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2018 NMLarson Community Garden GLOG

glog growing other nmlarson vegetable garden

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#1 nmlarson

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 08:38 PM

I've created garden journals in the past, along with using on-line garden planners that incorporated notes, but nothing like a GLOG.  So, here goes!

 
The planner I've used the past couple of years generates an image of the garden, along with a plant list.  My home is a development in a wooded area, on the side of a hill, so all the trees and critters makes it next to impossible to garden.  I do have a few things I grow in pots on our deck, like kitchen herbs and one or two tomatoes, but for all intents and purposes, I don't garden at home.  
 
The community garden where I do garden, requires a lot of prep work.  It's a County-run community garden, so you live by their rules.  And, their rules say you give the garden back at the end of the year, they mow it then and disc it at the beginning of each new year.  So, every spring, you essentially prepare a new garden.   
 
My two 30'x30' plots are, fortunately, connected but, unfortunately, the land slopes diagonally across them.  Each year, after the gardens are disced, I move dirt from the high end to the low end and lay out raised beds to help counter the flow of water when the summer downpours come.  The soil from the pathways goes toward raising the beds in the low side of the garden. 
 
At any rate, my garden is my therapy.  It feeds the gardener, the artist and the chef in me.  This is my 2018 layout, designed by me, but generated by the planner:
 
2018 garden plan.jpg
Here's a direct link to the image:  https://www.growveg....lans/927422.jpg
 
Eighteen hundred square feet is a lot for one person to garden without any power tools or machinery, so there's about 450 square feet at the east end that will get planted in cover crop this year.  It's a "keyhole" garden, something new for me. Theoretically, all the growing areas of the garden can be reached from a pathway, eliminating the need to walk on any bed.  However, I have a few mesh-enclosed "hoop houses" I've built to grow the most pest-prone veggies... cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, & bush beans... and they are all located at the high end of the garden, outside of the "keyhole" area.  That area will also house a 55 gallon water tank, two chairs, an umbrella and, a prerequisite in any of my gardens, a small folding table to hold cold beverages..  :cheers: 
 
True to the past few years, it's already proving to be another weird weather year. The gardens opened May 1, as it's been too wet here to disc.  On May 2, I put up my flag, perimeter stakes and fencing, and it started raining again.  The east-west trench is dug, and I decided to concentrate on getting the beds in order, as I haven't had a chance to get any of the onions, beets or lettuce in yet. 
 
flag.jpg
 
The lettuce and onions are sitting on the window box at my kitchen window, waiting for dirt day:
 
kitchen window.jpg
 
Pepper, tomato and eggplant starts went pretty well this year.  Only a couple of variety of tomatoes, one grape, one sauce type and one saladette gave me fits, dropping their lowest branches, acting as if they had the wilt.  But, they are still growing, so I just isolated them from the others.  They've all been moved outside onto the deck, as they've grown too large for my indoor grow area, some of the peppers over a foot tall at this point.  
 
deck.jpg
 
They have been potted on to 4" pots and that's where they'll stay until dirt day.  The only disappointment was a peach biquinho, which never germinated, and I'm out of space in the garden, so it's no great loss.
 
out.jpg
 
That's not the case for the tomatillos.  They are getting HUGE, toppling over, so they will go into a couple gallon pots.
 
Here's the entire plan, including plant list.  Hope the link works.
 
Soooooooooo, that is the beginning of my GLOG. Until dirt day!  Hope you enjoy following my GLOG!
 

Edited by nmlarson, 12 May 2018 - 09:06 PM.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


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#2 Sinn

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 10:14 PM

Looking good that a big space in the garden wish i had that here sending good vibes your way ;)



#3 Bhuter

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 10:16 PM

Nice plant list! A whole array of different stuff! Very organized. Your garden-in-cells-and-pots looks fantastic!!! Best of luck to you this growing season.

#4 nmlarson

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:02 AM

Looking good that a big space in the garden wish i had that here sending good vibes your way ;)

Thanks!  Sometimes I think it's too much, say this is the last year, then next year comes and I do it all over again.  ;)

 

Nice plant list! A whole array of different stuff! Very organized. Your garden-in-cells-and-pots looks fantastic!!! Best of luck to you this growing season.

Thanks!  I grow what I know we like to eat, what I like to put up and what I know friends will appreciate.


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#5 nmlarson

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:23 AM

Well, my update is.......

 

NO MORE RAIN--at least for a while.jpg

 

there's no update.   :rolleyes:   Just when the garden begins to dry out, it rains again.  There's so much clay present in the soil there, I don't dare set foot in the community garden plots.  The fabric pot option is beginning to look pretty good.  At the moment, all the trays are on the only covered portion of the deck, as they'd be flooded/washed out by the downpours happening. 

 

Does anyone know how long plants can grow in 4" pots, without compromising future growth?  Better yet, what to do to keep them healthy in 4" pots until they can hit the dirt?  I've never tried to grow them in smallish pots this long and am hoping the collective experience here can help guide me.   :pray: 

 

 


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#6 Bhuter

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 04:14 AM

Well, my update is.......
 
attachicon.gif NO MORE RAIN--at least for a while.jpg
 
there's no update.   :rolleyes:   Just when the garden begins to dry out, it rains again.  There's so much clay present in the soil there, I don't dare set foot in the community garden plots.  The fabric pot option is beginning to look pretty good.  At the moment, all the trays are on the only covered portion of the deck, as they'd be flooded/washed out by the downpours happening. 
 
Does anyone know how long plants can grow in 4" pots, without compromising future growth?  Better yet, what to do to keep them healthy in 4" pots until they can hit the dirt?  I've never tried to grow them in smallish pots this long and am hoping the collective experience here can help guide me.   :pray: 
 
 

That's a great photobomb.

#7 Walchit

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 09:47 AM

I've gotten pretty big plants from the nursery in sixpacks that turned out nice. Maybe they just feed them more. 



#8 nmlarson

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:50 PM

I've gotten pretty big plants from the nursery in sixpacks that turned out nice. Maybe they just feed them more. 

 

There's a "plain" (Mennonite) greenhouse I always try to go to for annual flowers when I visit my mother and sister because of the great prices and healthy plants.  Last summer, I asked one of the girls what they feed their plants, especially the flowers, that made them grow so healthy.  She told me they used some "balanced" fertilizer cooked up by one of their Mennonite relatives who farms and that they fed all the plants EVERY DAY with a dilute solution of it.  Kind of like hydroponics, I suppose.


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#9 nmlarson

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 02:53 PM

WooHoo!   :dance:  Dirt day!  I am READY!

tools and tunes.jpg

 


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#10 nmlarson

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 07:01 PM

Things in the community garden are progressing well.  The lettuce had to get covered with shade cloth, as it doesn't much like 90 degrees F and humid.  All the raised beds are completed, most are planted, all the peppers staked and the hoop houses were completed and planted with eggplants, bush beans, a zucchini and cukes today.  Each has it's own hoop house. 

 

My husband came up with a clever design for the hoop houses that turned out to be really flexible, too.  The bases are 1-1/4" PVC pipe, joined with elbows and, if needed, center struts are included with tees.  A step bit is used to drill holes through the pipes and elbows, and 1/2" pex pipe make up the hoops.  Micromesh covers the enclosures and virtually eliminates the need for pesticides, which is saying SOMETHING for a community garden where every type of bug shows up in massive numbers.  Three years ago I witnessed a 30' row of bush beans get stripped in a day by Mexican bean beetles. 

 

19466410_10208156039453345_5483367690515

 

I've used these enclosures for 4 seasons and, over the years, have sliced and diced them to the point it's become somewhat of a puzzle to assemble them every year. 

 

It was another hot, humid day and I'm hoping for some rain tonight.  The water tank got topped off and the entrance arch went up, as well.  The arch will be covered with cardinal flower vines.  Two years ago I'd tried an archway, and went a bit overboard with the vines.  As I recall, I planted 8 vines and the thing got so heavy, it partially collapsed.  So, this year, it's been beefed up a bit and there are only 4 plants to cover it.  The perimeter plantings of scarlet sage, borage and sunflowers are complete, as well.  That never got finished last year.  I figure there's another day or two of planting, then it will be maintenance until the harvest begins to come in.  The shade cloth will get heavy use this year, sheltering successive plantings of arugula and spinach through the heat of summer.  Fingers crossed that this year won't have the wild swings in temperature and rainfall that were present the past three years!

 

June 1.jpg


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#11 Sawyer

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 12:39 PM

Looks like you're off to a great start. Good luck.

For future reference, I've grown pepper plants in 4" pots for a full year. While they obviously are stunted during the year, it makes them easier to over-winter in a sunny window. And once in ground or larger pots the next spring, they don't seem to take too long to get with the program.

#12 nmlarson

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 10:36 AM


For future reference, I've grown pepper plants in 4" pots for a full year. 

 

Wow!  Nice to know.  Do you keep pruning them back, or let them try to produce?  Every winter, hubby and I head south in the coach for a couple of months, towing my Jeep GC which is usually stuffed with the plants I can't bear to leave behind.  Four inch pots would be a whole lot easier to deal with, especially when trying to keep them from freezing.  

 

20180301_110145.jpg


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#13 Sawyer

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:57 PM

Ha! My favorite pub is a dog-friendly place. I've thought of putting one of my plants on a leash on a wheeled cart and taking it there for a drink. If I had a robot that could negotiate steps, I'd do it.

But no, I don't usually prune the plants. They are usually so stressed blooming is the last thing on their minds. I don't really recommend it, but they can survive.

#14 PtMD989

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:15 PM

I love it! A mobile terrarium


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#15 nmlarson

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 08:29 AM

Things are progressing, albeit at a much slower pace than I'd like.  Part of the fault is mine...the complicated plan I decided on this year; the other is Mother Nature.  About the time I get beds prepped for planting, it starts raining again and the weeds take hold. I'm about 75% done and only have the corners of beds and some succession planting to complete, along with tons of weeding.  There's more grass in my plots this year than ever before!

 

I'm also fighting a mystery with a few of my tomatoes, all of the grape/saladette varieties I'm growing, and believe I'm making progress solving it.  The plants were doing really  well until late in the hardening-off process (that took place on my deck).  There was a lot of rain in April and the plants were getting too big for their 4" pots, some really stretching.  All of a sudden, all the new growth, of those types, started looking whispy. 

mystery.jpg

mystery2.jpg

 

Just before planting out, the edges of the newest leaves started browning and curling under.  I was scratching my head, as I have 5 other tomato varieties that were, and are still, doing well, along with 19 varieties of sweet & hot peppers and 3 varieties of eggplant, so I decided to check the pH of the well water I use for watering.  Last year, when my husband and I returned from the winter's trek south, we noticed a bluish-green stain appearing in the plumbing fixtures.  For some reason (I suspect all the new excavation and construction uphill of our house is the culprit), our well water had turned acidic...great for plants but bad for copper pipes.  So we had a filter installed that was, essentially, a bed of limestone, to bring the pH back up to a perfect 7.0, great for copper pipes and plumbing fixtures, not that great for plants. 

 

After dirt day, the odd behavior continued, to the point where I actually pulled one and pitched it, as it wasn't thriving and seemed as it wasn't ever going to.  I treated for a calcium deficiency, as I suspected the pH might be locking out some of the nutrients.  After checking the pH of the water in the tank at the community garden, I discovered that water had become more basic than out of the faucet at home...to the tune of about 8.0.  It's the same water, I transport it to the garden.  :confused:   Another mystery, easily remedied and may have something to do with algae in the tank and full sun all day, but having nothing to do with plants on my deck, where the problem first appeared.

 

The plants are now in the ground about two weeks, with no change for the better.  :banghead:   It has only been one week that I've been correcting the pH issue with the water tank and am continuing to treat for a calcium deficiency.

 

Now, I'm thinking there may be a second issue with herbicide drift from one of the neighbors, specifically the one with the perfect yard who employs THREE landscaping companies, as, now, all  the growth on those plants, new and old, seems to be affected, and now they are showing some curling of the branches.

 

So, I'll continue to nurse those three plants, replaced my Lucky Tiger with a Chocolate Pear (OMG, I actually bought  a plant  :shh: ), and hope for the best.  Yesterday, when I suckered the tomatoes, the new suckers appeared pretty healthy, so maybe all is not lost.  And, I still have two Lucky Tigers on the deck that I cut completely back, just short of their lowest sucker(s), and they may come around.

LT v2.0.jpg

 

Plus, even better, the peppers, and everything else, are doing great, despite the weeds!

June 12.jpg

 


Edited by nmlarson, 14 June 2018 - 08:32 AM.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#16 nmlarson

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 09:24 AM

One of the most helpful tools I've used in the past couple of years is this:  a yellow Solo cup, covered with 

Tanglefoot 300000588 8-Ounce Tangle-Trap Brush On Sticky Trap Coating by Tangle Foot

Get it at Amazon here:  http://a.co/0qOGV0i

 

Just fasten it to a 2' stake and place the stake near the eggplants, or any other plant the bugs are fond of.  It helps me monitor what pests are visiting my plants, so I'm not treating for something that's not present.  Just don't brush up against it.  

 

So far, this year, I'm seeing a LOT of black flies.  

 

tangle foot.jpg


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#17 Walchit

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 12:35 PM

Looking good. Hope you can figure out what is wrong with the maters!



#18 nmlarson

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 01:32 PM

Looking good. Hope you can figure out what is wrong with the maters!

 

Thanks!


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#19 nmlarson

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:34 AM

                      :dance:   :dance:   :dance:

 

My first black pearl!  Gorgeous!

 

black pearl.jpg


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.        Robert Heinlein


#20 Sawyer

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 11:39 AM

Wow, that is a pretty flower.

Sticky traps are da bomb.

This has circulated on the web for awhile, now, but your comment about spray drift and the neighbor's "perfect" lawn reminded me of this humorous conversation between God and St. Francis about lawn care. It's kind of long, and I'm not sure it's appropriate to post it here, so here's a link:

http://www.comptechd...g/humor/garden/





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