Gardening, the new year

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Thu May 23, 2013 8:22 am

Anyone here grow sweet potatoes?

I planted 10 vines last night, this is my first attempt. Do these need to be "mounded" like regular potatoes?

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby frugaltype » Thu May 23, 2013 9:09 am

Mudpuppy wrote:Funny thing is, I'm actually more concerned about what happened to the toads than by the snail explosion. There's plenty of ways to deal with the snails before I set out the main summer veggies. But the toads have been a part of my backyard ecosystem for years and I'm wondering where they are. I found one dead one during the winter and I haven't seen any others (although my parents said one was on my doorstep when they came to visit a couple of weekends ago). I'm hoping that the new neighbors aren't getting rid of them, not realizing how beneficial they are to snail control.


Toads/frogs dying off world wide.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby Birdie55 » Thu May 23, 2013 7:37 pm

Sweet potatoes do not need to be mounded, but they will vine so you can plant them in front of a trellis if you want them up vs on the ground.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Mon May 27, 2013 9:02 pm

No luck with the sweet potatoes. I have tried twice and got burned by cold weather both times. SPs must be very tender plants, as the last little cold snap only got down to about 40 degrees.

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby dickenjb » Mon May 27, 2013 9:47 pm

Got 8 tomatoes planted, 7 heirlooms (two are grafts) and one hybrid (Brandy Boy which is supposedly as good as Brandywine heirloom but with hybrid vigor and disease resistance).

Zucchini seedlings have emerged.

Peppers, eggplants, broccoli, basil all in.

Deer fence extended to 8 feet, fingers crossed.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby zaplunken » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:16 pm

MP173 wrote:Well, the "heavy frost" Monday morning nailed the sweet potatoes, tomatos, and pepper plants. I covered the plants (tarp) but the plants are brown and drooping. I gambled with the early planting and lost.

The 10 day forecast looks pretty good and we are past the "average last frost date", so perhaps I will replace just a few of the pepper plants tonight.

Ed


I think I mentioned to you in a post or pm that last frost dates are bogus and that planting out cold sensitive plants before Memorial Day is a huge gamble. If you started certain varieties because you want those varieties then you loose. If you bought plants and can just go buy plants again, because you don't care about the varieties just the vegetable, then you can gamble. I start all my frost sensitive crops from seed because I want those varieties so I would not plant out before Memorial Day. This year it was so cool/cold I held off all the Memorial Day plantings of all the various vegetables to the following weekend. Besides the last frost date being useless, summer crops will not grow until the soil warms up. You may think you are getting a jump on the season, and even if the cold doesn't kill them, the cold soil will hold them back. Sorry you lost plants, remember this for next May. :beer
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:26 pm

zaplunken:

You indeed warned me and I now have a bit more gardening wisdom. This is our 4th year gardening and the past 3 have been very mild. So, I was planting peppers and tomatos in early May ... no big deal as we didn't have a frost. Silly me thought this was normal. I learned this year.

My cold weather plants are doing great. We are eating quite a bit of broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, mustard greens and a few other items. The onions are growing nicely as are the brussel sprouts and cabbages. Will harvest peas this weekend. Arugula has finally taken off. Potatoes are really growing and beginning to bud. While I have had to replant tomatoes and peppers a couple of times, it isn't the end of the earth. Lesson learned.

My wife and I are really having a great time. We went to the community garden tonight and exchanged broccoli for radishes and gave lettuce to a friend. What a great way to get to know people.

Eating well these days.

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby investingdad » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:12 pm

Backing up to the woods as we do, I'm limited in what I can plant. Unless I invest in a hard barrier enclosure, I'm just feeding the rabbits, deer, and other wildlife that wanders through our yard (fox, wild turkey, squirrel, groundhog, etc). So, I limit myself to peppers and tomatos since nothing seems interested in nibbling on those. I put in a sectional wrought iron style fence just to stop the deer from getting close enough to nose about. Obviously they can jump it but they haven't.

My garden is in full swing though. I planted three tomato plants in a raised bed and also helped along two mystery tomato plants from last year that grew from seed on their own (I let the rotten tomatos I didn't pick break down in my raised beds). It will be a surpise to see what they are. The peppers are growing slowly. I may opt to segregate them next year in a planter and keep them on my deck.

The berry plants are going gangbusters. I bought a big roll of vineyard netting (30' x 50') and we draped it over the trellis tops. The only thing that can get in are the bees. Last year the birds cleaned everything out. Again, failed to consider the impact of woodland birds. Last house we didn't have that issue. I fully expect we'll have enough to make preserves. I now have double the number of fruiting plants in just three summers than I did after 8 summers at our old place. The benefit of more room and learning what does and doesn't work over time. I probably have about 40 linear feet total of trellissed berry plants.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby peppers » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:57 pm

The tomato, cucumber and pepper plants are growing at a good pace. The nice surprise has been the hot banana pepper plants which are just exploding. The eggplant is doing all right along with the zucchini. The jalapenos have small peppers growing on them, all 24 plants. Looks like I will be making my jalapeno poppers on the grill by the 4th of July. The ten day outlook looks good with some hot humid weather coming. Bring it on. :D
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:52 pm

Peppers:

Jalepeno poppers .... describe please. Sounds interesting.

Ed
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:38 pm

Investingdad, your mystery starts are going to be cherry type tomatoes. One reason I rarely buy cherry types.

They revert. If you plant only one kind of heirloom, maybe, if no neighbors are growing other types nearby, you will get that heirloom back. Maybe.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby mephistophles » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:42 am

Planted four Better Boy tomato plants this year. I quit growing them for a few years as the squirrels liked to take bites out of the ripening tomatoes which pretty much destroyed them. Plants are doing fine and either we, or the squirrels will have a feast in August.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby investingdad » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:48 am

graveday wrote:Investingdad, your mystery starts are going to be cherry type tomatoes. One reason I rarely buy cherry types.

They revert. If you plant only one kind of heirloom, maybe, if no neighbors are growing other types nearby, you will get that heirloom back. Maybe.


They're either Yellow Cherry or Roma. I'm hoping for the former since I couldn't find any Yellow Cherry plants this year. I bought them by accident last year and they were the sweetest cherry tomatos I've had. I must have had hundreds of seedlings come up in the raised bed and in the surrounding mulch. I gradually thinned them out until I was left with the two biggest and those I kept. They're doing really well, not that far behind the ones I bought that had a massive head start. Benefit of starting on their own outside with no transplanting I guess.

I also have three different types on my deck in a big cedar planting box I made from scrap wood when our deck was built. I learned that the box has to be pretty big or the roots are negatively impacted being in a box. Not sure if it's the box size constraining the roots, or the soil getting to hot from the sun as a result of being in a box. In any case, I put a few inches of white stone on the bottom so it can drain and filled with a mix of potting soil and composted manure.

There's a smattering of wild raspberry plants in the woods right behind my property. Since I've now completely netted my entire garden I decided to leave the wild growing ones for the wildlife rather than pick them. Call it a gentleman's agreement with the animals. Granted, I'm forcing them to leave mine alone...
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:55 am

Investingdad, let us know what actually is produced by your 'wild' tomatoes. Since you had Roma and Yellow cherry last year, there is a chance you will get something in between.
I'm guessing you will be picking any day now.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby investingdad » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:28 pm

graveday wrote:Investingdad, let us know what actually is produced by your 'wild' tomatoes. Since you had Roma and Yellow cherry last year, there is a chance you will get something in between.
I'm guessing you will be picking any day now.

no picking yet. Cool spring. My guess its maybe another four Weeks. Raspberries are just about ready for picking though.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:46 pm

investingdad wrote:
graveday wrote:Investingdad, let us know what actually is produced by your 'wild' tomatoes. Since you had Roma and Yellow cherry last year, there is a chance you will get something in between.
I'm guessing you will be picking any day now.

no picking yet. Cool spring. My guess its maybe another four Weeks. Raspberries are just about ready for picking though.


Where in the country are you located? My raspberry bushes haven't begun to start ripening yet, though this is the first year they seem to be loaded with berries.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby investingdad » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:24 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
investingdad wrote:
graveday wrote:Investingdad, let us know what actually is produced by your 'wild' tomatoes. Since you had Roma and Yellow cherry last year, there is a chance you will get something in between.
I'm guessing you will be picking any day now.

no picking yet. Cool spring. My guess its maybe another four Weeks. Raspberries are just about ready for picking though.


Where in the country are you located? My raspberry bushes haven't begun to start ripening yet, though this is the first year they seem to be loaded with berries.


About 30 miles from Vanguard corporate office.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:39 am

I have some raspberry bushes that have only been in the ground two years. Not a berry in sight, but then I haven't seen any flowers either. I have been picking tomatoes and peppers. The Mr. Lincoln has already produced a few honker fruit, and Gypsy peppers the same. Other denominations have produced a bit, though Early Girl is not living up to her name. I am northwest of Sacramento in California.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby peppers » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:17 am

MP173 wrote:Peppers:

Jalepeno poppers .... describe please. Sounds interesting.

Ed


jalapenos
cream cheese
garlic cloves
sun dried tomatoes
basil
bacon

I grill them two ways.
Cut off the top of the peppers and remove seeds.
Mix the cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes and garlic (crushed) into a paste.
Stuff the paste into the peppers.
Wrap the bacon around the pepper using toothpicks to hold in place. It's a good idea to place the toothpicks in a cup of water beforehand.
I place the peppers upright in a chili pepper grill rack and grill until the bacon is cooked.
When the bacon looks good, I remove the racks and let cool. As they cool off, I sprinkle some fresh cut basil leaves over the peppers.

The other way is leaving the tops on and cut an opening down the side of the pepper. Clean it out, put the paste in and carefully wrap the bacon around the opening so the paste does not ooze out. Use the toothpicks to hold the bacon in place and grill them on their sides, turning occasionally to cook the bacon. Again, once cool, sprinkle some basil on and serve.

The family prefers the second method because the bacon gets crispier. I prefer the first method because it's quicker and cooking them upright, they retain that special "essence". Can you say HOT :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:29 am

That sounds delightfully and piquantly indulgent.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby frugaltype » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:22 am

graveday wrote:I have some raspberry bushes that have only been in the ground two years. Not a berry in sight, but then I haven't seen any flowers either. I have been picking tomatoes and peppers. The Mr. Lincoln has already produced a few honker fruit, and Gypsy peppers the same. Other denominations have produced a bit, though Early Girl is not living up to her name. I am northwest of Sacramento in California.


I bought a compact container raspberry BrazelBerries® Raspberry Shortcake (3 feet high supposedly eventually) from White Flower Farm. It came with berries already on it.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby zaplunken » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:02 pm

investingdad wrote:
They're either Yellow Cherry or Roma. I'm hoping for the former since I couldn't find any Yellow Cherry plants this year. I bought them by accident last year and they were the sweetest cherry tomatos I've had.


I can't find a tomato called "Yellow Cherry" and I looked the most extensive online catalogs but I suppose it is possible that it is something they don't list. That said, there are many cherry tomatoes that are yellow but the sweetest is Sun Gold. Sun Gold is extremely sweet and has a most unique taste. It is the only cherry I'll grow now and the only hybrid I grow. Many seed companies sell Sun Gold and it is getting popular so greenhouses are selling it too.

The bad news is that Sun Gold and Roma are both hybrids and hybrids do not come true to type. Your cherry tomato plant may produce anything - patio or full sized fruits, any color and I seriously doubt they'll be anywhere near as sweet. Roma is a paste and again there's no way to know what will be produced.

As a general rule growing out a hybrid in following years is a waste of time. Your tomatoes may be sour or mealy but you may luck out and they'll be ok. There is just no way to know. If space is an issue don't waste your limited space growing volunteers from hybrids. If you only grow open pollinated tomatoes then they do come true to type.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby runner26 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:53 pm

Current forcast for the next 6 days starting today is 110-111-113-110-110-109. This is totally out of the ordinary for this area in central CA. I hope something in the garden survives! This is getting worse each year, and they are saying it might get hotter, because these numbers are being raised each day. Time to break out the mister.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:28 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:Funny thing is, I'm actually more concerned about what happened to the toads than by the snail explosion. There's plenty of ways to deal with the snails before I set out the main summer veggies. But the toads have been a part of my backyard ecosystem for years and I'm wondering where they are. I found one dead one during the winter and I haven't seen any others (although my parents said one was on my doorstep when they came to visit a couple of weekends ago). I'm hoping that the new neighbors aren't getting rid of them, not realizing how beneficial they are to snail control.

I'd like to report that my toads are back. The other night, I came across three of them on the front walk while taking out the trash and my cats stared intensely out the patio door at one on the back patio. Perhaps the abnormal spring weather messed with their hibernation cycle. I've been adding extra watering cycles the last week to prep for the rash of illegal fireworks leading up to the 4th (green stuff catches fire less easily), so that might also be encouraging them to come out and seek out snails.

Between them and the 2 gallon-sized zippered baggies I filled with snails by going out at sunset and hand-plucking them off plants in May, the snail population is back to "normal". Still dangerous to seedlings, but only a nuisance to established plants.

runner26 wrote:Current forcast for the next 6 days starting today is 110-111-113-110-110-109. This is totally out of the ordinary for this area in central CA. I hope something in the garden survives! This is getting worse each year, and they are saying it might get hotter, because these numbers are being raised each day. Time to break out the mister.

As long as they have a strong root supply and you've been watering them properly, summer veggies (e.g. tomatoes, zucchini, other summer squashes, carrots, etc) should survive those temperatures. Use a soil probe to check if there's moisture a few inches down and if there is, then you're watering well enough. You might increase the thickness of your mulch just to minimize daytime evaporation from the top of the soil. Also, the leaves might droop a little during the day, but should perk back up at night, so don't be alarmed if you see that during the hottest point of the day.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby wingnutty » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:34 pm

I'm jealous of some of you who are already picking veggies. All we've got so far is radishes and lettuce. Our springs are just so much later up here.

But, we are picking our strawberries now, ummmmm. The raspberries are a few weeks out and the blackberries are blooming. The blueberries are starting to get some color and the garden is finally growing with our warmer temps. All my fruit trees that I planted this year (peaches, nectarines, apples, apricot, cherry, pears) are doing well.

I'm building a nice wash station in the garden with a stainless steel sink so that we can wash all the veggies and fruits before bringing them indoors.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby peppers » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:08 pm

Our zucchini plants are about a week away from harvesting. The tomatoes are green and still vining nicely. I am somewhat disappointed in my jalapenos. They were coming along great and then took the week off. It looks like the second week of July before picking them. So much for the 4th. :annoyed The belle of the ball has to be the banana peppers that I started from seed. I used up all the garden space and had about 6 - 8 plants left over. So I put them in an old flower bucket. They are up to 2' high with dozens of small peppers and buds and no sign of slowing down. The 10 day by us looks to be more mild temperatures, sunny and few periods of rain. Going back to April we have had more than enough rain and flooding. Some consecutive dry days would be welcome.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:18 pm

I'm near Sacramento and, yes, it is going to be a hellish hot stretch. Still nothing like what Oklahoma City had a summer or two ago where it went for weeks unrelentingly. And it does cool down fairly well at night, so far.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:32 pm

NW Indiana reporting in...

Temp was high 60s today with temps forecast to be in 70s -lo 80s for the next several days. Our spinach is past...picked the last this week. Lettuce is nearly gone. I have been cutting the outer leaves of the romaine lately. Picked the first banana pepper this week. Brocoli is almost gone. We are about to enter the second phase of the summer as the spring cool weather vegetables are nearly past.

Does anyone have any suggestions for summer lettuce? Is there a hot weather variety we can try?

Potato plants are growing like crazy, as are the tomato plants. Bell peppers are advancing, although we have not had too much really hot weather.

Looking forward to a late summer planting of spinach. Will also used the cold frame method for spinach in October/November, as it worked well when planted in March.

My first attempt at pole beans looks promising. The beans are moving nicely up the poles.

My biggest disappointment has been swiss chard. Some critter has gotten nearly every plant. Asparagus has done well (planted this year), we should produce next year.

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:28 am

Oak leaf lettuce is supposed to do well in the heat. Maybe Black Seeded Simpson. Lettuce is kind of a succession planting crop, and maybe you catch a good one in the trying.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby investingdad » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:59 am

I'm bringing in about a quart of berries everyday right now. The black raspberries are cresting theIr prime but the reds are hitting their stride.

The blackberries won't hit until August so we will have a lull for a week or so in July.

The blueberry bushes are still a season or two away from big yields. My investment in high quality vineyard meeting has really paid off. Zero bird damage.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:51 pm

Update:

1. Cabbage plants were terminated today. Something has completely attacked the leaves and also the heads. There is small green particles all over the remaining leaves...sort of slimy. Anyone know what this might be? Also seems to be attacking the brussel sprouts.

2. Picked 3 bell peppers and 3 banana peppers today. Outstanding taste.

3. Celery is producing.

4. Lettuce is nearly gone. Anyone have suggestions for warm weather lettuce? Or do I wait til September?

5. Asparagus is growing great. I planted it around May 1 and the 10 crowns have produced 32 stalks which are going to seed (some stalks are 3 feet tall). Should be good eating next spring.

6. Pole beans have done well so far. Looking forward to harvesting in a few weeks.

7. Packman broccoli continues to produce small crowns. Excellent taste. The local garden store suggested that I knock the broccoli plants down and make sure the roots are covered and the plants will produce into the fall as it cools. Anyone done this in the past?

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby graveday » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:41 pm

The small green slimy things are probably cabbage moth larvae. I squish them when and where ever I see them. BT spray will control them too.
As to the broccoli trick, I have never tried it, but it can't hurt to do the experiment if you don't need the space for something else.
Congrats on the success with the rest, especially the asparagus.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby zaplunken » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:33 pm

mp173,

Does anyone have any suggestions for summer lettuce? Is there a hot weather variety we can try?
Batavin lettuces hold up in the heat as well as Simpson Elite and Black Seeded Simpson. I think any lettuce will be ok in summer just mulch the soil and water each day. Secession planting is required, no plant will last all spring, summer and into fall.


There is small green particles all over the remaining leaves...sort of slimy. Anyone know what this might be? Also seems to be attacking the brussel sprouts.
It's the frass ($hit) of the Cabbage Loper caterpillar, Cabbage Moth. Spray broccoli, cabbage, BS with BT. Google it.

The local garden store suggested that I knock the broccoli plants down and make sure the roots are covered and the plants will produce into the fall as it cools.
Broccoli will produce side shoot all summer. Even at 100 degrees they do this IF you water them well. Don't kill the plants, that's just stupid.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:31 am

Thanks for the advise. We will plant lettuce and follow your instructions.

Should I mulch the lettuce after it germinates or after planting?

Brocolli seems to be producing small side shoots. Small but tasty. We will follow you instructions and see how long it lasts...hopefully into the fall.

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby zaplunken » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:12 pm

You mulch when the plants are up if planting from seed or they may not push through the mulch. I put about 1" of shredded leaves around the plant and it keeps the weeds to a bare minimum. If you put in established plants then mulch immediately.

Broccoli will produce side shoots all season. I hate Packman cuz the heads were small and poor side shoots but I just grew it one year so maybe it was not representative? Keep in mind that some varieties of broccoli are know for side shoot production and some varieties don't produce hardly any. I grow Calabrese Green Sprouting and some years the side shoots are 2-3" across and no little shoots like 1/2" across. But then other years it just produces the small ones and some plants do both in the same year. Find a variety you like re side shoots and stick with it. CGS is a very productive variety that grows quite large. The trick to broccoli is in this heat of July and August to keep it well watered. I've had excellent side shoots 2-3" across in near 100 degree heat because I mulch about 8-10" out from the trunk to cool the ground and retain moisture.
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:53 pm

Thnks for the advise. I watered this morning and will return tomorrow with some sort of mulch. I picked a few small side shoots this morning.

Also, going to wait for this hot weather to break a little and then plant lettuce and follow up with mulch.

Ed
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:40 pm

Update time:

1. Broccoli is still producing small shoots. I am watering frequently as suggested. Many of the leaves are dying off. Am I not providing enough water?

2. Poor pepper crop this year. The bell peppers seem small and the plants have very few peppers. Any idea as to why?
It hasn't been really hot this year.

3. I have started planting spinach for the fall. Planted a small row two weeks ago and a couple more rows today. Do any of you have success with fall spinach?

4. Roma tomatoes are coming on strong. I roasted the tomatoes on the Weber grill tonight for a few minutes and my wife then used the blender to make tomato soup including garden vegetables. Pretty good.

5. Yukon Gold potatoes are really good this year. Can the potatoes stay in the ground until it is time to be used (within reason)?

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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby magician » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:52 pm

We generally grow tomatoes, herbs, and peppers (in Southern California).

This year I'm finally – finally! - getting some ghost chilies (after two years). I also have cayennes, serranos, fresnos, poblanos, arboles, kung paos (which I think are a cayenne hybrid), and habaneros.

The downside is the pests: inchworms eating the peppermint, and tobacco hornworms going after the tomatoes and chilies. I have to inspect them every day.

The upside is stupendous: fresh herbs and vegetables!
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby peppers » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:38 pm

My jalapenos, bell, big bertha, melrose, and hot banana peppers have all been productive and we are in Northern Illinois. The tomatoes and cucumbers have been good. The eggplant went on a sabbatical for a while but is coming around nicely. Oh, and my zucchini plant is about to consume part of my garage and is eyeing the vacant space along my deck.

MP173, perhaps too much water for the peppers? Early on in the summer when there was a lot of rain, I noticed the plants seemed to be leafy but no buds. I cut way back on the watering, got a break with some nice hot weather and they turned around.
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby MP173 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:16 am

We had adequate rain during the June period so I didn't water the pepper plants much. Perhaps nature took care of it....too much.

Ed
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Re: Gardening, the new year

Postby zaplunken » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:08 pm

MP173 wrote:Update time:

1. Broccoli is still producing small shoots. I am watering frequently as suggested. Many of the leaves are dying off. Am I not providing enough water? Leaves dying off is normal. Sometimes a plant produces small shoots and sometime a plant will produce larger side shoots. I think it is just the genetics of that specific plant. More water and fertilizer, I doubt that'll change it. I experience this from year to year with the same variety of broccoli using seeds from the same package.

2. Poor pepper crop this year. The bell peppers seem small and the plants have very few peppers. Any idea as to why?
It hasn't been really hot this year. Peppers are a mystery to me. some seasons I do great re yields like this and some terrible. I do remember that peppers like cooler weather like 70-80's. Ever notice how many flowers appear in the 2nd-3rd week of August after the heat of July is past? July was brutal re heat and humidity and August has been incredibly wonderful, thank you Canada! Maybe my flower set happened in June but the peppers grew well and there are a lot and that took place in July. I have a lot on each plant, 2 Gypsy. So like I said peppers are a mystery to me!

3. I have started planting spinach for the fall. Planted a small row two weeks ago and a couple more rows today. Do any of you have success with fall spinach? I grow Swiss Chard instead of Spinach cuz it grows from planting in April or May and continues until I dig them out in October. I have had it last into late November. Spinach will bolt as soon as it gets hot, Chard laughs at heat.

4. Roma tomatoes are coming on strong. I roasted the tomatoes on the Weber grill tonight for a few minutes and my wife then used the blender to make tomato soup including garden vegetables. Pretty good.

5. Yukon Gold potatoes are really good this year. Can the potatoes stay in the ground until it is time to be used (within reason)?

Ed
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