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Special Interest => Gulching/Self-Sufficiency => Topic started by: knobster on February 13, 2018, 07:11:01 am

Title: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on February 13, 2018, 07:11:01 am
It's nearly the middle of Feb and no one has discussed gardening for this year?  Or did I miss the thread somewhere...

Put in an order for puh-lenty of seeds and plants this past weekend.  We are doubling the garden size this year and everyone is excited.  Adding more strawberries, two more apple trees and trying something new: hazelnut trees.  They are arriving bare root and only 2 feet tall so maybe for the Gardening 2020 thread I'll be able to talk about how big they are!

Peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, spuds, onions, peppers, carrots, strawberries, melons, I'm sure I'm forgetting some... 

Started onion seeds this weekend.  I was reading about 'winter sow' for onions so we basically put some seed starter soil in a container with drain holes, put about a dozen seeds in place, watered the soil, put on a lid with holes poked in it and set the whole thing outside in the shade.  Once the days start warming up the onions will naturally germinate and start poking up.  Really excited for this gardening year!
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on February 13, 2018, 08:36:01 am
Too early for me to get excited about the garden. My yard has more than a foot of snow in the higher places (the wind blows it away), much more in the drifts against the fence (where it blows TO). I've resisted the urge to get out my seeds... so far. :) I don't buy from mail order or online places anymore. Since I work in a commercial greenhouse in the spring and summer, I can get anything I want then. We get our first order of landscape trees and shrubs the middle of April... and I'm counting the days. Snow peas will be planted outside just as soon as the soil in the tubs thaws and I can turn it.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: colonial shooter on February 13, 2018, 09:10:26 am
I will have to agree with mama, although I am looking forward to May to being my seedlings in the new kitchen windows. Then to spread them to my neighbors to grow
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on February 13, 2018, 11:26:31 am
I will have to agree with mama, although I am looking forward to May to being my seedlings in the new kitchen windows. Then to spread them to my neighbors to grow

I'll start tomatoes and peppers inside in mid March. I like to get them big enough to have a good start, but it is tricky if they get TOO big. That's why I start several small batches instead of doing it all at once. Then, if I plant outside and lose something, I've got backups. Of course, working at the greenhouse, I can bring home plants at any time to fill in gaps - just not necessarily varieties I want most. I'm going to try celery this year. I use a lot of it when I can get it, but it's gotten just too expensive.

I'm going to plant lots more of my purple speckled snap beans this year. They seem to tolerate both cold and heat, and are the best tasting beans I've ever had. They froze well last year too, so I'll put up lots more this time. The beans I froze last fall vanished in a few weeks. LOL
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on February 27, 2018, 07:51:59 am
Started two dozen pea seeds last weekend and 4 of them have popped up.  Garden 2018 has officially begun!  Also built a cold frame that these seedlings will go into once they have a few leaves.  Should help harden them off before transplanting can begin.  Our last 'frost date' in this neck of the woods is late April.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on February 27, 2018, 09:53:57 am
Started two dozen pea seeds last weekend and 4 of them have popped up. 

Good luck with the pea seedlings. I've never had any success with doing that. I soak the seed in warm water overnight, then plant out in the garden. They come up fast then, and grow fast.  I won't be able to plant my snow peas until the end of March, at the soonest. We expect our last frost around the end of April...
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on March 09, 2018, 07:07:50 am
8 peas are now reaching for the sky.  I've put them into the cold frame a couple times so far.  We've had a cold and gray period of weather so I only put them out there on sunny days.  Next week looks better so I hope to put them out there 'full time' and then transplant into the ground the last week of March.  I'll also direct sow some peas in early April and see how the plants compare.  Try to learn something every season!
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on March 20, 2018, 02:50:20 pm
Spent a good bit of time this past weekend prepping garden beds.  A small 4x12 foot plot for each of the kids to use as they want.  It is so awesome to have SPACE for this kind of work.  We have peas in the cold frame, lettuce and onion seeds sitting in dirt, hopefully germinating.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on April 02, 2018, 06:14:42 am
Curse this weather...

Saturday it was 30+ mph wind and brrrrrr.  Sunday morning it struggled to get above freezing.  Where is spring darnit?!?

We started a bunch of tomato seeds indoors this weekend so that put me in a better mood.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on April 02, 2018, 06:40:50 am
I got my seeds out, but found I need to do something in the upstairs bathroom before I can plant stuff in the starter pots. Maybe today when I get back from town. Snowed again yesterday a little, so I'll put off planting the snow peas outside for another week or so.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: FDD on April 02, 2018, 10:06:57 am
Curse this weather...

Saturday it was 30+ mph wind and brrrrrr.  Sunday morning it struggled to get above freezing.  Where is spring darnit?!?

We started a bunch of tomato seeds indoors this weekend so that put me in a better mood.

You know what we call 30+ winds out here? Monday
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: echopeak on April 02, 2018, 07:17:34 pm
Knobster- What a spring, indeed! I am still getting nights down in the teens, and days just to the mid-thirties. Most of my valley is one foot deep in snow yet, so I will be another month before I can plant out in the garden beds. That is what I get for living at 5500 feet.

I sowed a bunch of cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, arugala, and leeks late fall, after seeing others who successfully turned a late fall sowing into early spring crops. Coming out of my rather mild winter, I am curious to see how they sprout from the garden beds as the snow melts off. I usually see January temps down in the minus thirties for the whole month, yet this year the coldest my area got to was minus five degrees.

I wish you luck with those peas! Do you still receive snows after march in your region? What elevation are you at? Also, what species of apple and hazelnut are you trying out? I am getting some apples on Antonovka rootstock this year, which is claimed to thrive down to zone 3. I am also thinning out my lower four acres of the valley to intersperse with some walnut trees. It will be ten years before I will see a harvest from them. The best time to plant those fruit and nut trees are ten years ago, but the second best time to plant those fruit or nut trees is now!

Mama- My beans and peas disappear quickly too, though mine disappear when the grasshoppers get heavy midsummer. I used to raise ducks and chickens as pest control, and they worked wonders, but I have been too busy trying to finish the cabin in recent years to bother with any homestead critters. Do you have enough raised beds to grow all the peas and beans you want?
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on April 03, 2018, 05:38:36 am
Do you have enough raised beds to grow all the peas and beans you want?

Nope, but I've got about all I can deal with. :)

Snowed again last night, darn it. 10 degrees out there now, at 4:30 AM.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on April 03, 2018, 07:44:33 am
Knobster- What a spring, indeed! I am still getting nights down in the teens, and days just to the mid-thirties. Most of my valley is one foot deep in snow yet, so I will be another month before I can plant out in the garden beds. That is what I get for living at 5500 feet.

I sowed a bunch of cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, arugala, and leeks late fall, after seeing others who successfully turned a late fall sowing into early spring crops. Coming out of my rather mild winter, I am curious to see how they sprout from the garden beds as the snow melts off. I usually see January temps down in the minus thirties for the whole month, yet this year the coldest my area got to was minus five degrees.

I wish you luck with those peas! Do you still receive snows after march in your region? What elevation are you at? Also, what species of apple and hazelnut are you trying out? I am getting some apples on Antonovka rootstock this year, which is claimed to thrive down to zone 3. I am also thinning out my lower four acres of the valley to intersperse with some walnut trees. It will be ten years before I will see a harvest from them. The best time to plant those fruit and nut trees are ten years ago, but the second best time to plant those fruit or nut trees is now!


I live in the heart of Iowa.  Elevation... golly, not sure but I can see Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin from my place.  So I would guess... not much.

We get occasional snow storms in April but the snow doesn't stick around long.  Last average frost date is late April.  We are adding Gala apple trees.  I didn't know there was a sub-species of hazelnut.  But whatever it is they grow fine in Zone 5.

I hear ya on the planting ten years ago!  I'm hopeful my grandkids will enjoy this orchard.

My neighbor has a bunch of black walnut trees.  Every fall the ground is littered with the nuts.  Not sure if he does anything with them though.  I should ask him if I can harvest a few hundred bushels...
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: Who...me? on April 03, 2018, 11:22:05 am
At work right inside the door here is a flat screen with safety stuff and assorted inspirational anecdotes. 

The other day it was "The number one time to plant a tree was 20 years ago...the second best time is today"
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on April 03, 2018, 12:06:40 pm
"The number one time to plant a tree was 20 years ago...the second best time is today"

True of a lot of things.  :)
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: Klapton Isgod on April 03, 2018, 10:54:59 pm
We finally got into our new (and final) house last October.  Nothing is set up for us yet.  I'm working two jobs, so everything has to happen on the weekends, and those have been sucked up with family issues.

I did get my "Grandpa's Paste" tomatoes started, hopefully in time to bear fruit this summer.  I usually start them VERY early.  And I don't have proper light either.

It's a true heirloom, in the sense that you can't buy this anywhere.  I got it from the college professor who ran the community college garden we gardened at back in PA.  He got it from his grandpa, hence "grandpa's paste."  When I brought seed here to WA in 2014, I had no garden.  I started seedlings and a cousin managed to get ONE fruit from it that year.  So it would be a damned shame if I lost it now.

This remarkable tomato is VERY densely fleshed.  It has VERY few seeds, and little juice in their pockets.  Fruits are long, "roma" style, from 4 - 6 inches long.  Best canning tomatoes we have ever grown.

We hiring a guy to come till our lawn and garden.  We had hoped to have some money left for a tractor when we moved in, but there were plenty of surprises in our building process that sucked that up.  But it will get done and we WILL have a garden this summer.
.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on April 05, 2018, 06:52:25 am
Klapton's back! 

Best of luck getting the garden going!  We have plenty of seedlings popping up and as soon as the weather gets above -100 degrees out I hope to transplant.  I think spring forgot to come this year...
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on April 19, 2018, 07:43:08 am
Put some grow light above all the seedlings before they get 17 inches tall and then flop over.  I think spring is finally coming now - we had one last snowstorm yesterday but the extended forecast shows awesome weather.  Lows in the 40s, highs in the 50/60s.  So it is time to hit that garden!
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: colonial shooter on April 19, 2018, 09:28:11 am
Transplanted some tulips to a newly prepared bed. Turned soil in preparation for seedlings which will be started in 2weeks. Need to go and get the 2 raspberry bushes soon.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on May 02, 2018, 09:36:23 am
Rain!!!  Blessed rain finally fell last night.  Not sure how much we got but the garden/lawn/orchard got nicely soaked.

More rain coming this evening through tomorrow so I'm betting the lawn will really need a good mowing this weekend.  Grass clippings for the garden!  Yaay!
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on May 07, 2018, 08:22:15 am
Busy gardening weekend - got 4 beds prepped for plants and put 40ish tomatoes in.  Hoping for a 'yuuuuuge' harvest this fall.  Next week we'll put peppers into the ground.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on May 16, 2018, 10:54:52 am
Yet another busy gardening weekend.  For Mother's Day we always pick up plenty of flowers.  My wife just loves planting them with the children.  And if momma's happy, the whole family is happy!

We also added more peppers, strawberries and potatoes.  We discovered the store we were at already had 20% off all fruit trees so a couple of them followed us home.  'Reliance' peach and 'Montmorency' cherry.  Both are self-pollinators so we'll see how they do.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on May 18, 2018, 07:02:41 am
Whew... I think we are done adding to the garden finally.  Planted a bunch of pumpkins, squash, cantaloupe and cucumbers.  Put the remaining pepper seedlings into their new homes.  And we tried something new this year: peanuts.  They require 120 days to reach maturity which is a bit of a stretch for central Iowa but I'm hopeful.

In looking over everything we seem to have used about half the available real estate for the garden.  So I'll continue to prepare the soil for future garden use.  I plan to rotate tomatoes so they aren't in the same spot year after year.

Also started building a cinder block compost bin.  There is a 'concrete graveyard' back in my wood which has plenty of cinder blocks.  Free for the taking but I think they weigh 40lbs each.  Fun to lug them the 100ish yards from graveyard to garden...
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: Klapton Isgod on May 18, 2018, 09:36:54 am
We moved into our new hippie homestead last fall, and are finally getting some work done this spring.  Our plan is to fence about five acres for our orchard and critters, but for now, I did deer netting around 1,000 square feet of veggie garden.  We hired a guy to do tractor work for us because we spent our tractor money building the house.  We'll start planting Memorial Day weekend.

I am trying to upload some pics, but my upload speed is complete suck, and it's not working.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: Tahn L. on May 18, 2018, 06:07:02 pm
klapton,  How cool and exciting. Congratulations! Looking forward to pictures or progress reports.

knobster, Sometimes I get tired out just imagining all the work you are doing but it is really thrilling to watch.

Wonderful to hear of yours and others progress in gulching.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on May 21, 2018, 06:52:21 am
klapton,  How cool and exciting. Congratulations! Looking forward to pictures or progress reports.

knobster, Sometimes I get tired out just imagining all the work you are doing but it is really thrilling to watch.

Wonderful to hear of yours and others progress in gulching.

 :laugh:
Saturday night I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Needless to say, I was exhausted.  I often tell folks that I should have moved to the country 20 years ago.  Ah well, it was crazy-fun to be out there doing stuff.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on June 13, 2018, 11:53:31 am
Been lots of hot days with rainstorms at least once a week.  Thus, the garden area is e-x-p-l-o-d-i-n-g with growth.  Every afternoon I'm out there I swear I can hear the plants growing.  The only thing that hasn't done well are the carrots.  Very few have germinated.  Not sure why.  Everything else growing like crazy.

We've harvested lots of lettuce, sugar snap peas and strawberries already.  My girls love going out there and simply eating peas right off the vine.

The apple/pear trees are loaded with fruit this year.  I thinned them a bit as recommended so that the energy is directed towards less fruit, thus making them bigger/better/beautifuler.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: MamaLiberty on June 13, 2018, 12:36:51 pm
The only thing that hasn't done well are the carrots.  Very few have germinated.  Not sure why. 

Some seeds have a very short life. Onions, carrots and parsley seeds in particular do not keep well. The germination rate drops like a stone after the first year.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on July 25, 2018, 08:05:37 am
The only thing that hasn't done well are the carrots.  Very few have germinated.  Not sure why. 

Some seeds have a very short life. Onions, carrots and parsley seeds in particular do not keep well. The germination rate drops like a stone after the first year.

I paused before adding to this thread as I don't want ML's e-presence to fade off into the history.  Sniff...

Garden is doing amazingly well this year.  We've had plenty of rain and heat this summer. 

We've been busy!
1) Shelves filling up from canned pickles
2) Freezer filling up with frozen, shredded zucchini
3) Few times a week we eat freshly steamed green beans

Only a handful of strawberries though.  I neglected them and a lot of energy was put into sending out suckers.  The ever-bearing are producing a lot more flowers now that I've started clipping those off.  The June-bearing are done, now they are doing their best to completely fill in the area.

Apples and pears are growing nicely.  Pear trees don't seem to draw the wrath of bugs as much as apples do.  Thankfully the apple trees are growing leaves faster than bugs can eat them.  And I have a few Jap Beetle traps in place to catch those nasty things.

Viney stuff is doing really well.  As noted above, we're already preserving lots of zucchini and cucumbers.  Cantaloupe and pumpkin also growing fast.

Tomatoes are insane.  The cages I put around them are toppling over from the weight so I've resorted to tent stakes and guy lines to hold the cages in place.  Next year we'll try beefier cages that are pushed further into the ground.  We tried to keep the tomato plants pruned to control the growth but it is a constant battle.  Plants are loving this weather.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on August 02, 2018, 07:44:43 am
'Maters!  Lots and lots of 'maters!  Kids are starting to bring in a handful each day so I'm sure the canning will start soon.  Plus, fresh salsa will be coming any day now!

Pumpkins are turning orange, green beans still coming in, peas are done, green peppers growing like crazy, the list goes on.  I think this has been the best gardening year since I started putting stuff in the ground.  10ish years now?
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: Tahn L. on August 03, 2018, 03:12:11 pm
That's wonderful knobster!  Congratulations to all.

I wish......
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on August 14, 2018, 07:14:03 am
Picked a small bucket of strawberries last night.  We have two patches: one is June-bearing the other is ever-bearing.  The June ones are done but are sending runners out like crazy and have completely filled in the 4x10 foot area.  The ever-bearing are producing plenty of berries and all still have oodles of flowers.  We noticed that the fruit is smaller (but much tastier) than store-bought ones.

The raspberry plants we got from a friend are actually producing.  We transplanted nearly 40 plants, 2/3rds survived the shock and of those, half are producing berries.  We may get 1/2 a gallon of berries which will be pretty neat.  Enough to enjoy fresh at least.

Tomatoes are still coming in strong.  My wife gets the canner out when she has two gallons of the fruit picked.  The kids love helping out as well so it makes the job easier for all.
Title: Re: Gardening 2018
Post by: knobster on August 24, 2018, 06:42:46 am
Ten more pints of tomatoes canned.  Weather has cooled a bit (odd for Iowa in late August) so I imagine the 'maters and peppers  will slow a bit.  Tried a pear we picked last week and it was good but could have been a tad sweeter.  So I picked a couple more yesterday and will let those ripen as well.  Have been jotting down notes regarding the 2018 Garden and what we want to do different next year.