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TheWaterbug
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Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

In anticipation of the 3rd Annual (?) Pick-and-Paint Pumpkin Patch Party, I've prepped the patch!

Image

I broadforked each site, then tilled in some manure and mounded them up a bit, with a slightly concave top so the water doesn't run down the sides. And then I put in the drip system and put on the protective cages.

Per jal_ut's suggestion I'm going to sow the seeds directly in the patch instead of into starter cups.

Two years ago I sowed seeds on June 20th, and they were all green on Halloween. Last year I planted May 7th and they were past their prime by Halloween, so this year I'm going to plant right now and be just right :)
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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Re: Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

TheWaterbug wrote:In anticipation of the 3rd Annual (?) Pick-and-Paint Pumpkin Patch Party, I've prepped the patch!

Image

I broad forked each site, then tilled in some manure and mounded them up a bit, with a slightly concave top so the water doesn't run down the sides. And then I put in the drip system and put on the protective cages.

Per jal_ut's suggestion I'm going to sow the seeds directly in the patch instead of into starter cups.

Two years ago I sowed seeds on June 20th, and they were all green on Halloween. Last year I planted May 7th and they were past their prime by Halloween, so this year I'm going to plant right now and be just right :)
May 7th to June 20th is about 6 weeks. That's a pretty big difference. If you are shooting for the middle, that would have been about May 28th.

Did you start your seeds in contains the two previous years? I have a feeling your plants will establish and grow much quicker direct sown. You may have to adjust your planting schedule slightly later next year to compensate. You also have to remember each year is different.

Have fun and grow Delicata for me next year. :D

Eric

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TheWaterbug
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Re: Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

DoubleDogFarm wrote:May 7th to June 20th is about 6 weeks. That's a pretty big difference. If you are shooting for the middle, that would have been about May 28th.

Did you start your seeds in contains the two previous years? I have a feeling your plants will establish and grow much quicker direct sown. You may have to adjust your planting schedule slightly later next year to compensate. You also have to remember each year is different.

Have fun and grow Delicata for me next year. :D
June 20 probably wasn't that late; my real problem in 2010 was that I lost all my early young fruit to squirrels and/or peafowl. It took me a good month of trial and error (mostly error) until I figured out a solution, so I didn't really get any pumpkins set until late September.

So last year I completely overcompensated and planted in May.

The seed packets typically say 100-110 days for Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins, so even July 1 should be safe for planting, but I'm going to be out of town on an extended trip, so I need to plant early rather than late.
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Hope it goes well for ya :D Trying my hand at pumpkins too- one big max in the ground, and red warty things everywhere else! With your weather you might be a bit better off than me!

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Re: Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

TheWaterbug wrote:
DoubleDogFarm wrote:May 7th to June 20th is about 6 weeks. That's a pretty big difference. If you are shooting for the middle, that would have been about May 28th.

Did you start your seeds in contains the two previous years? I have a feeling your plants will establish and grow much quicker direct sown. You may have to adjust your planting schedule slightly later next year to compensate. You also have to remember each year is different.

Have fun and grow Delicata for me next year. :D
June 20 probably wasn't that late; my real problem in 2010 was that I lost all my early young fruit to squirrels and/or peafowl. It took me a good month of trial and error (mostly error) until I figured out a solution, so I didn't really get any pumpkins set until late September.
What is this solution for pests that you mentioned?
John
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Re: Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

dtlove129 wrote:What is this solution for pests that you mentioned?
I believe it is the cages that he has built and placed over the planting sites.

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Oh, well I didnt' see how they protected against anything once the plant started producing fruit. That is why I thought there may be something else.
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TheWaterbug
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Re: Ready to plant pumpkins!!!

dtlove129 wrote:
TheWaterbug wrote:June 20 probably wasn't that late; my real problem in 2010 was that I lost all my early young fruit to squirrels and/or peafowl. It took me a good month of trial and error (mostly error) until I figured out a solution, so I didn't really get any pumpkins set until late September.
What is this solution for pests that you mentioned?
[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=198240#198240]Chicken wire cages[/url] for each and every individual plant and baby pumpkin:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/AntiSquirrelCages.jpg[/img]

I use this [url=https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100384027/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=chicken+wire&storeId=10051]hideously expensive plastic mesh[/url] from my local Home Depot.

For the small cages I cut it into 3' x 1' strips (e.g. 1/3 the width of the roll) and roll that into a cylinder, then put a 1' x 1' lid on top, all secured with twist ties.

For the large cages I cut 4.5' x 1.5' strips (1/2 roll width) with a 1.5' x 1.5' lid.

So the cages end up costing a ~$1 - $2 each, but I'm using some of them for the 3rd season now, and they don't seem to age or deteriorate at all.

They work very well against squirrels and peafowl, but they're [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=219439#219439]useless against gophers[/url].

dtlove, I see from your other posts that you're having problems with raccoons. I think they're far too smart for this sort of solution.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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Yeah those wouldn't work for my raccoon problem, that is why I asked what you had in case it was something besides these cages. Plus I don't think I want to make oh over a 1000 of them 7 feet tall to put over each corn stalk haha.
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Maturation dates of veggie varieties as published, means they take that many days where the seed was developed. It may take more or less time in your garden. I find that 110 day pumpkins take 120 days here and 75 day corn takes 85 days. With our average lower temps, it just takes more time for things to mature. For me, pumpkin planting day is May 5, or as soon thereafter as the ground is right. The limiting factor is the first frost in the fall. You can see when that is on my siggy. The pumpkins need to be mature before frost, and yes that is some time before Halloween.

How many seeds will you put in each spot? I usually put 4 seeds to a hill. I am fortunate that I don't have all the critters pestering the plants that you mention. We have skunks, raccoons, and gophers, but none of these seem to bother the squash and pumpkins. The peacocks mysteriously disappeared.

With a little luck, you are going to have a lot of pumpkins. :P
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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We're pretty much "true to packet" here in SoCal, or at least that's what I've seen in the last two years. If I plant at the "right" time for a particular plant, we are pretty much on target.

Last year planted my Bilicious and Delectable corn in mid-late May, and it came at the estimated times, plus or minus 5 days.

This year I started some Bodacious corn early, on March 11. I checked an ear this morning, and inside it looks a small carrot, so I'm guessing it still has 2-3 weeks left to go before it's ripe. That would put it nearly 3 weeks late, but I was expecting that because I planted when it was still cold.

I planted more Bodacious on April 12, and it doesn't look like it's a full month behind the March crop.
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I'm direct sowing 4 seeds per hill. If I get any disasters I'll resow, and if I have any late losses, such as gopher attacks :evil:, I'll pick up a 4-inch pot from Home Depot or something.

No worries about frost here in LA :D

My first year I averaged 2.5 fruit per plant, and last year I got nearly 3. They're not huge, but they don't really need to be, since most of the kids are in the 5-7 age range. I am going to fertilize this year, and I haven't previously, so we'll see if the size and/or numbers go up.
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TheWaterbug wrote:I'm direct sowing 4 seeds per hill.
I'm glad I couldn't find the bag of seeds I saved from one of last year's pumpkins, and also that The Home Depot was out of pumpkin seeds. Because then I went to Armstrong's and bought some Jack-o-Lantern (as usual) but also some [url=https://gurneys.com/lumina-pumpkin/p/14917/]Lumina[/url], [url=https://rareseeds.com/jarrahdale-pumpkin.html]Jarrahdale[/url], [url=https://www.harrisseeds.com/storefront/p-718-pumpkin-spooktacular.aspx]Spooktacular[/url], and Sugar Pie seeds. I planted these all today.

So if all goes well I'll have a variety of types this year. I still planted a majority of JOLs, as I'm a bit risk averse, and I've never tried growing these other varieties before. But if they all do well (and if they're popular amongst the kids at the party) I could make this a regular thing and grow 5-6 different varieties.

I still need to find a place to plant an Atlantic Giant (although I'm probably quite late for this) because the first place I envisioned is a rocky, pebbly mess.
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Connecticut Field pumpkins have been good for me, but I can't always get the seed, so tried some Howden. They were good too. Both are larger than Jack-o-lantern.

I don't save seed from pumpkins because I grow several varieties in that same genus and they freely cross. I have plenty of bees to spread the pollen around. I don't want to grow weird looking squash and I know that is what you get from these crosses.

If you only have pumpkins and no summer squash nor zucchini around, saving seeds would be a good option.

I save seed from Butternut and Hubbard since both of these are in a different genus.
No worries about frost here in LA
That's good. It froze here last night. June 10 and still freezing. Rats!
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TheWaterbug wrote:I still need to find a place to plant an Atlantic Giant (although I'm probably quite late for this) because the first place I envisioned is a rocky, pebbly mess.
Well, I'm going to amend that to "bouldery, rocky mess" as I pulled this out of the ground yesterday:

Image

along [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=261511#261511]with some smaller rocks[/url]. My Meadow Creature's broadfork triumphs again!

I'm glad I didn't give up, because I did finally get it tilled and amended, so now I have two Atlantic Giants planted:

Image

The far planting gets pretty much full sun all day, and the near one gets some afternoon shade after about 3:30. We'll see how much of a difference that makes over the next few months.

I broadforked and then tilled an ~8' x ~8' bed for each, then tilled in 2 cu ft of manure into each center section. After that I mixed in another cu ft of bagged "topping" soil to build up the mound.

That area is roughly 20' x 40', so each plant should have 400 sf to sprawl, if they're so inclined. If I get ambitious I may try tilling up and amending the rest of the grass to give them extra rooting area beyond the initial 8' x 8' square.

This area is also where we hold the pumpkin party, so a few days beforehand I'll probably remove all the vines except for the one growing the fruit. And if it/they are of any respectable size, we'll do a "guess the weight" contest.

It's amazing; I can buy a [url=https://www.amazon.com/Do-All-Outdoors-Power-550-Pounds-Scale/dp/B003XJEO84/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2P65URC5TRA85&colid=JVUS06A3K9TF]550 lb. hanging scale[/url] for only $20! I'll still have to build some sort of tripod or something, and maybe buy a block and tackle or chain hoist or something. Then again I'm getting way ahead of myself; the seeds haven't even germinated and I'm fantasizing about pumpkins that are too heavy to lift :D
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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Looks like a fun spot for pumpkins - good luck!

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Unbelievable! Nearly all my JOLs are emerging already, and it's only been 3-4 days!

I've started them in cups in previous years, and they've taken 10-14 days to emerge. Jal_ut may be on to something here . . .
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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TheWaterbug wrote:Unbelievable! Nearly all my JOLs are emerging already, and it's only been 3-4 days!
Here's a Jack-o-lantern as of this morning:

Image

I put the seed in on Saturday, into some dampish soil, but I didn't water it in until Sunday morning. So this is really just 4 days in, and it's up!

I think another factor that delayed germination in previous years was I was planting directly into 100% potting mix, which is really coarse and loose and doesn't hold much water. Even though I was keeping it pretty wet, there just wasn't enough contact with the seed to transfer water to to it.

Now that I'm direct sowing, I'm mixing this potting mix with my native clay, and the texture is much denser. It also has little opportunity to dry out, since I drip-watered the hill for a few days before planting to charge the soil a bit.
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Here's a better picture:

Image
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TheWaterbug
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Lookee here:

Image

This is my Atlantic Giant plant, less than a month after direct sowing seeds into the soil. My other pumpkin varieties are doing similarly well. They're not quite this size, but they all have plenty of full-sized leaves, and it looks like they're ready to start vining.

I'm going to conclude that jal_ut is correct about direct-sowing these. In previous years I've started the seeds in starter cups and then transplanted after 4-5 weeks, and there's no way they were this size when I transplanted. They were probably 1/4 this size or smaller.

This weekend I'll hit them with some fertilizer, too. I didn't fertilize in previous years.
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dtlove129
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Good luck. I think I lost my giant pumpkin plant with all this heat. It looks really bad. My 2 smaller pumpkins look pretty good considering our weather lately.
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TheWaterbug
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TheWaterbug wrote:Lookee here:

Image

This is my Atlantic Giant plant, less than a month after direct sowing seeds into the soil.
Here are my two Atlantic Giant vines, 8 weeks + 3 days after sowing:

Image

I'm surprised that my partially-shaded one is outgrowing the full sun one. It probably has twice the leaf area. This weekend I buried the secondary vines and added some more drip line to give the secondary nodes some water.

I've been snipping off female flowers that started too close/too early. I've read that I need to select a fruit that's 10-12 feet from the plant's origin, to give the vine enough slack to rise off the ground as the fruit grows.

My "regular" pumpkins are also vining like crazy, and I'm guessing that the fertilizer is helping there as well. I already have some fruit that are the size of a normal cantaloupe, so I am way too early this year. Again.

Based on my results closer to Halloween I may delay planting next year until July 1st or so.
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looking great! I have to go vertical to get that kind of space ;) I just hope I get the development.
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I'm guessing that the fertilizer is helping

What did you use for a fertilizer :?:
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Looking good. My pumpkins are ahead of yours, but then I have to plant about May 5 to get them mature by mid September when our frost comes. I fertilized mine three times with urea. Yes, the fertilizer makes a big difference. I am starting to get some pretty good fruits. With another month to grow they should do well.

You can still side dress them with some fertilizer if you want to.

Have fun!
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bell7283 wrote:
I'm guessing that the fertilizer is helping
What did you use for a fertilizer :?:
I'm using [url=https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202519325/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=liquinox&storeId=10051#.UCM3FI4-fhE]Liquinox Grow, 10-10-5[/url], diluted 4 capsful to a 2 gallon watering can.

For the rest of my pumpkin patch I'm using a 1 pint fertilizer injector with my drip system.
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Here's one of my Luminas:

Image

It's supposed to be 95 days, and this is only 60. It's supposed to grow up to 12 lbs, 8-10 inches tall, and "ghostly white" by the time it's done.

It's still got a tinge of green to it right now. I need to get a cage over it before the peafowl peck it to death.
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Urea???

Nice white pumpkin!



jal_ut wrote: I fertilized mine three times with urea.

What other plants like a fertilizer with that much nitrogen?

I ask because I have a wild pumpkin in my front yard.... By wild, I mean the squirrels ate my pumpkin off the door step last fall and now I have a pumpkin growing in my front yard. But its doing pretty good. Now I want to get the most out of it. If urea can be used for other plants besides pumpkins, I may order some.


[img]https://i1076.photobucket.com/albums/w447/bell7283/DSC_0047.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1076.photobucket.com/albums/w447/bell7283/DSC_0046.jpg[/img]
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Here's the rest of the patch:

Image

Regarding the nitrogen, I've read that you're supposed to use nitrogen-heavy fertilizers early, to get all the leafy growth, and then switch to a mix with more potassium to promote fruiting.

I've pretty much got all the vine and leaf that I need, I think, so I may try to find a higher K fertilizer this weekend.
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TheWaterbug wrote:Regarding the nitrogen, I've read that you're supposed to use nitrogen-heavy fertilizers early, to get all the leafy growth, and then switch to a mix with more potassium to promote fruiting.
Dunno [url=https://pumpkinnook.com/howto/fertile.htm]how authoritative this is[/url], but it's generally consistent with what I've read elsewhere.
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The coming week looks really good for pumpkins!

Image

Rapid vining!!!
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Nice temps, but you will need to water! :)
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

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I've got an automated drip system :)

There's no way I could handle 30 plants if I watered manually. I tried that my first season, and it took me more than an hour. And that's when the plants were small!
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I wish we could share some of our rain. Its been so rainy here the past few weeks, I'm now fighting a small mold problem. It rained so hard yesterday we had small flash floods, which I'm sure won't help my mold issues!

On a happy note, there is finally green grass again.
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TheWaterbug wrote: then switch to a mix with more potassium to promote fruiting.

I think I might try this. I only have the one pumpkin on my plant so I would love a few more before its to late. Thank you
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Hey Waterbug, I sent you a PM regarding your panorama setup. You may not have realized I did so (or you are ignoring me). :)

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TheWaterbug
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Fig3825 wrote:Hey Waterbug, I sent you a PM regarding your panorama setup. You may not have realized I did so (or you are ignoring me). :)
Hmm. I sent you an email a few weeks ago. But anyway, I figured this is something that can be shared more broadly, so I just pasted it into a [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=270027#270027]posting in the Other forum[/url].
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This may be the only redeeming feature of Apple's new mobile Maps app, but the satellite imagery appears to be newer than Google's. I do believe this is my grid of pumpkin plants, whereas Google shows horses in the paddock (e.g. before I bought the house nearly 3 years ago):

Image
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The 3rd Annual Pick-and-Paint-Pumpkin-Patch-Party, presented by Painted Peacock Productions, (aka PaPPPP pbPPP) was a success! We had about 50 kids and about 100 pumpkins, so I let each kid take as many has (s)he wanted. Some of the kids took 3 or 4, which meant some of the parents went home carrying 5 or 6 :D

The Luminas were very popular, and every single one got picked, save one hiding under some pretty spiny stems. They also tolerated being early very well, as none of them rotted, and they didn't even get the bumpy callouses suffered by the JOLs. My 3 Lumina vines also produced pretty well, and I think I got 10-12 decent-sized fruit, total. They were dense and heavy, and the skins were beautifully smooth and uniform.

The Jarrahdales were a mixed bag. One of my 3 vines died, so I only had 2 left, and those 2 produced 6-7 fruit, but they got peacock-bitten, so some were grossly misshapen. The biggest "problem" with these is that the fruit aren't brightly colored, so they ended up being hidden under the foliage, and a lot of the kids never even saw them. But those that got picked were well used, and produced some very artistic results. Here's a Jarrahdale, the 4th pumpkin chosen by this young neighbor of mine:

Image

The 15 Jack-O-Lantern vines (including volunteers) were fine, as always. I got 3-4 fruit/vine, but they don't tolerate sitting on the ground for 6 weeks very well. I have ~15 that rotted to unusability, and another 15 that the kids "just didn't like" because they got those bumpy callouses on the ground side.

Of the ~30 pumpkins I have left over (of varying quality) I doubt I can use more than 5-6 for food, myself, so my neighbors' horses will get a few.

I also grew some Sugar Pie and Spooktacular, but I couldn't really tell them apart from the small JOLs because the vines grew so rampant and criss-crossed each other. But the small pumpkins (of any type) were very popular amongst the girls who didn't want to carry a big honkin' fruit.

My two Big Max vines made 2 decent size (20-40 lbs) fruits apiece, which I put a few at the top of the driveway and at the front door for decoration. The other two were taken by ambitious kids, much to the chagrin of their parents who had to carry them home :D

I may try jal_ut's suggestion and grow a few Connecticut Field vines next year.

And the Atlantic Giants' [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=277741#277741]tale is told, here[/url].

All in all, a very successful pumpkin season, and I'm already looking forward to next year!!!
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Way to go. Happy Halloween.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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