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Nan's Trying it Again 2019 Veggie Garden

Last summer (2018), was my fifth year trying to garden at the local Community Gardens.  I really gave it the old college try, but, when my uphill garden neighbor put down rubber roofing for weed block and it rained 14" in a space of 10 days, it became very apparent THAT location was not for me.
Originally, I ended up at the Community Gardens because I live in a wooded area and have to contend with shade issues and lots of forest critters, especially whitetail deer.  I've tried gardening in the dirt, along with raised beds, but finally conceded to those critters and ended up growing in containers on our deck.  Don't let anyone fool you....whitetail deer will eat ANYTHING if they are hungry enough.  Here's proof.  This is a 12-foot holly tree next to my home that was wrapped in 3/4" grid bird netting this winter.

And a crabapple tree that my late Dad planted from a sucker off my grandmother's crabapple. Notice all four feet are off the ground.

So, after the moron and the monsoon at the Community Gardens, I relinquished my two 30'x30' plots.  And, last fall, we did a massive landscape project in the front yard, removing 7 huge tulip poplar and oak trees.  Where there was shade, now there is NONE!  After 26 years, I have sun!  So, I set to create my garden.  A deer- and critter-proof garden.  Here is what happened this week:
Garden Enclosure.jpg

We basically have no dirt, so this is a container garden.  If you want to plant something here, get ready to move shale, clay and rocks.  And buy dirt.  So, I asked for dirt for Christmas.
What you're looking at is a modified golf cage.  Since everything is visible from the street, there's a pretty end and a business end.  Up front is a 6'x6' entrance containing a couple of attractive planters and trellises, followed by 2'x4' raised beds and, behind that is another 8'x10' area that joins the front one.  That's Phase I.  Phase II will be another attached 8'x10' area in the back.  Everything is covered in 750 pound deer netting with hardware cloth around the base of the perimeter.  The top of the fence is tensioned by cable ties that extend from the top horizontal to the top of the net, where a shade cloth grip is fastened in case that becomes an eventuality this summer.  Outside the rear of the cage is where my small cold frame has been moved, along with a 2Hx3Wx2dD "nursery" enclosure sitting on hardware cloth and wrapped with bird netting, which will eventually be covered with a frost blanket and shade cloth, to harden off this year's starts.  The whole area has a southwest exposure, so it gets pretty intense come August. 
All in all, I'm pretty excited and pleased with how everything's coming together.  I want a useful garden, but it needs to look nice, too.  When all the i's are dotted and tee's crossed, all the structure above ground level will be painted a flat black that will blend in a lot better than shiny EMT conduit pipe.  There's an area to the left of the front gate that I sprayed yesterday, just to see how it would look.
So, that's my garden this year!  I am so stoked to be able to grow at home.  Speaking of growing, I have some onions starts that need to be planted!
Looking VERY GOOD there. It should all fall into place nicely. Whats up with all that animosity towards Bambi? They just want to be snackin a little![emoji6][emoji848] Anyway, good luck.
Thanks! As for Bambi, yeah, those critters can be destructive. I live 10 miles north of the state capital and the township is undergoing massive development. The deer, not to mention black bear and red foxes, are being pushed out of their habitat into residential areas already developed. Their numbers are climbing and their health is failing. Chronic wasting disease is becoming the norm and not the exception. It's really a sad commentary on a problem created by man.
Soooooooooo, I decided to grow a new variety of tomato, "W," from the University of Florida, and was able to get one of the transplants to root in some hydroponic solution. What do I do at this point? I've got hydroton and invested in what I'll call a " top hat" from the local hydroponics store that fits on a 5 gallon bucket. Do I fill the bucket with solution so that the bottom of the roots are in the solution? It's going to be at least 2 weeks until I can get the thing out doors permanently, and I don't want to be hauling around a 5 gallon bucket of solution. Can I grow it in a smaller container and move it to a larger one later?


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The kids have been out on the deck hardening off for a few days, but we are expected to have some nights in the forties. I haven't decided if I'm going to drag them back in or just try to protect them outside.


Also, here are the NuMex Suave Orange peppers I started last fall, took to Florida, and brought back.


Along with a Garden Gem tomato, that traveled to Florida also. It's my first time trying an indoor grow of a tomato, and I've been harvesting for about a month now. (Pats self on the back.)




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Well, it looks like I didn't calculate my plant out date correctly. May 7th is what I was shooting for, but now they're forecasting high 30s for Sunday night. I don't think even a couple of layers of Agribon is going to cut it.


This outside mini greenhouse is going to have to be set up with a heat source because I don't have enough room inside under the lights for everything!


Last winter, I had a shop light plugged into a smart outlet running under an IFTTT routine to heat the shelter for the feral cats. A wireless thermometer connected to my weather station (which reports to WeatherUnderground via AmbientWeather) will be placed inside the mini-greenhouse. After moving the smart outlet and lamp and altering the on-and-off temperature triggers, that should make the greenhouse environment a happy place for my kids. Should. (Fingers crossed .)
Time for an update.

Last evening, our low temp was 37°F. As we were celebrating Easter with my family yesterday away from home, I didn't take the time to set up the mini-greenhouse and just lugged all the plants inside. It's a jungle in here! After Tuesday, nighttime lows won't fall below 55, and it will be 52 tomorrow night, so I'm taking everything back out and, if need be, will make use of the AgriBon if I have to.

And, the bones of the new garden are finally finished! Except, I'm waiting for the landscapers to show up with the mulch that will line the floor of the cage, along with the rest of the front yard. The entry space is a 6'x6' area with a couple of raised beds and decorative pots, and the business end of the garden is two connected 8'x10' spaces that will house 15 gallon grow bags, for a total of 196 square feet. Juuuust a bit smaller than the 1800 square feet I had in the Community Gardens. This view is from the rear, looking toward the street. While in Florida this winter, I'd picked up a simple frame with an insect netting cover to keep the bunnies from nibbling on my starts. It will make a fine insect barrier for my eggplants. The simple coldframe will reside outside the back entrance.

As the garden's so small, it will be a real struggle to keep it orderly, but I am bound and determined to make it as pretty as it will be (hopefully) productive.

The borage weathered last night's cool temps, as well as the arugula, lettuce, spinach and peas. The soil thermometer in the raised bed reads only 50°F,so it will be some time before I can plant anything else.

I inadvertently forgot to bring in the Italian flat leaf parsley and "The Best Mint" spearmint, but they're both fine. I've picked parsley well into the winter many times. The mint usually holds up well longer than the tender herbs, so long as it's well watered and in a protected spot. The next project will be to unearth all of the pots stashed in the garage over the years. I'll need them for all my herbs!

One final comment....I have been having a terrible time posting, especially where it involves attaching a photo. On both my phone and my PC, all the formatting options are "greyed out" and unavailable and every time I click "Submit Post," the site will kick me out without posting anything. Any thoughts? In order to get this much posted, I needed to submit text only, then edit it to attach the photo, which still doesn't show up anywhere in the editing screen.


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This morning's harvest: Garden Gem tomatoes. From a plant started here in Pennsylvania last December, transported to Florida and back, then set up at the front of the lighted mini-greenhouse.


I've actually been picking tomatoes since March and am pretty proud of my first indoor grow. For better or for worse, the plant is now outdoors on the south side of the deck, and, will eventually end up in the garden.

It just occurred to me I hadn't posted a grow list yet, so here it is.  Where I can identify the seed or plant source, I've noted it.  Most of the culinary herbs I grow aren't included here, but, add to this list all the usual suspects....lots of basil, dill and parsley, sage, thyme, tarragon, Greek and Italian oreganos, rosemary, marjoram, savory, spearmint, etc., along with edible flowers such as borage and nasturtium and a couple of flowers, such as red salvia, just for the pollinators..  I'm certain I'll throw some squash in the mix at some later point, also.  Gotta have some ratatouille.
Cardoon, Porto Spineless, Johnny's  
Pole Bean, Northeaster, Johnny's 
Cucumber, Tasty Green Hybrid, Johnny's  
Cucumber,  Iznik Hybrid, Johnny's  
Cucumber,  Diva, Johnny's   
Eggplant, Amadeo, Park Seed   
Passion Flower, Briar Rose Nursery   
Cardinal Flower Vine, Ferry-Morse Seeds 
Yellow Storage Onion, Patterson, Johnny's 
Oregano, Italian    
Oregano, Greek   
Pea, Sugar, Super Sugar, Johnny's   
Pea, Shell, Premium (Treated), Johnny's   
Pepper, NuMex Trick or Treat, Chili Pepper Inst.   
Pepper,  NuMex Suave Orange, Johnny's   
Pepper,  Red Biquinho, Johnny's   
Pepper,  Yellow Biquinho, Johnny's   
Pepper,  Peach Biquinho, White Hot Peppers   
Pepper,  Spanish Piquillo, Chili Pepper Inst.   
Pepper,  NuMex Primavera, Chili Pepper Inst.   
Pepper,  Piment d'Espelette, Nice Spice Co.   
Pepper,  Aleppo, Ford's; Baker Creek   
Pepper,  Frigatello, Ford's   
Pepper,  Mad Hatter, Johnny's 
Pepper,  Inca Red Drop, OP, Self Collected
Spinach, Corvair F1, Johnny’s
Tomato, Cherokee Purple
Tomato, Garden Treasure, Univ. of FL   
Tomato, "W", Univ. of FL   
Tomato, Pozzano F1, Johnny's  
Tomato, Garden Gem, Univ. of FL   
Tomato, Black Cherry 
And, yes, with the exception of the cardoon, this will all be inside a 196 square foot container garden.  Hopefully.


nmlarson said:
Here's testiment, to the habitat pressure we've been putting on the wildlife in this Township. This was the second sighting in 2 weeks. Make that the second sighting in 29 years, both within the past 2 weeks.

Awwwwww, looks like a cute little red fox!
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