User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Well, it's our first real growing season since we've moved to Zone 5a/b (30min SE Albany, NY), from Western North Carolina, and I've got to admit it's been a very slow start. We've had a long (though not particularly brutal) winter - first snow in the beginning of November, and just now at the beginning of May have the night time temps been steadily in the low 40's or more.

We're on the first floor of a 3-floor 1800 farm house with an enormous pasture out back, butted up against a beautiful creek (or Kill as they call them here..), with a decent sized community garden for the tenants to share. Since at least August (when we moved in), the plot has been under tarps trying to kill off a massive Canadian Thistle problem, and I think it's done pretty well. I just pulled the tarps up last week and started getting rid of the sad little strained weeds in the area we're planting. Not much has grown back quickly, compared to just outside the garden fence where the buggers are bigger than my head!

I got a late start to ordering seeds, too. Picked a few varieties to start and see how things go off of SeedsNow. Should be arriving today or tomorrow. Picked up a couple of sad little Bonnie Romas from Walmart to repot while the soil amendments soak in and everything has the finishing touches before real planting/transplanting, and they're doing much better now with some nitrogen and sunlight.

The ground was at first a little disappointing. SO many thistle sprouts and an incredible amount of rocks. The kids and I (3.5yr and 15 month old) spent two mornings pulling rocks and hand turning the soil to find more, bigger rocks, and we've got several inches of really NICE soil now free of the biggest rocks. Still plenty of quarter sized pebbles, but I've got my sanity to look after, so they're going to stay put for now. Added a few inches of humus/manure mix to the top of the plot, and will be adding some leftover worm castings and mixing it all in.

I wasn't sure about how to plant - I've got it laid out at about 4x12 right now, and I am thinking of doing a grid a la square foot gardening, rather than rows. I've got carrots and beets, the two Romas, spaghetti squash, bush beans, dwarf sunflowers, basil, chamomile, and I'm probably forgetting what else for the spring/summer go. Thinking to stick the climbers/supported plants at one end, and everything else everywhere else. Also have some marigolds to line the perimeter.

Anywho... let's see how this pans out! Praying for a bountiful harvest and not too many unsolvable problems in our maiden season.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

What a wonderful place! We would love it if you would post a couple pictures!

It takes patience. Hopefully you will get some harvest this year, but don't expect it to be huge. The foundation of a good garden is good soil and it takes some seasons of building your soil to get there.

Lee Valley Tools, which sells a variety of garden tools that are very solid and well made for reasonable prices, has a rock rake which should help with getting some more of the rocks out:

https://www.leevalley.com/us/garden/page ... at=2,44821

Do you have a compost pile yet? If not, get started now! It won't help for spring planting, but if you start now, you should have some good homemade compost for fall. Best thing you can do for your garden! In the meantime, keep adding all the organics can. Be sure to keep everything mulched, as soon as your plants are big enough to stick up over the mulch. You can use any combination of straw, grass clippings, pulled weeds, shredded paper, fall leaves, etc. A thick layer of mulch will help suppress all those weeds, will conserve moisture, and will eventually break down to feed/ build your soil.

Keep us posted on how it is going for you. What an adventure! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Thanks, rainbowgardener! The girls and I have just spent the last few hours digging up some MASSIVE thistles... I know I just severed them at the root and they are going to grow back, but I hope that by continuing to just hack them away they will be manageable. These are outside the garden confines so I'm not concerned with their taking nutrients from the soil - I just don't want my kids getting skewered with their huge barbs! I'll see if I can post some pictures from my phone.. One I hacked out was quite frankly somewhat radioactive looking. Ha!

We also took the bigger rocks we pulled from the soil previously and made a nice little border around our bed. The garden had been used previously but except for the raised bed which the 3rd floor tenant has used for tomatoes every year, the rest has been under tarps for a long time. I think the soil is nice, if not a little sticky (almost like clay.. it is very moist and stuck to our boots in big muddy clumps after a nice rain last night.. sigh). I think I understand the reason for the rocks. Hopefully over the next few seasons, mixing in lots of organics will help to fluff it up.

Edit: You can see the sheer amount of rocks in the un-bordered part. We did a ton of digging and pulling rocks, and I'm afraid we may have left too many under our bed. Ours is the bordered one with the nice fluffy bagged stuff on top. It is a few inches deep, and under that about 2-3" can be easily pushed into with fingers, but then it gets compacted and very sticky/clay like. Will growing some root crops in these spots help to loosen things up? -- The second picture is the biggest thistle I chopped out. It broke my shovel handle. Albeit an old, wooden shovel handle... still...!!! Glad these babies are under better control in the garden plot itself.
Attachments
IMG_9450.JPG
IMG_9448.JPG

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Tonight the girls and I planted everything! Trying to plant with a 15 month old who wants to pull up all the markers and stomp across the soil is a challenge.... :shock: But we got it done! Just need to transplant the maters and a couple sad looking marigolds. We did:
Genovese Basil
Noble Giant Spinach
Dark Green Romaine
Swiss Chard
Boltardy Beets
Danvers Carrot
Landreth Bush Beans
Wando Peas
Emerald Giant Green Bell Peppers
Red Burgundy Onions
Spaghetti Squash
Crackerjack Marigolds
Sungold Dwarf Sunflowers
Roman Chamomile
and we will transplant two Roma tomatos soon

All on 4'x12' with a generous 4'x2' empty plot for re-sowing any greens or whatever may find its way in. Everything just fits. I hope it all works.... watered from the creek it sits next to... gotta say it's a nice little "rustic" addition to the whole process!

Now we wait...
Attachments
IMG_9463.JPG

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Wow! that sounds like a LOT of plants for a 4x12. You may find it getting over-crowded once things start getting bigger. But since you have other space, you can just dig things up and re-plant them else where. I did that with a row of broccoli that came up too crowded. Turned it in to two rows of broccoli, the second being in the middle of my potato patch.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

rainbowgardener wrote:Wow! that sounds like a LOT of plants for a 4x12. You may find it getting over-crowded once things start getting bigger. But since you have other space, you can just dig things up and re-plant them else where. I did that with a row of broccoli that came up too crowded. Turned it in to two rows of broccoli, the second being in the middle of my potato patch.
Yeah, I am thinking so. However I am hoping that by having limited the big ones like squash, peas, and beans to one or two plants once they come up and I can thin them, that the rest will be alright. After the season's over, I'll be tilling everything in and working out another bed or making this one longer. I did find it a squeeze to plant in. I'm not sure what will even come up this time around, as it's been laying fallow for who knows how long, with a big Canadian Thistle problem... I'll be updating for sure!!

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

A quick update with some photos from the front porch containers. A megabloom from one of the Romas, and the tiny little starts of some Sweet Basil and Roman Chamomile. I think the Chamomile needs to dry out a bit - it's been raining this week so far, and I am pretty sure chamomile likes it a little less soggy... ? Going to see if anything is up yet in the garden later today (doubt there is, though I did see what I think may be a marigold starting already.. we shall see).

Edit: lots and lots of little marigolds everywhere (including outside the bed.... oh well) and a few carrots were up. Unfortunately the carrots were rebels who escaped into the greens patch so they got plucked. Also, something came along and scratched up my bean seeds, but spit them out on top of the soil. I hope they didn't steal anything else. So I replanted the beans, and hopefully I won't need to put up netting/row covers yet, but we will see.
Attachments
Vagabond carrots
Vagabond carrots
Sweet Basil babies
Sweet Basil babies
Roman Chamomile babies
Roman Chamomile babies
Megabloom Roma
Megabloom Roma
Megabloom Roma
Megabloom Roma

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

I think we have a couple of sprouts! Maybe a world record, it looks like POSSIBLY the peas are sprouted.... maybe some birds dropped some thistle seed in my garden... LOL. We will see when they get bigger. Also lots of marigolds and possibly some romaine starting up, as well as maybe one little basil? It's been much cooler, and the crust of the bed is dry while 1/2" down and beyond is still damp and cool. I'm sure my peppers and hot weather seeds are keeping cozy under there while the weather is cool, and they will pop up sooner or later.

Very interesting, some kind of enormous beetle was buzzing around and burrowed into the top of the soil. I tried to poke it to uncover it and get a good look but it flew off. Akin to a scarab, but brown. About the size of a nickel. *shrug*

I tarped up the exposed ground in the rest of the garden as the thistles were popping back up. Girls had fun splashing in a puddle while I carefully inspected all the tiny little pieces of green I could see, and pulled some of the weeds. A nice morning :)

I also made a Garden Tracking spreadsheet copied from one I found online. I have it as a numbers spreadsheet and printed it out so I can fill in germination and harvest dates on the go. A fun way to garden inside ;)
Attachments
Trees are digging this nice weather!
Trees are digging this nice weather!
Maybe peas sprouting?
Maybe peas sprouting?

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: Gardening in western U.P. of MI. 46+ N. lat. elev 1540. zone 3

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Love the backdrop in your landscape photo. Reminds me of my home state: WV.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Taiji wrote:Love the backdrop in your landscape photo. Reminds me of my home state: WV.
I agree. It reminds me quite a bit of the Appalachians, though we are in the Mohawk Valley of NY. We lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC for many years before moving up here. WV is a beautiful place, too!

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Girls and I went out "early" this morning in between rain showers to go check things out. We have one pea for sure (what I thought was peas before must be more marigolds... I don't think we spread this many marigold seeds ALL OVER THE PLANET, so I am really hoping these are not a bunch of lovely invaders popping up... I don't think they are, but we will see...)... looks like most of the greens are starting to pop up except the Swiss chard. We have one happy little sunflower coming up.. maybe some beets.. and about 849503 metric tonnes of marigolds. Marigolds everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I have learned my lesson. Assuming that's what these are, I will thin them out as I need to. I figured a lot of them around will be good in lieu of any fencing I could put up in the mean time...
Neighboring corn field + the creek running high and fast this AM
Neighboring corn field + the creek running high and fast this AM
A little list of what I think may be coming up (again, it's hard to say because there are SO MANY MARIGOLDS everywhere.... :roll: :? :eek: :
Basil (Genovese)
Spinach (Noble Giant)
Romaine
One sunflower (Sungold Dwarf)
Roman chamomile
Maybe beets?
One pea (out of only a few)

I'm guessing the peppers and beans will be taking a while, as well as possibly the onions(?) and spaghetti squash, while the temps are a little cooler. We'll be around mid 60's for the 10-day forecast with rain many days. If it starts getting too mushy out there, I'll have to figure out what to do so my seedlings don't float away down to the Hudson...

Also saw lots of little curious friends roaming around. Older daughter found a big crow feather and planted it in the neighbor's raised bed. Found a tiny little snail on a border rock (please stay away, slugs..).
Little snail
Little snail
Saw a bunch of little crawly bugs that look like some kind of potato bug relative(?),
Crawly guy?
Crawly guy?
as well as possibly some kind of little centipedes. Many ants... I'm just hoping the marigolds will bloom soon and bring in some beneficial predators to keep the bugs at bay. Saw the second squirrel of the season in the side yard today, so hopefully the little fluff stays away from the garden. I think I'm going to have to do some research and planning today about what kind of protection I'm going to need to keep things as safe as I can.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

The little crawly bug has a bunch of names: wood louse, pill bug, sow bug, roly-poly, etc. It is a detritovore, part of the process of breaking down dead organic matter back into nutrients. They are very common in compost piles and in soil that is rich with organics. As long as you don't have an infestation of them, they will not harm your plants and are good for the soil.

It is not actually a bug, not at all related to potato bugs, not even an insect (note 14 legs, not six). The wood louse is a crustacean, closer related to lobsters than to potato bugs.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

rainbowgardener wrote:It is not actually a bug, not at all related to potato bugs, not even an insect (note 14 legs, not six). The wood louse is a crustacean, closer related to lobsters than to potato bugs.
There are trilobites in my garden! Who'da thunk! :() Well, that's good news. There were several of them. Now if the snails and slugs will just stay out, I'll be pleased. Looks like I may need to pick up some PBR :hehe:

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

It's quite an interesting little creature. It is called pill bug or roly-poly because if you touch it, it will roll up into a nearly perfect sphere, with all those little armor plates on the outside. Its family and genus names are Armadillidae Armadillidium for the resemblance to armadillos which also roll themselves up.

From wiki: " A female woodlouse will keep fertilised eggs in a marsupium on the underside of her body until they hatch into offspring that look like small white woodlice curled up in balls. The mother then appears to "give birth" to her offspring. Females are also capable of reproducing asexually. Despite being crustaceans like lobsters or crabs, woodlice are said to have an unpleasant taste similar to "strong urine"

I wonder who ate enough pill bugs to know what they taste like :shock:

wiki also says "Living in a terrestrial environment, woodlice breathe through trachea-like lungs in their paddle-shaped hind legs (pleopods), called pleopodal lungs."

Amazing little guys! :D
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Well now I'm a little confused. I'm used to potato bugs/roly poly bugs/ pill bugs being more armadillo shaped -- all round, one color, etc. These little guys were also roly armor guys but with flattened out edges of their armor, and a design on them. Also bigger than most roly polys I have seen. I'll add pics when I'm home for clarification.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Ohh, I'm sorry, my bad!! I just reacted off of first impression and never enlarged the photo. Usually I am better than that. :oops: Your creature does not have the 14 legs of a pill bug. I don't know off hand what it is, try and look more later.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

rainbowgardener wrote:Ohh, I'm sorry, my bad!! I just reacted off of first impression and never enlarged the photo. Usually I am better than that. :oops: Your creature does not have the 14 legs of a pill bug. I don't know off hand what it is, try and look more later.
Well when I Google Wood Louse it does look like what comes up.... ???

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

I think it is O. Asselus. My pic was taken while it was scurrying away, so possibly the legs are just blurred.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

We didn't go out to the garden yesterday after church - feeling a bit under the weather, and the weather itself was a little oppressive (overcast, muggy, 72ish). Braved the sprinkles in between showers this AM to go check things and we were happily surprised!

Three spaghetti squash popped up (and are huge already... maybe 1.5" tall?), the whole row of carrots is up, several beets, all of the greens are for sure up now and the spinach is starting to pop true leaves. The whole row of sunflowers is also up now, which is funny, because I didn't remember planting a whole row - just half a row - but I'll take it. They'll give good afternoon shade to the greens, especially since they're dwarf sunflowers.. nice and low. Once the flowers start to bloom I plan to cover them lightly with netting to keep the birdies out. Also, some of the marigolds are starting to finally get to growing (they all popped up everywhere almost immediately but then sat doing nothing visible for the week), and the peas are getting larger.

DD2 wanted to play in the mud puddles on the tarp, so I set her down and she promptly sat in one. Then she realized she was wet and wasn't very pleased. DD1 thought it was hilarious, but DD2 was not having fun any more, so we came in.

I still haven't transplanted the tomatoes. I know I need to, that they would be happier, but they're fun to see on the porch. The porch herbs (chamomile and sweet basil) are also not doing a whole lot of anything. I'm trying to keep the chamomile dry. I think I should have used a proper potting mix when I planted them (rookie move that I didn't even think about because I was so excited.. I just used compost that has a fair bit of OM in it... but it still seems pretty compacted). I'm not sure how they'll do. The chamomile out in the garden is probably not too happy as it's wet, but we'll call this an experiment and see how things grow. The sweet basil on the porch and the Genovese in the garden are both taking their sweet time doing anything, though I think the sweet basil is starting to bring up some true leaves slowly. I'm sure by the end of the week everything will be going really well.
Attachments
Chitlins playing in the puddles
Chitlins playing in the puddles
Noble Giant Spinach
Noble Giant Spinach
Boltardy Beets
Boltardy Beets
Wando Peas
Wando Peas
Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

One bean is up this morning, and it's pretty big! Still trying to straighten out from the seed, so I think it must have just come up.
Landreth Bush Bean
Landreth Bush Bean
The spaghetti squash is getting bigger and bigger by the minute (those seed leaves are really something). Two are pretty close together (in fact all three are..) but I'm hoping maybe it won't matter.... in that vein, I think the peas and beans are probably too close together. If I need to move things somewhere else, I will try. Hopefully everything will just play nicely together, and maybe I can make a wattle type trellis out of willow branches for the peas (we have an enormous willow tree).
Friendly Wando Peas
Friendly Wando Peas
In other news everything else seems to be doing fine for being 1.5wks post-sowing. I think one onion may have come up, but with my self-induced marigold problem I can't tell anything apart until it starts to get bigger or obvious (the carrot row is stuffed, as well as the beets..easy to see what's what there).

I'm going to make a thread over in the other veggie forum to see what folks think about all these "marigold" seedlings I have coming up. Some are obviously marigolds (still have the seed attached to the seed leaves), but others look more like basil and they are EVERYWHERE..... but as far as I know, we didn't spread basil anywhere other than the row we planted, let alone throwing marigolds wildly all over the place *outside* the bed.
Marigolds for sure
Marigolds for sure
Marigolds???
Marigolds???
I am hoping everything will work out just how I planted it, but bracing myself for the inevitable failure of some things being too close together, or the soil under the several inches of compost being too rocky or sticky for things to get to maturity... or something.

Pretty soon I will be hunting for some rabbit fence. There are bunnies around, and I also smelled the lovely aroma of a skunk wafting in the windows last night. I don't know if they'll go after the plants, but I'd rather not find out. Hopefully the sheer multitude of marigolds will make them barf as they run away....

Speaking of visitors, there was a happy honeybee (maybe a queen? it was really big) cruising back and forth up and down the rows.. nothing to stop and snack on yet, but it was good to see some activity. Some day I'd like to have a hive, amongst other critters.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

The marigold problem has been solved! :-() The red stem seedlings are marigolds. The flat little fat guys are weeds. (Which must have come in with the bagged stuff, since I don't see these little seedlings anywhere else except in the soil and where the soil probably spilled out over the border.... hmm) Since there are still quite a few in areas where other things I planted should be coming up looking very similar, I'm unfortunately waiting a bit to pull most of them so I don't accidentally rip out all of my basil or romaine.... grr. Good news is there are many many less marigolds than I thought. Still a goodly amount, and I will start some more if I need to, but I think once I get a perimeter fence up of some kind, the plethora I have should be plenty. I also have 12ish on the porch looking sad and wanting to get into the ground before they kick the bucket.

The bean from yesterday is fully up and already has several leaves (what??), and the second bean is just breaking the surface. :mrgreen:

The spaghetti squash is getting bigger and I think the true leaves are starting to come up a tiny bit.

Peas are getting bigger, and two are quite close. I'm not sure if I should just leave them? I think I will, and see what happens. If one seems to struggle I guess I will cull one.

The Boltary Beets are coming up, and they are really cool. The tops of the seed leaves are green, but the underside and the stem are fuchsia. I tried my hand at beets once several years ago and they all died pretty shortly (definitely over-watered them.. oops). :flower:

DD2 is teething badly today and very needy, so we only stayed outside for about half an hour, and came back in so she could rest a bit. DD1 was a great teether, never complained, never got sick or had a fever, just woke up with 4 new teeth one morning every time. DD2 suffers from fevers and sleeplessness with hers, and they seem to take forever to come in. Poor thing :(

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Welp, a sad little day in the garden, but hopefully this will help things flourish. Per advice in another thread I started (a PETC award contender, I think...), I pulled all the peas and beans, and thinned the squash to 2 plants instead of 3.

The tomatoes are still far enough apart, I think (they look about 12" apart, maybe I need glasses still...), so hopefully they will be just fine. I need to either put the cages up for them or else just stake them. They're Romas, and I got two Tomato Tower cages from Lowes that look like they are just too big. Maybe they will work fine.

I intended to sort of double-purpose the tomato towers by adding some additional stakes and tying on some horizontal bars (either willow branches or some thin dowels from Lowes that I already have) to those, to use the tomato towers as part of the support for the peppers... BUT I am agreeing with advice given from Applestar that the peppers, whenever they DO sprout, will just not have enough time to fruit, since our season started so late, and I didn't start them indoors. If they do ever come up, I'll just pull them. I really doubt they will, though, given that the soil seems so cool still.

I learned my lesson for next season for sure.. well before this conundrum, actually. Many things I want to start indoors next year for many reasons. One, to beat the long last frost date, and two to know exactly how many plants I have. Also to work the soil with enough time for it to settle before plants need to go in. My only challenge will be where to start things indoors, as the south facing windows are both in areas that the littles frequent (one being their main playing area, the other being the dining area). I have good space that the kids aren't generally allowed in (the office) with western windows, but the western sun hits so hard here in the afternoon that it bakes the house, so we keep the blackout curtains closed past noon. I may just have to invest in lights. Maybe we will be in a different place next season anyway... :>

Anywho, the tomatoes survived the night, and everything else is still taking it's time. I hope the weather warms up at night soon, because these high 40's/low 50's at night don't seem to be doing anything any favors, and I fear that soon it's going to just suddenly be summer, and my greens will bolt before they had a chance to even put up much.

If we are still here next season, which we plan to be, I think I may unfortunately just go for raised beds. The thistle problem scares me a little bit (they are everywhere), and the native soil is just too sticky and full of rocks. Maybe after this spring crop is done, I'll just scoop the whole lot up off the ground (since the bagged stuff never got tilled in, just sitting on top), and put it in a compost pile for the winter. I'll have to plan out more efficiently what I plan to do, but that will give me a better chance of having warmer soil sooner, easier to put hoops up for shade and/or cold cover, and better separation between crawly climbs things and "don't touch me" things :P

So that's where we are. Grand total of:
2 Spaghetti Squash starting to set true leaves
2 Romas now in ground
1 row of Danvers carrots
1 row of Boltardy beets
1 row of Sungold dwarf sunflowers
1 row of Swiss chard that came up kind of spotty
1 row of Romaine that also came up kind of spotty
1 row of Noble Giant Spinach that only popped up about 4 or 5, one of which DD1 yanked out today announcing "WHAT'S THIS???" :eek: :>
1 row of Genovese basil
(and of course, Marigolds throughout)

On the porch:
a pitiful pot of sweet basil that still hasn't set true leaves (and it's been about 2-3 weeks..)
a slightly less pitiful pot of roman chamomile that is starting to finally show any sign of continued life

Lessons learned for next year:
- Forget the native soil. It's a wreck.
- Raised beds. Multiple.
- Better spacing, or else follow SFG (unlikely)
- Plant MORE of things (like more peas..rows of them... more beans.. several rows of greens and root veggies, etc).
- Start. Things. Inside. All the things.
- Breathe a little more. It's a learning experience and it's fun for the kids!

:roll:

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Gardening is a constant learning process, even after you have been doing it a long time.

Don't expect miracles from your first garden in poor soil, while you are learning. Each year will be better!

RE: - Start. Things. Inside. All the things.

Not all things. Cold weather greens, e.g. lettuce, spinach, chard, as well as root crops like carrots and beets are best seeded directly into the ground where they will stay. They can be planted "as soon as the ground can be worked," i.e. it is unfrozen and dried out enough that it doesn't clump up when you turn it. For me when I was in zone 6, that tended to be about a month earlier than average last frost date.

RE: where to start things indoors, as the south facing windows ....

Window sills aren't usually a great place for starting seeds and if you really want to start a lot of things from seed, you won't have room anyway. What works much better is LIGHTS.

Read the seed starting basics thread here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... 48&t=44183. Along with good info, it shows the seed starting operation I used for years:

Image

Those are ordinary fluorescent tubes in shop light fixtures. They are hung from shelves that are wall mounted. I had 8 feet of shelving in each of two levels, but you wouldn't need that much. And hanging the lights from wall mounts means it takes up a very limited footprint. I had old kitchen cabinets that I used for the base. Supported the bottom level of trays and had storage space for all the trays and stuff.

Be thinking about it for next year!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Another bean sprouted up today. Pulled it out ( sad face )... I considered leaving it in just for fun, but my tomatoes are looking so sad right now I didn't want to risk anything competing with them.

On the tomatoes: one has dropped most of its blossoms (including the megabloom.. boo..) and both are pretty droopy. It rained last night gently so they are well watered, but not soaked or beaten up. I think the soil is too cold. :( I hope they make a come back, but it is supposed to rain and be the same temps still until next week when it's suddenly going to spike up to the 80's... just as I feared. Hopefully they won't be too shocked.

The spaghetti squash is loving it though. Finally setting true leaves and moving on with life..

The sunflowers and spinach also have true leaves now, as well as some romaine, but everything else is really taking it's time. I think it's just still so cold at night that everything is waiting for warmer soil. I'm not direct sowing anything that can be started inside next season. Such a waste. :(

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Well, after a horribly long couple of days of nonstop rain and 0 sun, my tomatoes are all but happy. Sad, droopy, turning yellow... the soil is just soaked. But today, and for the next several days, it is supposed to be progressively warmer and sunnier. Maybe they'll dry out and perk up.

The greens are liking it nice and moist though. The romaine is setting true leaves (or leaf..?), the spinach is really going for it now, and the Swiss chard is getting big. Some basil doing it's thing, too. The root crops on the other hand are still just... sitting. I don't know what is happening under the soil but above, we're still sitting with just seed leaves on the carrots and beets. Maybe this is good. Grow little guys, grow!

In other news, the girls and I went for a walk around the property to see how fast the creek was rushing (fast), and check out the apple trees (sad trees). We found a gorgeous tent caterpillar.. which I am unfamiliar with, but have just learned it is apparently a pest. A beautiful pest, still.

In other other news, the power company is doing tree service (again), only this time now they are cutting trees on the property down (which is fine..) and spraying 3 different kinds of herbicides that my children are supposed to stay away from for at least a whole day, and I am not happy. If it drifts, who knows if it's going to get into my porch pots or the garden (or the big corn field behind us), or into my house... it says all over the info packets they gave me that users should not allow it to drift or be sprayed quickly etc etc, but I'm still not pleased. I had opened the windows to finally get some fresh air in after being holed up for several days, when they stopped by, and now I've shut the windows again and we'll be inside for the rest of the week, probably. *grumble*

I am feeling like this garden adventure is at a crossroads: accept some level of defeat and give up on most of it, or make vigorous plans for next year and how to avoid all of the issues I'm having right now. At the moment, I'm leaning towards the first half, because I'm very lazy and low on energy at the moment, but I know if I plan ahead *now*, that next year has a better chance of success. :-/

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

You can scale down your ambitions for your first year garden AND make plans for how to be more successful next year. They go together. One way to scale down the ambitions, is to pull things and let some part of your garden go fallow. You don't want to let it be a weed patch though. So cover the area in cardboard (wetted down) piled on with fall leaves or straw or manure or whatever else you have. This is also preparing for next year. By next year all that will have broken down to make a good rich planting bed. In the meantime now you can focus your efforts on just a small area. One or two 8x4 beds is plenty to start out with.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

I've got one 10?x4 bed now. I just packed too many things in, which I have now thinned out. The problem is the soil is really pretty terrible. Clay with rocks, that I thought was going to be okay (didn't realize it was clay as I'm used to red clay in the South), until after I planted and it rained and turned into a huge sticky compacted mess. So far my spaghetti squash and greens are doing great, but not a lot else happening yet. I'm just waiting to see what happens.

Re the herbicide spraying: it is not going to happen until July or August, which is good but unfortunately almost everything will be just before ready to harvest. I really hope there is no drift, as the spot they are spraying is about 30 feet from the garden. Sigh.

I pruned the tomatoes a little today. They are determinates, but the bottom leaves were touching the soil and really sad. I pinched them off up to where the plants no longer were touching the soil. Good news is I see a couple new blossoms on each plant, so even though they are pretty droopy and not very happy looking right now, they are not all together dying. It's been nice and warm and dry since yesterday now, and supposed to rain tomorrow then be warm and dry hopefully for several days.

At least my dwarf sunflowers are living it up. They're sending out their second set of true leaves now, so that's reassuring at least. If I can't get any food from the garden this year, at least maybe I can have pretty flowers to cut and bring to church. :)

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27717
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Maybe have a disposable tarp and some kind of framework that could be set up quickly ready by then. They can use commercial grade stuff that we are not allowed to use I think?
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.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

applestar wrote:Maybe have a disposable tarp and some kind of framework that could be set up quickly ready by then. They can use commercial grade stuff that we are not allowed to use I think?
They will be spraying Rodeo (RoundUp), Stalker (Imazapyr), and Garlon 4 Ultra. The landlord said NYS has become more strict in recent years about what they can spray, but those still don't look great. And the spot/s they are spraying are spots my kids like to walk. Oh well.. there's no stopping them. :-/

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

With very bad soil like that, the easiest/ quickest way to have good soil is to build raised beds on top. Then your plants are sitting in good soil and it doesn't matter as much what is underneath. Just be sure to poke garden fork holes down into the clay before you fill, for drainage.

My raised beds are built from stacked landscape timbers held together with steel rebar pounded down through the stack (drill a hole first! :) ) and into the ground. Very solid, lasts a long time. And they cost me about $30 per 8x4 bed, which is about as cheap as you can get unless you find free materials on craigslist or freecycle.


Image

My soil isn't as bad as yours. You might want to make yours one timber deeper. This might be something you work on in the fall to have ready to plant in spring.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

:-() :-() :-() We have some success!!! I watered deeply two nights ago after a high 80's day (which also happened to follow a couple of dry dry days), and then yesterday it was 91.. didn't go out to check anything because it was just too hot for the kiddos. Went out this AM before it gets too too hot, and to my very happy surprise, we have tomatoes!!! One plant (the slightly smaller plant that did not have the megabloom - we'll call it mater #2) had one little guy growing, and the big guy, mater #1 has 3! :mrgreen: I know it doesn't mean much yet; they're about as big around as a pencil. I'm just excited to see my plants aren't dying. So, we went around and gathered some tall grass/dried grass clipping clumps to use as mulch (I forgot my gloves at the house, or I would have mulched with the old yucky straw that's in the garden), and generously bedded those babies down. :lol: It's going to be hot again today (maybe 87-89), so hopefully everything will be okay until I can get out by myself to water tonight. (I water from the creek, and don't want the kiddos near when I'm filling the jugs for safety reasons).

Also, the squash is starting to vine out. When it grows it grows fast! The greens are all doing well, the carrots have set true leaves, and the beets are growing out too. There's a lot of crowding going on unfortunately, so I don't know how many will really turn out, but if we can grow even a couple for hubby to snack on in a salad, he'll be happy. The sunflowers are also doing well. The only thing not doing well is the chamomile in the garden which I think just got too wet and has kind of disappeared. The chamomile and basil on the porch are doing okay, need some water, but growing slowly. Ah, and the marigolds in the garden are really shooting up now. Soon the garden will be covered in orange. If they make it that far... :> I'm just a little excited to see some progress after a slow, iffy start.

I'm planning to start making some notes about what to start indoors next year, what to direct sow/when, what conditions things seem to be doing good in, etc. If everything works nicely this year in the native soil/bagged topping deal I have going, I will probably till it all in after the season's end (depending on any fall crop I try), and maybe work out another bed for next year to start up now. I've been saving food scraps for compost, but we have a skunk around here somewhere and some whistle pigs (ground hogs as I always called them until we moved to the South... hehe), amongst other critters, and they seem keen on getting into the trash and rooting through the food scraps I've thrown out in the brush... so maybe compost for now will have to wait.

Ah, lastly, we saw this beautiful caterpillar while we were gathering grass for mulch. Last time we saw a beautiful tent caterpillar (a shame it's a pest, I guess..), and this time I can't seem to determine what kind it is. It was crawling around under a pine tree on some leaves. (See photos.. maybe someone knows?)

:flower: :-() :flower:
Attachments
Maters!
Maters!
Caterpillar
Caterpillar

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Everything is looking great!

RE: whistle pigs (ground hogs as I always called them until we moved to the South... hehe), amongst other critters, and they seem keen on getting into the trash and rooting through the food scraps I've thrown out in the brush... so maybe compost for now will have to wait

Where I used to live we had lots of raccoons, ground hogs and other critters. I always had to have my compost pile enclosed. I have used both of these kinds of bins:
Image

earth machine type plastic bin

and Image

wire grid bin (but it has to have cover!)

Both worked just fine. Compost is still the best thing you can do for your garden!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

A new day, a new adventure... today we have... cucumber beetles :x eating up my squash leaves and living like rockstars! Cheeky little buggers!! (see photos.....) I guess we'll have to just keep on top of picking them off, and keep a bucket of soapy water around. Sigh! They've put a nice dent in my squash that looked quite happy yesterday..

At least my tomatoes are doing nicely, already since yesterday considerably larger! Didn't get to water last night so did a little strategic child handling and managed to get everything watered this AM before the sun really sets in. I think mulching now that I know the plants are indeed alive and fruitful is really helping already. I am curious though.... both plants are maybe 12-18" tall, and already setting fruit. Not big enough to warrant sticking my tomato towers in (I feel like those may be better suited to indeterminate varieties... hmmm), but when the fruits start getting bigger... well, I guess I'll stake them?

Everything else happily moving along. The beets and carrots really zoomed into growth this week, and the Swiss chard is finally starting to get a little girth to it. Spinach is on the 3rd or 4th set of little leaves now. Hopefully it will make enough to warrant picking before it tries to bolt. Temps are now going back down to mid-high 70's with a spike back up over the weekend, and then back down. I think the few hot days this week may have actually helped things grow along a bit better, since it's been so so cold. Looking forward to some rain next!
Attachments
Cheeky little guys!
Cheeky little guys!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27717
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Tomato towers -- wire tomato supports?

Well, let me put it this way -- one I think you would appreciate -- ever try to put a shirt on a child who doesn't want you to put it on him/her? Wish you had 8 hands? Tomatoes are like that. Put them on while they are small and unresisting. You'll thank me later. :wink:
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.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

applestar wrote:Tomato towers -- wire tomato supports?

Well, let me put it this way -- one I think you would appreciate -- ever try to put a shirt on a child who doesn't want you to put it on him/her? Wish you had 8 hands? Tomatoes are like that. Put them on while they are small and unresisting. You'll thank me later. :wink:
They're these things.. I got them from Lowe's; they looked sturdier than the cone shaped kind. I think the spacing it just too big.. but I have no idea how tall these plants will get. They have only grown a few inches since I got them a month ago. (Though they have matured considerably) : https://www.amazon.com/Panacea-Products ... B002716PH2

ETA: I guess I should say the reviews on there don't match my product at all. Mine are very sturdy, and are not just flimsy galvanized wire.. they're coated. But the shape (and brand..) is the same.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

:( Something came in and ate half the garden. All but one sunflower nibbled down to stumps, some swiss chard - stumps, one squash - stumpy, some beets - stumpy. The neighbor's zucchini got hit too. I'm thinking deer, bunnies (less likely as neighbors stuff in tall raised bed), or whistle pig that I saw outside the garden fence last week. They left my spinach, romaine, basil, and tomatoes alone, so I guess they weren't a fan of Mediterranean fare... lol! I'm bummed, but my other squash has shot right up past the cucumber beetle damage, and my maters are getting big and fat, so I'm still pleased with my tiny garden at the moment. Wondering if anything will grow back....

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27717
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Oh no! That is always heart wrenching after you have been watching and helping your garden growing through all of the trials. :cry:

Start thinking fencing right away. Our up some scares -- does not always work but it helps you feel like you are doing something. You can get your kids to help. Immediate and fun is drawing faces on aluminum pans (I recycle ones from the Italian place take out). If you don't want them to use permanent markers, try making shapes with waterproof stickers or cut pieces from duct tape -- I borrowed my DD's hot pink and fluorescent green tape.

When they were little, I only let them use black sharpie while sitting outside on the patio table. Regular black sharpie is not fade/weather resistant, but it also comes off easily with rubbing alcohol.

Hang these with long strings so they would blow around in the wind and bang on stuff -- each other, metal posts and fences. Random bangs are very effective. Works in daylight and dark. In the sun the aluminum flashes, another plus.


Totally simple -- hang plastic bottles, balled up aluminum foil

Caveat -- long strings make them wrap around each other and around sticks and objects. After a thunderstorm, you might as well just cut them down, so better to use biodegradable string. Best effect if you move them around.

Old garden hoses can become pretend snakes. Put something that looks like a head on one end, and black beady eyes.

I have no experience with deer, but there have been many suggestions on the forum. One that seem to make sense to me as temporary measure is strings strung at hock/knee and chest/neck high.
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.

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Thanks for the suggestions! We will see if there is any more damage today and go from there..

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Sounds like ground hog damage to me. But whether ground hog or bunny, the answer is the same - fencing!

Since I grow in raised beds, I fence them in individually. Deer netting or wire bunny fencing are cheap and easy.

Deer netting
Image

bunny wire fencing:
IMG_1689.JPG
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Shanghaisky
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:31 pm
Location: Upstate NY/ Zone 5a/b

Re: Shanghaisky's 2017 Garden

Whatever it was has not done any more damage yet! My other squash is actually shooting new leaves despite the damage.. maybe it will recover?? The sunflowers look pretty toast though except the one survivor. We will see what can be done..

Return to “Vegetable Garden Progress + Photos & Videos”