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Old 06-09-2019, 09:22 PM
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Default It's Carrot Time



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The heavy rain after 26 days of none got me thinking about the carrots today. I'd been thinking about pulling most of them but we still have some store-bought ones in the reefer so I was trying to "store" the garden carrots in the ground just a little while longer. However the rain dump could cause them to split wide open so I pulled half tonight.

For the past four years or so I've been trying various varieties trying to find two that consistantly produce in this garden. Bolero has made the A team but I'm still looking for one more. This spring I grew 6' each of four different varieties of carrots. I pulled the 'Yaya' and 'Romance' along with a sampling of the Tendersweets. The Bolero will be pulled tomorrow.

Here's the 4 lbs of 'Yaya'. First time growing this and it has earned a second planting in the fall! Could it be the second A Teamer?



The 'Romance' (another first timer) had some oddball misfits and only 2lbs of usable carrots. The rejects will be treats for the horses in the adjacent pasture.



Here's the sampling of Tendersweet. I pulled the first eight carrots in the row. They're not real uniform and they're one of those real long types. There probably won't be a repeat of these.



There's always a cast of characters with carrots. Here are some of the ones that got pulled:



Left to right, there's a fat orange worm, someone desperately waiting for the bathroom to become available, a thin headed elephant with a fat trunk, a one armed peglegged pirate, and a four-armed Hindu god of something.

I think it's time for a cold beer to celebrate the rain.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:26 AM
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Weedinhoe, thank you so much for your carrot photos! I happen to have extra garden space....one section has really loose rock-free soil, maybe I will try a Yaya carrot bed! Those look SO yummy!
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:04 PM
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Weedinhoe, thank you so much for your carrot photos! I happen to have extra garden space....one section has really loose rock-free soil, maybe I will try a Yaya carrot bed! Those look SO yummy!
Yaya's are a great carrot, but if you want heat tolerance you could try Bambina or Red Samauri. The Bambina's are short and plump. Red Samauri are maybe 8" long and very sweet. These are growing well in my garden beds now and we're in the 90's with above 100 expected starting tomorrow and probably lasting until September (Arizona desert heat, what can I say).

My go to carrot every season is Scarlet Nantes, but I try other varieties every year and this spring's winner was Kuroda--8" long, tender and sweet.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:55 PM
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Weedinhoe, thank you so much for your carrot photos! I happen to have extra garden space....one section has really loose rock-free soil, maybe I will try a Yaya carrot bed! Those look SO yummy!
Thanks, V. I try to pass along stuff that works for me in the hopes that it might help someone else, even though I know that the same plant will probably do differently in someone else's soil! Yaya is listed at 56-60 days finish time. That's got to be from germination. Mine were pulled 82 days from the Feb 28 seeding. Germination took 14 days so 82 days less 14 days is 68 days which is close to the the 56-60 day finish estimate, considering they were more than ready when I pulled them.

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Yaya's are a great carrot, but if you want heat tolerance you could try Bambina or Red Samauri...These are growing well in my garden beds now and we're in the 90's with above 100 expected starting tomorrow and probably lasting until September (Arizona desert heat, what can I say).
These carrots have survived and done pretty good in the tremendous heat we've had in May and early June. Upper 90's and a 6 day streak of 100. I'm pleasantly surprised! My guess is that a good mulching (leaf mulch) and careful watering made the difference, keeping the soil cooler. Still, I appreciate the suggestion and will keep an eye out for them.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:06 PM
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These carrots have survived and done pretty good in the tremendous heat we've had in May and early June. Upper 90's and a 6 day streak of 100. I'm pleasantly surprised! My guess is that a good mulching (leaf mulch) and careful watering made the difference, keeping the soil cooler. Still, I appreciate the suggestion and will keep an eye out for them.
Yeah, the mulch and careful watering had to help. It sure does here. We have a very dry heat with wind. Often as low as 6% humidity, which I'm guessing you might not encounter very often :-). I use drip irrigation and have to water every two days now that the heat has arrived. You're lucky you have leaf mulch. Here in AZ I have to use straw or bark chips, both of which I have to buy and if I don't keep the straw damp the wind blows it into and sometimes through the chicken wire garden fencing.

At least I don't have to contend with deer getting in my gardens. Pocket gophers, pack rats, ground squirrels and Gambel Quail are the worst of my animal pests and fencing, including under my raised beds, windmill/pinwheels and bird netting helps deter them.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:13 PM
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Left to right, there's a fat orange worm, someone desperately waiting for the bathroom to become available, a thin headed elephant with a fat trunk, a one armed peglegged pirate, and a four-armed Hindu god of something.

I think it's time for a cold beer to celebrate the rain.
FOFLMAO

Thanks for the pick-me-up !
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:36 PM
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The garden is loving the rain we've had! There is nothing like natural rain water to make things jump. The fields and woods all look so refreshed with the dust washed off. Yesterday it was cloudy with a northeasterly breeze all day and the high was just 69! Gimme more!

The Silver Queen corn that was blown down Saturday is now standing tall with just a slight curve at the bottom to give a hint that anything happened. It's almost ready to start pollinating so the standing up was just in time.



The Spring Treat corn planted in the bed was not the success it was previously. Spotty seed germination (my bad for planting in soil that was too cool) and subsequent reseeding caused plants of different ages throughout the bed. Note to self: If that happens again, pull everything out and start over. Still, we've had a few ears to have for lunch here and there and it is sooo sweet, and early June to boot!

A few empty spots are starting to open up in the garden. Yesterday I pulled all of the turnip plants, yielding the ten last turnips as well as plants that will never make. Cabbage plants whose heads have already been harvested were pulled out.

We haven't been eating a lot of greens lately (got greened out) and so the worms have started munching on the kale and collards, more the collards than the kale. This is what happens when one gets bored with a vegetable and rain/wind makes spraying bT worthless. I cut the kale back hard and the ratty collards will be pulled out entirely.



It's going to be a messy riot of vines. What was I thinking? The area assigned to watermelon (2 hills), Small Sugar pumpkin (2 hills) and sweet potatoes (5 hills) is 18' wide and 13' long. This is the first time growing pumpkin and I had no clue how rambunctious the vines would be.

The plan was right half for pumpkin, left half for watermelon and sweet potatoes along the bottom. The pumpkin is being a big ole space hog. If you look close you can see the thin watermelon vines on the left.



At the very front of the pic on the right you can barely see the five sweet potatoes with their black watering collars still on.



We’ll have dry weather for the next four days or so making it time to Serenade tomatoes, beans, cukes and squash to keep away and fungus among us. And the kale needs some bT to get those cabbage worms. Might as well put that on the tomatoes too as a hornworm preventative. It’s that time. It's been too breezy all day but tonight when the wind dies down and the pollinators go home I'll spray.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:48 PM
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It's transition time in the garden. Leftover spring stuff is being removed and a few beds are opening up. The collards, turnips and cabbages are gone and that Spring Treat corn that came up helter skelter is outta here. Zinnias and marigolds are just starting to bloom where one early green pea bed was.

Lady Finger field peas are now growing where the potatoes were and Knucklehull field peas occupy the other former green pea bed. The Ladies are peeking out of the lower right corner of the corn pic.

The first handful of bush beans has been picked and cukes are starting to avalanche. There's a steady stream of yellow squash for the first time in several years as vine borers haven't gotten them all... yet.

The Silver Queen corn is now pollinating. There's a heavy buzzing sound from all of the bees and I'm glad to see a lot of honey bees among the bumbles. There's a sweet scent in the air from the pollen. I sure hope any coons are upwind. We're usually picking corn around the Fourth of July. It could be a tad earlier but close enough.



The popcorn in a bed is doing much better than that early Spring Treat did. No sign of tassels yet.



The Alabama Blackeye Butterbeans are starting to bloom. The 5' of Red Noodle Chinese beans on the right side of the trellis aren't running up like they usually do but they're blooming and starting to set little baby beans.



Meanwhile the thuggy Small Sugar pumpkin is just covered with more blooms!



I discovered the first hatching of squash bugs this afternoon while picking a summer squash. While they were still close together in a batch I hit them with a few squirts of pyrethrum spray. An acquaintance always carries a small spray bottle of that around in the garden for on-the-spot small uses. Best to get hatchlings while they're still in a gaggle! I'm adopting the practice. It makes sense.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:47 PM
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Any suggestions for something besides pyrethrum? I'm allergic. Thanks
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:21 AM
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Any suggestions for something besides pyrethrum? I'm allergic. Thanks
Maybe something with Spinosad in it, like Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew? Hmmm, looking at the listed uses I don't see squash bugs but other things more in the caterpillar and flea beetle range. Here's the link:

https://images.homedepot-static.com/...61785c5c2b.pdf

I'm going to think on this some more.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:21 PM
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Any suggestions for something besides pyrethrum? I'm allergic. Thanks
Safer Insecticidal Soap lists the following targets:
Adelfidaes (Crawler stage)
Earwigs
Grasshoppers
Harlequin bugs
Leafhoppers
Mealybugs (including root mealybugs)
Mites
Plant bugs
Psyllids
Sawfly larvae
Soft scales
Spider mites
Springtails
Squash bugs
Tent caterpillars
Blossom thrips
Whiteflies

Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew (active ingredient is spinosad) lists mainly various worms, loopers, thrips, flea beetles etc but no true bugs (i.e. squash bugs, stink bugs, shield bugs, leaf footeds, etc)
https://www.bonide.com/assets/Products/Labels/l252.pdf

Going up the toxicity scale a bit, I did find Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate, pretty much the flowable version of Sevin dust. It does list the true bugs, those with a shield shaped scutella (that covering on their back) in the insect order Hemiptera.

https://www.gardentech.com/products/...ate-bug-killer

Neem oil is uses as an insecticide, fungicide and miticide. Listed insect targets include:
Offers effective control against various insects pests, including Japanese Beetles, Whiteflies, Mealy Bugs, Armyworms, Hornworms, Leafhoppers, Bagworms, Leafminers, Psyllids, Fruit Flies, Loopers, Budworms, Aphids, Scales, Caterpillars, Midges, Budworms and Mites.

Go to the following ling and scroll about halfway down for uses:
https://www.amazon.com/Garden-Safe-9.../dp/B004QAWGIO

These are the least toxic commercial products I could find. If anyone has others, please suggest them.

Last edited by Weedinhoe; 06-21-2019 at 02:29 PM.. Reason: to add neem info
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:32 PM
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Wow!!

That is a huge amount of research. Never expected that!

Thank you very much, Weedinhoe.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:16 PM
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I sprinkle diatomaceous earth on several plant types. It does a very good job getting rid of the flee beetles that eat the leaves of the eggplants.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:40 AM
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I sprinkle diatomaceous earth on several plant types. It does a very good job getting rid of the flee beetles that eat the leaves of the eggplants.
Very good and thanks for that! I forgot about DE. Linda (or anyone else), if you use it make sure you buy food grade DE and tie a kerchief or something over your nose just to make sure you don't inhale any of it.

For everyone, just remember to check the intended targets of anything you apply for bugs or diseases. No need in using something that won't take care of the problem. Now, insecticides are somewhat like people meds in that they *may* be useful for use on unlisted things but those targets are unlisted because it would necessitate more documentation than the manufacturer is willing to pay for. However, it's always best to follow the label. As they said in pesticide applicator class, "The label is the law."
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Old 06-22-2019, 04:05 PM
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This year Iím growing six okra plants which makes a gracious plenty for two people. Three are my old friend Jing Orange and the others are new-to-me Choppee. For whatever reason, the two plants on the ends of the bed didnít want to come up. I had to reseed the Choppee end plant twice and the Jing a third time. So now I guess there will be some unintended late okra. Go figure.

Hereís the younger and one older Jing:



And hereís the younger and one older Choppee:



Today I pulled out the spring-sown beets as itís just too hot for beets. At least they came up this year! But they never really thrived even though the turnips along the other side of the same bed and sown the same day did great. However, the beets pulled from the middle third of the row look like the nematodes are at work again:



This morning I started two new hills of straightneck squash in that same bed but on one end. Weíll see what happens.

Meanwhile bush beans Serengeti and Golden Rod are coming and 5th Gear will be putting up some three bean salad tomorrow.
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:55 PM
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Question-- have you encountered any nutsedge weeds in your gardens?
I have been patiently digging this invasive weed out of my veggie beds for 3 seasons now. Some neighbors have it in their lawns but just mow it....however, if it ever sets seed-- look out.
It spreads like broam grass with a perennial underground root system. If you only pull the top "grass" blades and don't get the roots, it simply re-sprouts. If you drop a piece of the root-- it re-generates (I.e. don't compost these weeds!!!).
I have no idea if there is a chemical control for nustsedge. This, and a vicious "native" purple perennial flower, keep me busy beyond belief. If only I just had some simple Creeping Charlie!
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Old 06-24-2019, 07:03 AM
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Question-- have you encountered any nutsedge weeds in your gardens?
Oh yeah! I feel your pain. There's lots of it around. It's a constant battle. Fortunately after persistently pulling them out of the raised beds there's not much in them anymore but they do come up from the little "nuts" that didn't come up with the rest of the roots. I also keep the the garden perimeter and the paths between beds mowed so sedge doesn't go to seed. The loose soil of the raised bed helps with pulling up the whole thing, especially little colonies where several nearby plants are attached to the "mother" plant!

I don't think there's much out there spray-wise that will kill it and also be friendly to food plants but to be honest, I haven't looked. I have heard though from locals that if you have a pig and can pen it up in the garden over the winter, that it will root out every bit of nutsedge as they love the little nuts. Talk about a different kind of tilling and fertilizing!
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:26 PM
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There were some "firsts" today. On my wanderings around the garden, besides picking a few more squash, I found:

- The first little baby Stone Mountain watermelon on a vine. It was marble sized.
- The first two tassels are peeking out in the popcorn plants.
- The first Jupiter bell pepper was ready to pick.
- And most importantly, the first four ears of Silver Queen corn got picked! You always hold your breath, hoping when you pull the shucks back that they really are ready. Yep, they were. It will be a couple more days until any quantity can be pulled.

Also, I spied the first Jing Orange okra pod forming beneath the next bloom. It has it's Dead Flower Hat on.



The Red Noodle beans are starting to make although they aren't up to the top of the trellis like they usually are and they don't seem inclined to do so this year. And the plants aren't as full. On the plus side of things, I haven't seen any aphids on them this year. The bottoms of them usually get encrusted with aphids, seemingly overnight.



There's one pattypan squash out there and it got hit by a borer early on. I think I found it early and injected bT up and down inside the hole in the stem. That was a good while ago and even though the damage looks worse now that the stem is thicker with age, the plant keeps producing.



There's another armadillo who is trying to horn in on this territory. Holes have suddenly started appearing around the place, most notably along the pallets on which sit the tomatoes at the side of the house. Time to insure that Mr. Mossberg 500 is ready to go...
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:26 PM
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Default Another Guerrilla Garden Experiment

I briefly mentioned a while ago that one of this year’s garden “toys” was a hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffera ) called Roselle or Rosella, depending on whose writing about it. Following the blooms are reddish/ maroonish calyxes (fleshy petals) containing the seed pods and from which you can make jam (the seed pods make sufficient pectin), a very nutrient rich juice drink and dried leaves for tea. The leaves can be eaten too. It sounded perfect for an undercover guerrilla garden plant. Nutritious food in plain sight. So I ordered seed, a variety called ‘Thai Red’ (http://www.southernexposure.com/rose...6-g-p-181.html) and started four plants.

Sown on March 6, they popped up in three days. Here they are at 17 days old, already growing fast.



After being shifted up one time to a quart yogurt container on April 1, they were planted out on May 11. One was put in a 15 gallon nursery container in the garden and the other three were planted out on the property near the house. This is what they looked like yesterday. They’ve been blooming and have already started forming the calyxes.





The container plant is a lot more whippy than the ground-planted three, probably because it gets weekly doses of Miracle grow where the other have just had a few tastes of the stuff. Here’s a calyx:



After digging around the internet looking for more information on harvesting and making stuff with Roselle, I found the most informative link was this one:

https://gardendrum.com/2016/07/12/ja...using-rosella/

A few caveats…

This is an annual plant which will only thrive in warm climates as it needs a certain number of days of warm temps to produce as it should. I planted out on May 11 to make sure any cold spells were behind us. However, Southern Exposure is trialing another variety this summer to test if they have enough warmth in Mineral, VA to grow this successfully to harvest.

It is a tart taste (think rhubarb) so jam or tea need a sweetener which could be a problem in a SHTF scenario. However the fresh leaves have been likened to sorrel for use in fresh salads, soups or stir fries.

I have enough calyxes to try making a beverage (said to be like Red Zinger tea) and add some leaves to a salad. More on that later!
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Old 06-28-2019, 05:55 PM
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Default Progress Report

Right now the garden is squashing and cuking all over the place. For the first time in ages the summer squash have survived and thrived. Wouldn't you know that the time you grow eight plants, hoping that one or two will survive, they all have!

Then there's the planned bed of National Pickling cukes (7 plants) and the Homemade Pickles that 5th Gear sowed among her sunflowers AND the Marketmores that she decided to plant along the Blue Lake bean trellis. The neighbors down the road are happy to take the excess.

We're also picking green and yellow beans which are starting to "avalanche". So far 5th Gear (resident Canning Queen) has put up ten half pints of three bean salad, assorted pickles and six pints of mixed beans for starters. I've put up five jars of pickled jalapenos.

Meanwhile the tomatoes are taking their time. The ones next to the house are farther along than the ones in the garden. I'm playing with some new-to-me open pollinateds this year. In the effort to find a good paste tomato I'm trying Rio Grande, recommended to me by an acquaintance. So far it's doing really well and I hope it tastes as good as it's growing!



These are the tomatoes down in the garden.
L to R: Boxcar Willie, Earl's Polish, Marianna's Peace, Thessaloniki paste, Stump Of The World and two tomatillos.



The Boxcar Willies at the bottom of the plant are ripening even though they're really small. Maybe it's because they set in that awful heat spell we had and maybe the ones farther up the plant will size up better.





This morning I planted out the four fall tomatoes; Early Girl, Golden Girl, Creole and Large Red Cherry. Because they were big enough to plant deep I went ahead and set them out without hardening off so they went from 78 in the house to 95 in the garden. They'll get shade until about 12:30. Then to keep the worst of the afternoon sun off I rigged up an umbrella. They'll get a bit more sun each day until I can remove the umbrella altogether.



Tomorrow we'll do the first corn picking. I pulled the first four ears of corn for lunch four days ago and the kernels still needed a few more days to get nice and full. I picked four more tonight and they're ready. Oh boy!
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