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  • Re: Garden Geeks thread

    Originally posted by alfablue View Post
    Made another batch of gazpacho with tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden tonight. Great year for tomatoes and cuc's this year- although I think that's more a factor of getting the growing system to be better. This is the first real year of no-dig self watering container growing. And it's working great.
    We did nothing different other than make different raised beds. Last few yrs were abysmall with blight, etc. This yr- none. I always grow from my own seed so I think it was good weather rather than the stuff we had the last few yrs of heavy rains and then prolonged drought.

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    • Re: Garden Geeks thread

      Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
      they ripen but they don't seem to taste as good. For the first year in many we managed to get a lot of tomatoes, cukes. Lost the Summer squash plants- again- and the beans really struggled. Weird. They are usually the only thing that makes it.
      Truly, bag-ripened tomatoes aren't very sweet, and when I see the green ones splitting, pickling them is a good way to salvage the crop. Try it during a bad year. They're great that way.

      Like you, my squash isn't anything to write home about. We had a heavy infestation of striped cucumber beetles early-on, and many blossoms just fell off the vines as a result. We harvested 63 butternuts last year, and are looking at maybe half that this season, and much smaller fruits. Likewise, we could barely keep-up with the summer squash last year, and hardly have any to give away during this one.

      It was very wet early, so we had to plant late. Then, we had seeds rot in the ground, pursuant to more rain, and then the very tardy arrival of bees held everything up.

      The cabbage and cauliflower thrived, as did the cukes and lettuce and beets, the beans are OK, but the peppers and eggplant weren't big fans of the early weather. Probably the 'taters -despite the growth of their tops- will have the early blight as well.

      It ain't easy, trying to do that without pesticides, but we'll still eat our own produce for months to come.

      (Fingers crossed.)

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      • Re: Garden Geeks thread

        Originally posted by Fishman'81 View Post
        Truly, bag-ripened tomatoes aren't very sweet, and when I see the green ones splitting, pickling them is a good way to salvage the crop. Try it during a bad year. They're great that way.

        Like you, my squash isn't anything to write home about. We had a heavy infestation of striped cucumber beetles early-on, and many blossoms just fell off the vines as a result. We harvested 63 butternuts last year, and are looking at maybe half that this season, and much smaller fruits. Likewise, we could barely keep-up with the summer squash last year, and hardly have any to give away during this one.

        It was very wet early, so we had to plant late. Then, we had seeds rot in the ground, pursuant to more rain, and then the very tardy arrival of bees held everything up.

        The cabbage and cauliflower thrived, as did the cukes and lettuce and beets, the beans are OK, but the peppers and eggplant weren't big fans of the early weather. Probably the 'taters -despite the growth of their tops- will have the early blight as well.

        It ain't easy, trying to do that without pesticides, but we'll still eat our own produce for months to come.

        (Fingers crossed.)
        We can't seem to produce enough to eat past the season. Last few yrs we had volunteer Butternuts that produced like champs- these vines never produced and stayed small. Meanwhile the other plants in the bed are going gang busters.

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        • Re: Garden Geeks thread

          Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
          We can't seem to produce enough to eat past the season. Last few yrs we had volunteer Butternuts that produced like champs- these vines never produced and stayed small. Meanwhile the other plants in the bed are going gang busters.
          We ate only our own stuff until late Spring this year. Between all the squash, the pickled items, the tomato sauce, and the frozen beets, carrots and the peppers that were put-up in garlic oil, we were good.

          That won't happen again during the winter of '19-'20, barring a protracted warm spell this Fall.

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          • Re: Garden Geeks thread

            Originally posted by Fishman'81 View Post
            We ate only our own stuff until late Spring this year. Between all the squash, the pickled items, the tomato sauce, and the frozen beets, carrots and the peppers that were put-up in garlic oil, we were good.

            That won't happen again during the winter of '19-'20, barring a protracted warm spell this Fall.
            We have a community of groundhogs that like to share the wealth despite all efforts to prevent it. This is the best we have done so far.

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            • Re: Garden Geeks thread

              Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
              We have a community of groundhogs that like to share the wealth despite all efforts to prevent it. This is the best we have done so far.
              Woodchucks are second only to deer in their ability to obliterate a garden in very short order, here.

              I don't derive any pleasure via shooting them, but my trusty old Marlin .22 has sent 8 whistle-pigs to their Heavenly Reward, just this Spring alone.

              I haven't dined on woodchuck since my poverty-stricken years at college, but those critters make an awesome Hasenpfeffer.

              (Better than rabbits, truly, but carefully excise the axillary musk-glands as you prepare them for the pot.)
              Last edited by Fishman'81; 09-10-2019, 01:01 AM.

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              • Originally posted by Fishman'81 View Post
                Woodchucks are second only to deer in their ability to obliterate a garden in very short order, here.

                I don't derive any pleasure via shooting them, but my trusty old Marlin .22 has sent 8 whistle-pigs to their Heavenly Reward, just this Spring alone.

                I haven't dined on woodchuck since my poverty-stricken years at college, but those critters make an awesome Hasenpfeffer.

                (Better than rabbits, truly, but carefully excise the axillary musk-glands as you prepare them for the pot.)
                If you tried that in my county, you'd be strung up on animal cruelty charges and domestic terrorism
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                • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                  Originally posted by joecct View Post
                  If you tried that in my county, you'd be strung up on animal cruelty charges and domestic terrorism
                  I live in a neighborhood where the houses are close enough to make it impossible. We have 1.25 acres but they are rectangular plots. Shoot the wrong way and bad oops.

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                  • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                    Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                    I live in a neighborhood where the houses are close enough to make it impossible. We have 1.25 acres but they are rectangular plots. Shoot the wrong way and bad oops.
                    I used to live on a quarter-acre plot. We had 'chucks there, too, and a big garden, and it was in an area where one could not legally discharge a firearm...

                    My advice: employ the trusty old Crosman 760 using the cone-shaped pellets and a full 10 pumps on the compressor. Those rounds will dispatch them humanly at close range. No gunpowder involved.

                    (Sure, you have to be within 10'-15' or so, and put one between its eyes, but that's easier than many people might imagine... Woodchucks keep bankers' hours, and peek out of their burrows at anything near it during late morning and late afternoon. They will sit and stare while you draw-down from close range.)

                    As I've already stated, it provides me no pleasure to kill them, but it's them or your garden, and God knows that they appear to be an inexhaustible resource, at least around here.
                    Last edited by Fishman'81; 09-12-2019, 01:44 PM.

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                    • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                      Originally posted by Fishman'81 View Post
                      I used to live on a quarter-acre plot. We had 'chucks there, too, and a big garden, and it was in an area where one could not legally discharge a firearm...

                      My advice: employ the trusty old Crosman 760 using the cone-shaped pellets and a full 10 pumps on the compressor. Those rounds will dispatch them humanly at close range. No gunpowder involved.

                      (Sure, you have to be within 10'-15' or so, and put one between its eyes, but that's easier than many people might imagine... Woodchucks keep bankers' hours, and peek out of their burrows at anything near it during late morning and late afternoon. They will sit and stare while you draw-down from close range.)

                      As I've already stated, it provides me no pleasure to kill them, but it's them or your garden, and God knows that they appear to be an inexhaustible resource, at least around here.
                      Unfortunately they live under the shed and are quite clever. They got so savy they would wait to hear the car go down the driveway to come out.

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                      • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                        Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                        Unfortunately they live under the shed and are quite clever. They got so savy they would wait to hear the car go down the driveway to come out.
                        Ah, but you're more clever on any day of the week, and twice on a Tuesday.

                        We had two females and 6 kits under our shed this Spring, and a visiting male. They learned our habits, yes, but they can easily be out-maneuvered if one has the patience.

                        Easiest way to start the carnage is to drive off a few yards, throw a couple of shovel-fulls of dirt into the most accessible opening, and park yourself a few feet away on a camp chair... Within minutes, they'll start to dig out, and offer multiple easy shots.

                        I got all nine of them before mid-May this year using this approach, or via some variation of it. (And, as gruesome as it sounds, it helps to stuff the carcasses back in the burrow, too. Seems that practice discourages newcomers.)

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                        • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                          Originally posted by Fishman'81 View Post
                          Ah, but you're more clever on any day of the week, and twice on a Tuesday.

                          We had two females and 6 kits under our shed this Spring, and a visiting male. They learned our habits, yes, but they can easily be out-maneuvered if one has the patience.

                          Easiest way to start the carnage is to drive off a few yards, throw a couple of shovel-fulls of dirt into the most accessible opening, and park yourself a few feet away on a camp chair... Within minutes, they'll start to dig out, and offer multiple easy shots.

                          I got all nine of them before mid-May this year using this approach, or via some variation of it. (And, as gruesome as it sounds, it helps to stuff the carcasses back in the burrow, too. Seems that practice discourages newcomers.)
                          I will have to tell lil les this technique. We can't see the opening of the burrow. He sat on the porch with the pump gun and they figured out not to come out. Then he started out the 2nd story window. That worked until they figured out to listen to the footsteps on the stairs.

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                          • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                            Originally posted by leswp1 View Post
                            I will have to tell lil les this technique. We can't see the opening of the burrow. He sat on the porch with the pump gun and they figured out not to come out. Then he started out the 2nd story window. That worked until they figured out to listen to the footsteps on the stairs.
                            Yes, they can pick-up on habitual threats after a day or two. The young of the year are quite naive, but the older ones learn pretty quickly.

                            Still, their curiosity is usually their downfall. Throw any foreign object into your shed burrows, and they'll get busy removing it... Then they'll stare and stare, and offer a good shot from very close range, as long as you sit quite still.

                            That entire process generally takes less than 30 minutes, in my experience. Even veteran 'chucks can't help themselves, and peek-out for several minutes, directly at an interloper who's at least 15' away.

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                            • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                              Originally posted by alfablue View Post
                              It's interesting to hear about people starting "Victory Gardens"- which is happening all over the place. I've been gardening for a while now- but for the taste of fresh veggies and fruit.

                              Assuming that you don't have challenges like invasive trees and their nasty roots, look up "no dig" gardening. It has the bonus of being incredibly high yield with the need of lack of work to the soil. Being lazy pays off! And if you have not started one, start composting immediately- make it so that you can have two or three piles so that they "ripen" at different times. And look into making a worm bin.

                              Also, try to figure out what kind of soil you have for your favorite perennial fruit. I tried raspberries and blueberries- and only the raspberries worked. Now they are spreading all over a controlled space to great yield, too.

                              It's a great way to spend some time.
                              I had to look up "victory gardens" huh.


                              I have some nasty roots but I'm trying to decide if we want to box them in and do a raised garden like my parents used to have. A bunch of railroad ties and fill it with garden soil. How deep would you need that?

                              Will do on composting, but I don't really have a good spot to store it yet. Good advice though.

                              I have a mix of soils. Backyard is mostly decent soil but a little compacted. Was going to get someone to aerate this fall. I think the back has a nice sandy loam. Nice and soft. The front might as well be concrete in the summer. Super dry clay that sucks to keep wet.
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                              • Re: Garden Geeks thread

                                Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
                                I had to look up "victory gardens" huh.


                                I have some nasty roots but I'm trying to decide if we want to box them in and do a raised garden like my parents used to have. A bunch of railroad ties and fill it with garden soil. How deep would you need that?

                                Will do on composting, but I don't really have a good spot to store it yet. Good advice though.

                                I have a mix of soils. Backyard is mostly decent soil but a little compacted. Was going to get someone to aerate this fall. I think the back has a nice sandy loam. Nice and soft. The front might as well be concrete in the summer. Super dry clay that sucks to keep wet.
                                There's a pretty interesting "debate" about aerating vs soil health out there. I'm sure there's a forum out there that talks about it- what I'm seeing is just different ideas about how to grow stuff. Given the way I put the idea, I'm more of a soil health person- which means not digging anymore. So if you have a decent area of drainage (not great, just decent)- then the no-dig procedure is to cover the proposed area with cardboard, and then put a few inches of compost on that. Worms will come on their own- breaking the lower soil up some more. But by leaving it alone- you let the natural fungi that helps stuff grow stay alive- even with the worms digging holes.

                                Even lazier, the cardboard can be directly placed over grass- so even less work.

                                I saw it first on Charles Downing's youtube page.

                                I have had to adapt it to containers, as I have some nasty invasive tree roots from neighbors. It eventually binds up the soil completely, taking nutrients and water. So I have what's called the rain gutter grow system- where the containers wick water from a source below it. And I have not moved the soil for a few years- just added compost to the top. No fertilizer, too. Just normal compost and worm castings that come from my back yard.

                                The idea is more to be cheap and lazy at the same time- it also turns out to be nicely organic.

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