• Everything other than hot peppers. Questions, discussion, and grow logs. Cannabis grow pics are only allowed when posted from a legal juridstiction.

Downriver 2023 - Garden Adventures

Since the weather has warmed up somewhat, I moved the tomato plants outside to the carport as well. They are not in very good shape, for some reason. Spindly, weak, even frail looking. I'm hoping being outside with Mother Nature taking over will bring them up to a healthier place. I need to inventory the tomato plants to see what I have left. I'm not too worried, there's still plenty to fill up a few rows. Pics coming soon.
Do to some family issues over the last month, the status of the garden cleanup hasn't changed. I've only been able to spend a few hours on it thus far, but now I can get back at it full time. I need to. Plant-out will be in the next week or two. :shocked:

So, one of the first things to do is get the electric fence-line cleared and back in working order. The other day I was mowing around the outside of the fence and about 15' in front of me I noticed a vole (field mouse) come out of is hole, kinda jump up in the air, then disappear back into his hole. A few seconds later he ran back out, did a small circle, then disappeared again. At first I figured it was the vibration of the mower. Then, the more I thought about it, I remembered another thing that makes them nervous. Sure enough, I looked down the fence line and there he was.

Black Snake IMG_20230506_153045791.jpg Black Snake IMG_20230506_153045094~2.jpg

That's five foot of black snake, and I couldn't see his head. He had already started to go under a board along the fence. I hope that vole packed his bags, because Mr. Snake looked hungry, lol.
By the way, Did y'all know that to increase the size of your peaches, you're supposed to thin the fruits on the tree when they're the size of a quarter, or less? Well, I'm new at growing peaches, and I didn't know until I read an article by the University of Florida. You get less fruit, but the fruit you harvest should be larger and of better quality. I figure they know better than I. So, I grab my eight foot latter and head out to "thin". Several hours later, and with a crook in my neck from constantly looking up, I finished ONE tree. We have two trees. Not sure the other one will be thinned, ha. This better work! lol

The beginning...
Peach Tree thinnings IMG_20230512_142602867.jpg Peach Tree thinnings IMG_20230512_141042799.jpg

...the end. All peaches are now spaced at least 6-8" apart. Woohoo! Makes my neck hurt looking at 'em.
Peach Tree thinnings IMG_20230512_164205061.jpg
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The sugar maples are finally done dropping their helicopter seeds. It was a bumper crop this year. Those things sprout everywhere. The garage gutters are full, even the back of the old pickup. Anybody need a sugar maple lol.

Sugar Maple Seedlings IMG_20230518_185815810~2.jpg
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As I've said elsewhere, it's been a busy couple of weeks. Lots of row prepping, then planting, then more row prepping, more planting, rinse-and-repeat. Lots of progress has been made, and the end just might be in sight lol. Several things are growing, some faster than others. Here's the status of a few.

?Berries (either Blackberry or Raspberry) – In the process of flowering and forming berries. So far, so good.

Blackberries IMG_20230608_125944398.jpg Blackberries IMG_20230608_125928421.jpg

Blueberries – These guys have loaded up and are starting to produce ripe berries. We're trying to keep them picked before the birds find them.

Blueberries IMG_20230608_125849494~2.jpg Blueberries IMG_20230608_125836112~2.jpg

Collards & Cabbage – Finally got these transplanted, but I think it's probably too late. They've grown quite a bit in 10 days, so time will tell.

Collards-Cabbage IMG_20230607_161401854.jpg

Tomatoes – In general, the plants haven't looked good since the beginning. Hardening off outside helped several recover, but there's still some struggling. We managed to get this row planted last week, followed by another row a few days later. Seem to be doing ok. I think there's one more row left in the truck “nursery”.

Tomatoes 9L IMG_20230606_180132681.jpg

Beans – Planted several varieties of pole beans two weeks ago. They're up and doing good!

Beans IMG_20230607_152721910.jpg

Okra – started seven seeds each of Heavy Hitter and AfricanX. The HH is 7/7, the AX only 1/7. I need to prep their row and plant them this week.

Okra - Heavy Hitter IMG_20230605_155006726~2.jpg Okra - AfricanX IMG_20230607_180856931~2.jpg

Cucumbers – I direct-sowed three varieties. They all sprouted, only to be eaten by “something” within a few days. I've done this twice. I think it's crickets, believe it or not. Now I've started seeds in pots and will transplant.

There's a few more things to get going. More to come.
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Decided to grow butternut squash again this year. This variety is Waltham Butternut Virginia Select. I've grown a lot of butternuts over the years, but this one was the best of all. Excellent production and fine quality of fruit, along with a great taste. When I grew it a few years ago, it averaged 8 fruit per plant. I had four plants and harvested 34 fruit that Fall, averaging 3-4 lb each. Excellent storage qualities as well. They lasted us until early Spring. These are seeds I saved. Germination 7/7.

Squash - VA Butternut Select IMG_20230610_190030906.jpg
While I was here, I thought I'd post a couple of this year's visitors (so far).

Baby Bunny (1 of 3, I think) It's about the size of a softball. Thankfully, they're up by the house, not the garden.

Animal - Baby Bunnie IMG_20230610_180840701_BURST001.jpg Animal - Baby Bunnie IMG_20230610_180840701.jpg

Froggie (Copes Gray Tree Frog, I think) He's hiding in some citrus cuttings I'm trying to start, which are up in the back of the pickup.

Animal - Copes Gray Treefrog IMG_20230611_175756846.jpg Animal - Copes Gray Treefrog IMG_20230611_175840990~2.jpg
An update: Lots has been going on in the garden - mostly good, some not so good. We've gotten rain every few days for the last two weeks, which is good. But, because the ground has been so wet, we haven't been able to transplant the okra, which is not so good. Most everything else has been transplanted, which is good. From a seed perspective, everything is in the ground, except Summer Squash. That's ok, I don't plant them before July 1st anyway, to avoid the squash vine borers. There will still be plenty of squash to be had, and hopefully no baseball bats, haha.

Some pics:

Tomatoes - We planted three rows, staggered by about a week each. You can see the size difference. Hopefully, this will extend our harvest until frost, if the early blight doesn't take them out first..
Tomatoes IMG_20230627_161123428.jpg

Peppers - Except for one shishito, the peppers are settling in, flowering and setting pods. The shishito got gnawed down by something. My guess is a cutworm or a vole. I found it wilted and laying on its side. Just a few threads remained between the two pieces. I did some field triage on it, but its' chances are slim.
Peppers IMG_20230627_161906620.jpg

Collards/Cabbage - doing well, until the Cabbage Moth arrived. I picked 16 cabbage worms off the 6 plants one day, then two days later, I picked another 21. That day, I sprayed with BT. It's been a week, and I haven't found any more. But, it has rained, so I might need to re-treat.
Greens - Collards Cabbage IMG_20230627_161847964.jpg

...and, we've enjoyed collards a couple of times already. Yum!
Food - Warrantman IMG_20230701_180919940.jpg

And, of course, there's the unwanted visitors.

Vole damage - it's wiped out one trellis of beans, and has started working on a second. I fight these little f*ckers every year. There's not much you can do about it, just hope Mother Nature has the hawks, owls, eagles, and snakes visit more often, I guess.
Beans - damage IMG_20230626_121314309.jpg

Then there's the Harlequin bugs. They LOVE collards and cabbage - who knew! The BT treatment seems to have been effective on them as well. (sorry for the blurry pic)
Insect - Harlequin Bug IMG_20230627_181740437~2.jpg

And lastly, your friendly neighborhood squirrel. Digging blissfully, looking for previously buried nuts, and couldn't care less about the peppers. Luckily, he hasn't dug a plant up...yet. Not much you can do. The electric fence won't stop them, because of the way it works. Glad they don't seem to eat peppers or tomatoes.
Peppers - squirell digging IMG_20230626_114658030.jpg
...Did y'all know that to increase the size of your peaches, you're supposed to thin the fruits on the tree when they're the size of a quarter, or less? Well, I'm new at growing peaches, and I didn't know until I read an article by the University of Florida. You get less fruit, but the fruit you harvest should be larger and of better quality...

A quick update/observation. The fruits continue to grow, which is a good thing. It looks like the "thinned" tree is indeed producing larger fruit. The "un-thinned" tree seems to have LESS fruit than before, and they are smaller in comparison.

Tree - Peach not thinned IMG_20230623_162056035~2.jpg

Tree - Peach culled IMG_20230623_161831941~2.jpg

Hopefully we'll harvest our first peach this season. Fingers crossed.
I may have mentioned the "Bean Reclamation Act of 2023". I had let four rows of bean trellises go fallow for a few years. I decided it was time to "reclaim" the space.

Beans - pre reclamation IMG_20230628_145505649.jpg

Beans - reclamation IMG_20230628_145359988.jpg

Turned out to be a LOT of work. We planted tomatoes in the left row, and okra will go in the right row (if it ever dries out). As you can see, this is only TWO rows. I still have two more to do, that look just like the "before" pic.:shocked:
Hi folks. Thought I'd pop in for a quick post or two.

How about a little now you see 'em, now you don't.

Here are some lilies up by the house. Now you see them...
Flower - Lilly IMG_20230708_174122288.jpg

...and, literally the next day, now you don't.
Flower - Lilly eaten IMG_20230711_182300264.jpg

Bambi swinging by for a little dessert, I guess.
Peach tree update.

As you might recall, I've been conducting a very unscientific study re thinning peaches. I thinned one tree, I left the other alone. These are young trees, just starting to produce their first good crop.

Here's the unthinned tree. Fruits are smaller and lagging behind the thinned tree.

Tree - Peach unthinned IMG_20230721_154331371~2.jpg

Here's the thinned tree. Much more fruit, larger, and starting to mature. They're still pretty firm (like a baseball), but I think they'll be ready in a week or two (fingers crossed).

Tree - Peach thinned IMG_20230721_154254713~2.jpg
Remember that game we played with the lilies? Now think peaches. The previous post has the thinned fruit “now you see 'em” pic. This is the “...now you don't” pic.

Thinned fruit

Tree - Peach post attack IMG_20230724_183029500 - Copy.jpg

In a matter of 36 hours (two nights, one day), this tree was stripped of all fruit, except one. Could not believe what I was seeing. There had to be easily over 100 peaches on this tree! There was NO fruit on the ground, only about a half-dozen of these:

Tree - Peach post attack IMG_20230724_183148877~2.jpg

The only thing I can come up with is squirrels. The branches are too thin to support raccoons or opossums, and the fruits were too high for deer to reach. There's a pretty good colony of squirrels living near the peach trees. Might be time to thin the population.

By the way, I discovered this carnage in the morning, on the way to the garden. On the way back to the house a few hours later, I thought I'd at least pick the last remaining peach, so we could at least get a taste. It was gone, by then, as well.

So, after using several of those words reserved for just such an occasion, we figured we at least had the other tree with its immature fruits that hopefully would produce. I was figuring out a netting scheme to use before they ripened. Turns out not to be necessary. Three days later, the green, unripe fruits were completely stripped like the first tree.

I guess the unscientific fruit thinning test is cancelled for this year. Boo.