand pollinate. (In fact I have found that even outside of the tunnel, there was more success rate when I hand pollinated winter squash and watermelons). I was diligent at first but as it got hotter and the gardening chores increased, it became harder. When they were lush, it was difficult to get everybody back under and close the tunnel. I often saw female buds that would open THE NEXT DAY and then didn't get out to the garden or didn't get to opening the tunnel and pollinating. VERY often discovered femal blossoms that opened the previous day -- too late to pollinate.

I also lost three very nice squash fruits when I didn't realize they were ripe/mature enough to pick. I had grown early maturing varieties, and I think in the heat and humidity they matured faster than expected, and then was susceptible to becoming overripe and spoiling when I didn't get out in the garden for multiple best wave days. They had completely softened and fermented/rotted by the time I discovered them. The fact that they were new-to-me varieties didn't help. :|
image.jpg
For fall growing, I'm using a picnic table tent for protecting food from bugs to grow some cabbage and kale starts. I know from past experience that without the protection, they would be almost immediately covered with cabbage moth and cabbage butterfly worms and dessimated.

...so far, one Armyworm snuck in, and I think there's a slug. But enough survivors and significantly reduced damage/loss. I did lose a bunch of earlier seedlings to damping off when I failed to empty the catch trays after a heavy rain for 24 hours.

(I'll come back and embed applicable thread links for these at some point later -- I do have ongoing threads -with lots of pictures :wink: - for all of these experiments/projects.)

--- initial insect barrier tunnel used for the planted out squash seedlings is pictured in this thread here:
Subject: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Curcs
applestar wrote:Some of the protected C. pepo and C. maxima squash progress
...and here
Subject: 2014 Spiral Garden Garlic Onion Pea Corn Squash Cuke Beet
applestar wrote:Winter squash that are susceptible to SVB's were planted in the Haybale Row. They were C. pepo Bush Delicata and Kakai, and C. maxima Uncle David's Dessert, Red Kuri, and Guatemalan Blue. I covered them with this insect netting row cover
--- picnic table tent is pictured and described here:
Subject: Protecting summer cabbage/broccoli/kale seedlings for fall
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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digitS'
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Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

The Weather Service says that the morning low should be 34°f on Friday.

Turning on the sprinklers is all I'm planning to do. After a very warm summer, it just seems that I should not be where I'm at, all of a sudden. And, I don't think I am ...

My beefsteak tomatoes are in their sprawl and down against what I like to think of as their rock mulch. It would have to be pretty severe to damage them. Since the 8 to 14 day is for "above normal" and Sunday afternoon should be above 80° again, I'm not planning on bringing in buckets of green tomatoes!

The cukes and zuks have had a good run. Big harvest of the last sweet corn planting just came off. I got the last of the Charentais melons and most all of the Galia melons. The Blacktail Mountain watermelon will never make it! I do have a bed of bush beans that was sown mid-July where I've only seen 1 bean ready to pick.

Meanwhile, the dahlias ... always getting just about to peak season, just about now.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Bump. Want to come back to this later and see if I thought of anything else.
--- have you?

We gotta get ready for the new season, lots to plan ahead and techniques to grow things better to try... and there's no sense in making the same mistakes we made before. :hehe:
So let's learn from each other's! :-()
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Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Mian5
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Location: Chicago

Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

2014 was one of the coldest winters in Chicago history. It was my first year starting tomatoes and peppers from seeds. I made a lot of beginner mistakes with proper lighting, planting too closely, and not thinning. I also let most of my herbs flower instead of pinching them off to extend harvesting. I'm extending my garden to an area that has weeds.

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Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get peppers.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: 2014 Gardening Season Review

Hah! I didn't add the link to my pre-germinating experiment.
I'll just put it here and add more comments later when I get the chance.
I'm definitely doing this again this year.
-- peas and favas. I want lots of them
-- with squash and may even try growing some of the C. pepo summer squash with extra early start and see if they can produce ahead of the SVB'S
Subject: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Curcs
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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