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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bed #2 last day of June


This is my third try posting this via mobile email (ach!) its really growing alot. More soon, if this works!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

little garden update

Here is a newer picture of the tomato/broccoli bed.
I noticed a few carrots sprouting in that bare patch this morning. And a few cantaloupes spouted last week.

We received some torrential rain and all the veggies looked so sad, but seem to be a bit perkier today. I am however, a bit worried about the over watering, and haven't watered personally in almost a week.
A few of my tomatoes are flowering, and I believe that the peas are pretty much done for the season. We are working now, on trying to prepare the planting sites for the Cherry tree, the strawberries and blueberries, before adding any more vegetable beds (which I really need!).
This morning I also found several slugs and some mealy bugs on my asparagus....eww!

This is the Apple after the sulphur spray. I worried that the sediment would harm the leaves, but all that rain washed it away, and I won't retreat for a week. They seem to be neither better or worse.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Pictures Early June

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lessons in the garden....I feel like I am actually learning!

I was so excited to see that there are pretty decently sized potatoes when went to check them last night. I was trying to decide if I should add soil to hill them or if the straw was sufficient. I decided to add soil to every plant once I saw the state of growth. I want more than a few taters per plant, and I felt like the straw was just turning the already weak stalks to mush and harboring slugs closer to the plant than I would like.Since I am hoping to multiply the number of potatoes that we harvest by keeping them hilled well, I thought the best "method" was a combination of methods. I pulled back my straw "hills" and added approximately 5 gallons of soil per hill, maybe more on the larger plants....and replaced the straw. I tried to use the really moist, soggy straw against the soil hills, and the drier, outermost straw further up the plant to support the "hilling".

Some of the spuds looked edible. Like these small ones in the picture they were about the size you would pick out to make baked potatoes for the kids...or for roasts (new potato sized, and some smaller, too).....BEAUTIFUL!!!! I can't describe how excited I was to see these little tubers, I had to run to the house to grab a phone or camera to take a picture! I imagine digging them in a few months, and I am just so proud of my little "grocery store" sprouted potatoes...and everyone says they treat them to prevent sprouting! HA! these had HUGE gangly sprouts!!! Next year I will fork up the moola for seed potatoes, and rotate beds or cover crops to avoid issues with pest and disease...but as for experimental food growing.....I think we're doin' alright!!!
(now lets try garlic again!)

the Asparagus i s doing pretty well. I have noticed some slight yellowing of the ferns but they seem healthy despite this. I am trying a foliar iron feed to help with this and I intend to allow them to dry a bit more between waterings, as I have read this can cause yellowing as well. But I figured the iron wouldn't hurt, and I was spraying the blueberries anyways.....

I have been fertilizing about every other week with a 13-13-13 all purpose. Some of the spears have been coming up so thick that it is very tempting to taste one, but I know that it would risk the health of the crowns so I don't! But it is mouth wateringly tempting. I am thinking about withholding Nitrogen, so I may have to buy a new fertilizer, so the ferns don't get too spindly.

The first picture shows how many spears are forming from one healthy crown. This second picture shows the size of spears that have been coming up. This one is about to loosen and turn into fern......
I can't wait to harvest something from the garden!

Yesterday I noticed a bunch of yellow orange eggs under a potato leaf, and from reading I know that is a Colorado potato beetle larva cluster (most likely), and we smooshed them without prejudice (and without talking a picture). I have also noticed a lot of flea beetle activity on the potatoes as well, I have just not concluded what I will do about it. Other than that, there haven't been a lot of Japanese Beetles, YET....or cabbage worms, like my father in law had on his broccoli. they are crafty little buggers, hiding along the leaf veins and are a bluish green like the broccoli (because that is what they chowed down on!) and that makes them very hard to find!!! I have only found one in my garden and it was a striped one. And I also found one asparagus beetle as well. Any other holes we've found that weren't from caterpillars and flea beetles have likely been due to slugs. Which is starting to become a nuisance. I think I may need some Diatomaceous earth. That or beer bait, but I think I'd rather drink it!

Overall, the garden is doing quite well. I have been working on moving the compost and bins to the other side of the garden. And preparing to plant out fruits. I have spent a lot of time investigating pale green new growth in blueberries. The only conclusion I can come to is that the soil in their pots has a higher PH than it should. This prevents the uptake of important nutrients such as: Nitrogen, Sulfur, Iron , Magnesium and other trace minerals that are important for the proper chlorination of the leaves.....the best and most sure way to solve this is to acidify the soil greatly, and feed with an acid loving plant food, as for azaleas. I will have to mix peat into the planting and test the ph often. I plan to mulch with chopped oak leaves, pine bark and needles. I have heard that commercial growers mayy use leaf testing over soil testing to manage PH and nutrients because the test results fluctuate so much through out the growing seson, it may be more accurate. That is something to check out in the future....once they are planted!

Edit: "Iron is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the
green color in plants and necessary for photosynthesis (sugar production in plants).
Any reduction in chlorophyll during the growing season reduces plant growth,
vigor, and tolerance to stress conditions. Plants with reduced vigor from iron
chlorosis are more prone to winter injury, and winter injury may aggravate an iron
chlorosis problem. Weakened plants also are more susceptible to other diseases
and insect infestations." (read from : coloradogarden notes iron chlorosis _)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Garden Tasks Ahead

Well, there is so much to do in the garden that is just waiting on me to get out there....I thought I should make a list so nothing is left undone. I figured what is better than a rainy day to figure out what you want to do?

  1. Till and amend soil for strawberry patch. Build bed, plant and mulch. Layer.
  2. Clear, and build beds for Blueberry Bushes. Amend soil and acidify. Plant, and mulch.
  3. Weed tilled area for cherry to be replanted (if it lives), plant and mulch.
  4. Turn compost and begin disassembling and reassembling compost bins.
  5. Weed, prune, train and mulch black raspberries. Remove and give away suckers.
  6. weed, and contain blackberries. Layer.
  7. clear, till and amend soil for red raspberries. Layer.
Those are the major projects......
Here's the scoop on the veggies.

So far it seems the broccoli grows everyday, and the tomatoes are not far behind....
No carrot sprouts yet, but they are notoriously slow germinators, and I used the $.10 seeds, so I am just crossing my fingers.

We have been picking peas everyday, to keep the plants growing...but I have decided that I really do like garden peas, so next year I will plan better. The peas that I am growing were actually meant to be a cover crop, and they germinated so slow that I ended up just letting them stay in place with the potatoes.

We planted some bean vines to fill in the chainlink fence next to the hops and they have spouted and appear to be growing pretty well. But they could also use some compost and straw mulch.

The Potatoes are mostly flowering, and I actually picked a few of the above ground fruits off, because I didn't really know if I should allow the plants to waste energy maturing them. I have never grown potatoes successfully and I am trying each and everything once, just so I will have the expirience under my belt and to give me something to contemplate; successes and failures.
So far, these potates have flea beetles. But they don't seem to be doing too much damage.
I am trying to "hill" the potatoes with straw, because it seemed like a really clever trick, (or so I have read), but that seems to encourage slugs. The smallest of the plants are the ones that seem to be sprouting spuds (yes, I check them.....) But the larger ones do not. I have considered pulling back some of the straw and adding more soil, but I don't really have soil just laying around!

Again, I think next year we will do things a bit more organized. I am very excited about the prospect of homegrown potatoes, as that is a tuber we all love and can use a lot of. Although they are relatively cheap, I still find it really cool to grow my own....well, when I really learn how!!!

There are tons of methods for planting potatoes. I used the straw method. There is also the hill method and a oft overlooked tire method. Whatever works for you.....I am still waiting to see if this is going to "work" for me!!! I hear potatoes grown in straw hills have fewer and smaller tubers, but since I have no comparison, I won't know they are smaller! Besides, they were sprouted store-bought russets anyways!!!

Today I fertilized the Asparagus bed and the tomato/pepper bed. But the rain stopped me from getting much else done......more later!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nugget Hops "Bines"

Nugget Hops from burgess also...
It seems the perennials faired well, but the trees are a bit less hardy....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Pea Pickin' good time!

She insisted she could pop the pea pods herself, and I should :"Go do tay-toes".....

She had no problems popping the peas, rolling them into a dish and throwing the pods into a bowl for the compost pile....her only problem was making sure Mom didn't help!

Latest garden issues

Say Hello to my little friend........
This is so upsetting to me because these have only been here for about two months and already they are DYING...ok so maybe not, but this is one of those deals where they aren't going to just magically get "all better" I will have to spray with fungicide several times a year...I personally do not even own anything in the juniper family, and the neighbors don't have any within my visual range....I did consider driving around the block to see if they had any as ornamentals out front....
but I don't know what good it would do to ask everyone within a 2-5 mile radius to kindly perform genecide on one of their ill- thought out ornamental shrubs...because it is causing problems for my fruit.....
UGH!!! so I am reading up on this issue a bit more, and I will have to make a decision 'granny smith' looks pretty blistered and the 'lodi' is runner up!
My North Star Pie Cherry may be getting too much water as it has not put on ANY new growth!
UPDATE JUNE 15 2009:

From my research online and in my Organic Gardening encyclopedia and Fruit books, the solution is a Sulfur spray. I just so happened to have some agricultural grade sulfur (from when we broke a thermometer and used it in powder form to turn the mercury into a sloid for cleanup.)
I had also used this sulfer to dust my potato pieces before planting.
Today I mixed a solution using the instructions on the package and using a borrowed sprayer that I washed neurotically (for fear of herbicide residue, or worse!) It was 3 TB of sulfer mixed into a paste to one gallon of water. I had 3/4 of a gallon of freshly mixed dilute iron water, and I mixed the sulfer with it. Hopefully this will not pose a problem. (seems like I read about not mixing copper and sulfer or something). I did dilute it further once the sulfer was mixed in. And sprayed the upper and under surface of the leaves. I will repeat every 7-10 days until it looks better. If it looks worse I will remix and nix the iron. (just in case that makes Iron Sulfate and that turns out to be a bad thing!)

The Garden Lately

These are my Ever sweet Strawberries, as you can see I am trying to root the runners before planting. And the next pic is the Blueberries; two each of three varieties: Elliot, O'Neal, and Chippewa. They currently reside in a thick mulch of chopped oak leaves until planting. This is also where I found my Giant Worm, if I ever get a chance to post a pick of him, I will.

These are the two "rotational" beds the one with the bird bath is Potato and Peas. The other bed has Tomato in the cages, peppers in between a few of them and broccoli down the front and side. I also seeded carrots in front of that, and cantelopes behind the tomatoes against a fence, but alas, no sprouts! :(

And finally, this is the Asparagus bed. I have been waiting YEARS to plant this. As it takes 3 years minimum to reach harvestable maturity, waiting is the last thing you want do. These are "Jersey Knight" hybrid, male crowns I purchased from Burgess (in Bloomington, IL) I believe it was something like $5 for I jumped on it. I water it, mulch, feed and weed it like the rest of the garden, and sometime in 2011, I can eat some! :)