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Weedinhoe 07-22-2016 02:09 PM

The gardenís definitely winding down as it does every July. And Iím winding down too after six months of putting in maximum effort to try making the garden the best it can be. Itís the much needed lull between spring and fall gardens.

Hereís the lower left quadrant of the garden now. The cornís gone and I replanted those five rows with ĎBig Red Ripperí field peas two days ago. Behind that the okra is still hanging in there as it loves heat if it gets enough water. However, they should be taller by now. Behind them there are ĎBig Boyí field peas where the beans were, then the empty cuke bed, the pepper row and finally the asparagus ferns.

The ĎBig Red Rippersí planted after springís English peas are starting to vine out. We had some high winds come through with a t-storm earlier in the week and those top heavy plants got kind of laid over. In order to keep some kind of walkway open I rigged up another stake and twine set up to keep them from falling over. So far itís working. Behind them is another bed of Big Boy peas that were put in when green beans came out. I figure Iíll get a full year of legumes in those beds before rotating in something else next spring.

Finally, hereís an updated shot of the grain amaranth. Since Iíve never grown it before I keep watching it, learning its ways. I read somewhere that in order to get the maximum harvest of seed that you need to go through the plants three different times, knocking ready seed off since it doesnít all mature at the exact same time. So far, nothing seems to be starting to dry. And although I also read that some amaranth is subject to lodging, these plants stayed up (except for a few on the left end) during that big wind earlier in the week, even with those heavy heads.

Weedinhoe 07-23-2016 07:26 AM

I know I said yesterday that itís the summer lull out in the garden but last night I did start two market packs of bulbing onions, one of White Granex and one of Barletta, a white pickling onion. All of the bulbing onions were a failure as a spring crop so theyíll all be planted again this fall. Itís just too darned hot here in the spring. Ten days ago I started a dozen fall broccoli plants plus one each Juliet cherry tomato and an Early Girl, two eggplants and one Napa cabbage. I'm gonna play with putting the Napa in a pot. Under the lights:

There have been a ton of wasps crawling all over the sorghum leaves. Whatís with this? I kept standing there watching and then I noticed aphids all over the lowest 12Ē of stalks. Then I turned some of the higher leaves over and they were encrusted with aphids! A good strong hose spray knocked off most but going leaf by leaf was tedious. In this shot one wasp is fairly obvious but there are at least four others on various shaded leaves:

The Butterbush butternut squash vines are about done and Iím wondering how long I need to leave these out curing in the sun before bringing them inside to store. Any suggestions?

In a short while my sister and I are heading out to go fill eight headstone photo requests for Find-A-Grave. We're hoping to "git 'er done" before the heat dials up to max. Another 99 with 106 heat factor today; same-same for the rest of the week. I'm glad most of the spring garden is done.

LindaLou 07-23-2016 09:34 PM

Looks great considering the temps. Do you vernalize bulb onions before planting in the autumn?

Weedinhoe 07-24-2016 07:19 AM

I don't do bulb sets but grow my own plants from seed. The two packs I started are on the far left of that light shelf. It takes about 2 months to make transplantable plants, at least for the scallions.

This spring it seemed to take the bulbing types almost three months. It seems they grow slower. So for an October plant out, I'm starting the slowest ones now. The other two bulbing varieties grew faster so they will get started with the scallions on Aug 22. All will get set out tentatively on Oct 16, a full moon day in Pisces when the moon starts waning.

That's another winter project... to go over the whole 2016 season plant by plant to see if planting by the moon made any difference. It's been tedious determining all the moon phases and zodiac placement of the moon for seeding and transplanting and keeping all those notes. I've about worn out my sister's Farmer's Almanac! :)

Weedinhoe 07-24-2016 07:24 AM


Originally Posted by LindaLou (Post 10809265)
Looks great considering the temps.

It's taken daily watering and, for the most part, mulching. If there's ever a case for mulching, it's survival of plants in this heat. I decided yesterday to stop watering the squash since the vines are failing anyway. It's time. They've done their thing.

The sorghum is the only thing that hasn't been mulched and it's hanging in there. I guess that's because it's a grassy type plant. Looks pretty corny, doesn't it?

LindaLou 07-24-2016 09:56 PM


Originally Posted by Weedinhoe (Post 10812193)
Looks pretty corny, doesn't it?

Oh, that's pretty corny alright ROFL :D:

Weedinhoe 07-29-2016 05:25 PM

This morning was "rip it out of the garden" day. Gotta do stuff like that in the morning before the temps climb.

I tore out the last ailing cucumber on a trellis and all of the dead winter squash vines, ending up with a peach basket full of small butternuts and a few last acorns that had been curing in the sun. Then I read later that you don't have to cure acorn squash.

The experimental shelling beans hit the road too. The Vermont Cranberry beans aren't blooming and are declining. The Borlotto are flowering but putting out very few beans. It's just too hot. Linda Lou had a fun comment about the Christmas Lima. :) Well, I think Iím never again going to plant anything with names including words like like Christmas, Vermont or any other cold-sounding words! The lesson learned from a lot of this springís experimentals is to never plant anything that takes longer than about 75 days to finish or summer will kill it. I lucked out on the winter squash by getting them in early.

Anything left in the garden needed watering again. Even with mulch itís a daily ritual especially with the wind. Not only are we still in the upper 90ís, but today and the last two days there has been a steady hot wind coming out of the southwest, just sucking the moisture out of everything. It hit 14 mph yesterday, 11 mph today. Black walnut leaves are yellowing and yesterday they fell like rain with the wind. Dry, dry, dry.

Aphids are back and encrusting the popping sorghum again. Besides a lot of different kinds of wasps all over the leaves, there are a bajillion of these:

I've never seen them before. Not yellow jackets. Long and thin, maybe 5/8" long. Haven't had time yet to look these up. I think what I'm going to do with the sorghum is to keep two or three of the healthiest and cut all the rest of them down. That way I can keep the few survivors sprayed down with insecticidal soap, hopefully get the plants to maturity and see if the seeds really can be popped like popcorn!

This is the right side of the garden, taken this morning. Lots of empty beds. And the poor sorry sorghum. :o: The amaranth is still hanging in there down at the bottom.

Here's the left side, two beds of field peas in the front. Two beds behind them are the marigolds that I'll probably chop up and till into the soil tomorrow to knock back some nematodes. Nematodes are a whole other story. :mad:

Weedinhoe 07-31-2016 11:13 AM

I am totally frustrated. Southern Root Knot Nematodes. Microscopic organisms that invade plant roots, multiply and disrupt the flow of water from roots to upper plant. The result is stunted growth and little plant output. You can't kill them and can only hope to knock them back with a combination of methods.

There are now seven out of fifteen beds infected. I'm spraying down every tool that is used in these beds with a 10% bleach solution but it's not helping prevent the spread.

Here is what a normally thin, fiberous winter squash root looks like when infested. I've *never* seen a root this thickly knotted before!

Here's a cucumber root ball. Itís just sickening to see all those knots on there.

I've read where sowing mustard and then tilling it in several times in one season disrupts the reproductive cycle and it helped a little. The mustardís volatile oils knock them back enough that the next year you can plant other stuff before having to repeat the process.

Same with marigolds but they have to be French marigolds (species Tagetes) as some other marigold species can attract more. Right now I have a bed of mature marigolds ready to be chopped up and tilled in. Mustard will follow in that bed this fall as soon as it cools off enough to enable germination. Mustard seedís cheap at the local feed Ďní weed.

Friday afternoon was spent doing more nematode research. One extension service suggested tilling the infected beds every ten days in this hot weather as the hot sun will kill eggs brought to the surface. Well, this hot weather might be good for something after all! So I started tilling all the infected beds yesterday morning. That means Iíll now be able to use the tiller only in infected beds because thereís no way to disinfect the whole tiller. Thatís OK, I mainly use a shovel and the Beast fork these days. Itíll give the tiller something to do.

Two of the beds had a 2-3" mulch of fairly newly laid wheat straw on them. Those beds I had to turn with a shovel as the tiller would just push that straw along into a big pile since it hadn't started decomposing yet. Got one and a half beds turned before it just got too darned hot out there. I finished that one this morning early before the sun got crankin' and tilled three more.

I also learned that in soil temps below 64, nematodes canít function so it's best to plant resistant stuff as late in the fall as can be safely done and really early in the spring to get a jump on the nematodes. They don't infect older plants as hard as they do young ones. Because of that, it also pays to grow really large transplants if possible.

This means WAR!

Weedinhoe 07-31-2016 11:37 AM

More on nematodes. Those of you who live up north and don't have these might not be interested in this but I'm posting this for any Southerners who might have the problem. Here's information on early symptoms I gleaned from about six southern Extension Service websites:

Above ground symptoms of a root knot nematode infestation include wilting during the hottest part of the day even with adequate soil moisture. Loss of vigor, yellowing leaves, and other symptoms similar to a lack of water or nutrients.

Infested vegetable plants grow more slowly than neighboring, healthy plants, beginning in early to midseason.

Plants produce fewer and smaller leaves and fruits, and ones heavily infested early in the season can die. Damage is most serious in warm, irrigated, sandy soils.

And, of course, the knotted roots you find at the end when you've watered and watered, fertilized and the plants finally look bad enough that you pull them.

Remember the cuke bed that kept wilting in the day, loaded with flowers and not a cuke produced? At the time I thought it was bacterial wilt. I now believe it was nematodes because when I pulled them out, there were the knotted roots. Very similar symptoms.

Things to do for suppression of nematode populations:

Plant nematode resistant veggies/flowers and plant as early as possible in spring, as late as possible in fall.

Get lots of organic matter into the soil because high water retention in soil helps fight nematode attacks.

Fallow, till, water, weed. Fallow an area for a year, tilling every ten days in summer which brings nematodes to the surface to be killed by the hot sun. While doing this, also keep the soil moist to induce egg hatch and keep weeds out so that any newly hatched nematodes have nothing to feed on.

Thickly plant French marigolds and mustard and till them under.

Plant winter cover crops (annual rye, rye or wheat) after several fall tillings.

Good garden sanitation practices. Thoroughly clean all tools used in infected areas.

Looks like I'm gonna be pretty busy. I had already scheduled the start of all the fall veggies and now I'm going to have to really look hard at how late I can push them back. Complete re-do.Heavy sigh. :xeye:

citykittyatheart 08-01-2016 08:41 AM

I am so sorry! Few things are worse than doing all of that work for little to no yield. Good luck winning the war and thanks for the info!

LindaLou 08-01-2016 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by citykittyatheart (Post 10922809)
I am so sorry! Few things are worse than doing all of that work for little to no yield. Good luck winning the war and thanks for the info!


Bummer, Weedinhoe

inMichigan 08-01-2016 05:23 PM

I will think of the benefit of cold weather this winter on some -20F morning... billions of lost Nematodes could warm the gardening heart... Thanks for the scientific details.


Weedinhoe 08-01-2016 08:40 PM

I really appreciate y'all's comments. Yeah, -20 would do a number on them! LOL!

This is a battle that will be valiantly fought, never to be completely won but engaged for the satisfaction of gaining the upper hand. I WILL be able to grow stuff. They will NOT deny me! :D:

I see more tunnel usage come late fall and *early* spring.

Weedinhoe 08-01-2016 08:47 PM

Spring and early summer are in the bag. Water over the dam. Outta here. Itís time to sit down with a cold brew, count the blessings and deal with the disasters.

Well, as much as the nematodes have caused mayhem amongst the garden beds, there have also been successes along the way this gardening season.

We put up all the beans, English peas, snap peas, and corn we wanted to and froze all the sweet pepper needed for cooking. The collards and kale provided fresh eating all winter long until the weather turned too hot in May.

Although the Double Yield cukes fell to the nematodes, the Homemade Pickles bed provided all the cuke relish and pickles we wanted to put up. It turned out only one plant in that bed was diseased (it just vined everywhere and made the whole bed look bad) and once I got that out of there, the rest did well enough.

We ate fresh radishes, broccoli (small heads this year), cabbage (though not enough for kraut), turnips and carrots and even had enough carrots to can up a few jars for the first time.

Still crankiní are the scallions as I try to have them going year round. The okra plants are still putting out so every four days there have enough gathered to blanch and tray freeze. The field peas arenít to the producing stage yet but both sweet and hot peppers and tomatoes are still making.

The big success was being able to grow some winter squash for the very first time. The two bush types (acorn and butternut) did well and the vining types didnít do much at all. They take too long. Of all five varieties tried (one hill of each) the bush butternut was the clear winner (got 20 small ones) and will be grown again next year. And in that same squash area I grew some little Golden Crispy melons for the first time. Sweet with a slight crunch.

The best surprise so far this season has been Aunt Mollyís Ground Cherry. It made a tasty jam, theyíre good eaten fresh, easy to grow, a great ďhiding food in plain sightĒ item and I found them on a ďhigh resistance to nematodesĒ list!

Things to try again next year (second & third chancers):
- Beets. I will try a fall crop and then plant in January for spring. One of these years Iíll find that perfect temperature window for this location.

- Bulb onions. This was my first time trying these. Itís too hot for a spring crop as they take too long to finish so Iím starting more for fall planting.

- Summer squash. Lots of folks around here have been having a lot of trouble lately with this normally easy veggie. It used to do well for me but not in the last three years.

- Grain Amaranth. Itís still in the process of growing so I donít know yet what it will produce but itís pretty enough to grow it anyway as an ornamental next to the sunflowers.

- Eggplant. Itís always been a so-so grower for me but hope springs eternal!

- Martinoís Roma tomato. It was a free pack of seed and itís done pretty well so itíll get another go next spring.

- Hamburg Rooted parsley. The juryís still out and Iím going to try a fall crop. It could have been nematodes that caused the stunting as I read that nematodes can cause forking in carrots. Same family.

Booted off the island:
- Shelling beans (Vermont Cranberry and Borlotto) and Christmas Lima. Itís too hot here.

- Quinoa as this is definitely the wrong climate and itís a leaffooted bug magnet.

- Bountiful green beans. Waaay too viney.

- Cilantro. It bolts too quickly and I donít use much of it anyway.

- Potatoes. I just canít get them to do right, as they always funk up and die. They also take up space needed for other things, they add to the crop rotation problem and I have no way to store a bunch if they did make except maybe can them.

Now itís time to turn towards the fall garden. This week Iíll be starting sets for September plant out but thatís a story for another time. ;)

citykittyatheart 08-02-2016 08:23 AM

Always good to take stock at least a couple of times over the course of the season. Focusing on successes helps take the pain out of the failures.

Our subzero temps do that their good points :D: I had a Japanese beetle problem on my roses until a few years ago when we had two straight winters of -40. No more beetles! Killed one of my rose bushes and the other two grew back from the base rather than the branches, but at least they grew back. Cuts down on other bugs too.

inMichigan 08-02-2016 08:44 PM

Have you ever tried to go from onion seed to onion sets, and then replant the sets to use them for big bulbs?

We've dug up our onions that came from seed started under lights, I'm satisfied, but not as big as my dreams and still looking for a way to reproduce what comes from purchased "sets" without needing so much electricity.


OceanDweller 08-02-2016 10:46 PM

Tons of information on here and you've found out many things I have as well.

A no or very limited list planting for me are things like Cilantro, Potatoes, Lettuce, basically anything that can be attained for cheap at the grocery stores. I do plant new potatoes to get a crop for HM fries with fish fries though. I also plant a couple of pots with cilantro, its important to knock off the bolt blooms. I find sweet potato is more valuable in our area potato wise if you want potatoes.

I would also suggest a trick I learned from watching my grandfather bend over row after row of turnips "insert X veg" over the years... plant more sustainable things like Figs, blueberries, Pecans, Peaches "you have a good peach location after all I think", the southern apples I have growing are einh shimar, granny smith, Anna, and Pink lady. I also have two large experimental honeycrisps that are doing well. Raised beds and long rows will certainly draw an eye, but strategic fruit trees can not only chop up a row but you can plant in circular shapes around the base to avoid the late afternoon sun. On top of that you can devulge into an edible forest or formal landscape design making it appear like its just a bunch of trees if your in the country, burbs, etc and most people aren't bright enough to figure it out.

I have the itch non stop... its rather crazy "I always feel the need to build a greenhouse in the deep south". I plan on doing a cinder block "my favorite building material" 10x20 and using tractor painted I beams and DIY glass or recycled windows on a HM swamp cooler or window unit making a "cool season greenhouse". That to me would be awesome as I want to grow 4 cherries, two rainer and one good cross pollinator. I also want to grow broccoli, lettuce, brussels "mine last year were the best tasting winter vegetable I have ever eaten and worth the year wait it took them", and other cool season crops that could be grown in the middle of summer. I plan on using a more permanent wash for a shade cloth. Having dual greenhouses would allow forcing of bulbs, starting seeds, saving things from wilting, hardening off, and a myriad of other issues... the trick is to make them look nice but not like a greenhouse or like your growing all this stuff and its a bit tricky.

OceanDweller 08-02-2016 10:55 PM

My family is something like 4th gen Onion farmers going back into the early 1800's in Mississippi. I will say find your onions from local farmers for the best varieties and see if you can get bunching onions that are older. There are many good type valadlia varities in your area.

Personally I like garlic and onion chives that get afternoon shade, shallots in pots as they can be tricky and you can custom the soil for them, and we have our own family bunching onions that have been passed down sense at least 1800. Just outside of the house so you can always do a fresh salad etc. It saves us TONS of time during Thanksgiving etc, and they look good around the house very similar to liriope/monkey grass, just go grab some onions.

Another thing to plant near to the house or mailbox are figs and okra as you need to pick them often. Watermelons can be mixed with sweet potatoes and it looks like it is some random uppity landscape design. The SPV helps hide the watermelons as well though we used to grow them in fields and would plant them in an area with already tall grass hoeing out smaller areas and manually fertilizing then rotating. rotation is key, don't over plant. I sound like a know it all psycho but am only in my 30's. I have read a good thousand gardening books so its well beyond hobby. Oh... you can grow meyer and kumquat citrus, just cover in winter frosts below 28 and/or use old Christmas lights that put out heat on a timer... another alternative is to use yankee pipe tape that keeps their pipes from freezing wrapped around the trunk and those come with a thermostat. The best way to prevent citrus from freezing is as our ancestors did in the early 1900's, "they may have been and I think they were smarter than us. They would plant a hedgrow windbreak of magnolia where I live, then sporadic pines every 30-40 feet, with a couple blueberries underneath "different varieties" then the citrus. The blueberries would benefit from the pine straw drop and create low points for cold frost, the canopy of the pines protected the citrus, and the windbreaks have been shown to have about as much impact as misting sprinklers "I don't know why they favor them so much commercially"... The meyer lemons also offer the added benefit of having 1 inch thorns so if you have a fence you can plant them behind and you'll hear any intruder if you make a hedgerow out of them.

OceanDweller 08-02-2016 11:03 PM

my grandfather hated nematodes with a passion, but they collectivly farmed nearly everything you can grow in the south on 1,000+ acres...

I just wanted to comment again and apologize for hijacking your thread, but wanted to help other peppers with some ideas as this is what I am the best at out of prepping about the fruit trees "easiest bang for your buck but you need to be prepping in". The wasps are HEAVILY beneficial and likely "though not certainly" taking care of your aphids. My main two varieties ground and under hanging wasps around here control pests and pollinate my figs as well as blueberries.

I also wanted to say thanks for aunt molly's ground cherry, I am going to have to order some of those seeds soon. If you ever want to talk about trading seeds hit me up.
Here is a good list of plants for hot summers
Try the ping tung long purple eggplant, the Seminole squash, creole tomatoes, cherokee purple tomato, and try out some early fall planted carrots in a specific raised bed for them with light airy soil like a maricle grow diy manure mix. They don't do well some years and others are so juicy and epic I have a hard time buying store bought.
This place makes a killer hoe, bought 5 for christmas presents they are so nice...
Some ideas for fruit trees
consider these heavily "can find many varities on old farmsteads and country areas" I am about to get back into wine if I ever find the time which I won't but wish I would
We need more men like Thomas Jefferson to save this country
Drip irrigation direct

I am looking for old time strawberries VERY early Virginia crosses that send out runners, only have medium sized berries that are just a few, but are hardy and multiply fast if anybody has any good varieties for the south... would love to have about 1/10th of an acre or two rows :)

I don't know if you have bees or chickens but both pair insanely well for vegetable growing assuming the chickens stay in the run. In a year or two I will be trying out bees for the first time by myself.

Weedinhoe 08-03-2016 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by OceanDweller (Post 10944625)
The wasps are HEAVILY beneficial and likely "though not certainly" taking care of your aphids.

I wish they had taken care of them! The undersides of the sorghum were absolutely encrusted. The wasps were merely attracted to the sticky stuff on the leaf tops. Not one wasp underneath.

Southern Exposure is already one of my suppliers; it's a great resource for Southern growers and some really neat heirlooms. Have you also seen Baker Creek? A stunning variety of stuff!

Ping tung long purple eggplant, Seminole squash. Have done those with so-so results. Have been growing both fall and spring carrots successfully but right in the ground. That much Miracle Grow would be horribly expensive so I use compost I make.


Originally Posted by OceanDweller (Post 10944529)
I will say find your onions from local farmers for the best varieties and see if you can get bunching onions that are older. There are many good type valadlia varities in your area.

I grow my own bunching onions from seed and have some in the garden year round. 'Shimonita' does well for me and if you let it grow big it can almost function as a small leek. 'Guardsman' is my other staple buncher. For now I choose to try growing my own bulbing onions from seed. "Vidalia" onion is merely a Granex that is grown in the officially designated area downstate in Vidalia, GA.

A list of everything I planted this spring is on message #130 further down, currently on page #5. I do have a fig bush and planted three apple, two peaches and one plum last fall. The blueberries do have a pinestraw mulch. It's really plentiful around the property and sure keeps the weeds down! And it's free. :thumb:

I just turned 65 this year and have been vegetable gardening about 30 years but super seriously for the last five years since I retired. Spent 18 years in the nursery industry and now have the time to do what I want. The freedom is wonderful and enables all kinds of experimentation. :)

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