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Mid-Atl - August 2018 - RAINY & HOT

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Post  sfg4uKim on 8/6/2018, 4:47 pm

I just got back from a week in Kenya where I was on a mission trip with my church. The building project was a greenhouse and I was asked to teach a SFG class. The blocks that they brought just happened to make have an interior dimension of 4x4' although I originally taught in metric.

I came back home to a jungle in the garden - hubby's been unable to mow because of the heat and rain every afternoon.

SOOOOO what's going on in YOUR garden this August?Mid-Atl - August 2018 - RAINY & HOT Img_4110

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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/18/2018, 10:48 pm

Beans – I didn’t plant any except favas, the weather wasn’t right and then it seemed too late. I just read a local news article that said the local farmers are also suffering from having had to plant very late due to the weather - this reduced yield, and in crops drowning before harvest because there isn't enough oxygen in the water-logged soil. So it’s not just inexperience on my part – long-time farmers couldn't figure a good way forward either.

Peas – not bad, but lower yield than last year. Too hot, too wet.

Brassicas -  My fourth year of trying, I finally grew a napa cabbage head! (one of four I planted...) I got some small cabbages and tiny broccoli heads. No cauliflower/romanesco. The kale/Brussels sprouts at the back of the garden aren’t really growing. Kale more towards the front (sunnier location) is doing ok. One square yielded two huge turnips and a big rotten one (boron deficiency?). No idea where the kohlrabi transplants went. I got some nice bok choy. I sowed rutabegas, they did germinate, were fine for several days, but now some are missing. Damping off? pests? It’s so much time and effort to start everything inside, but it seems to be the only way I can get most things past the seedling stage.

Beets – not bad. Tulle really, really helps vs the leaf miners but the bed was too shady/humid where I had them and they have some leaf fungus. I recently ate the single Zentaur Fodder beet that survived the winter. It was just a little fibrous, and a little hollow (again, I may have a mild boron deficiency in my MM - but guessing isn't great idea for this nutrient because it's easy to go overboard, and hard to fix if you do), but otherwise delicious.  Just sowed some more.

Carrots – germination was a little light – and then something ate the leaves off the seedlings and a lot of them didn’t make it. I didn’t have time to re-sow. I tried that last year and it took about 4 tries to get (mostly) full squares for some of them.
Celeriac – I didn’t transplant these to larger pots indoors soon enough, so they were smaller than previous years when they were transplanted out. They aren’t looking great, but they seem to do most of their growing right at the end of the season, so I might still get something. 

Ground cherries – they are dropping a few fruit, but the plants seem smaller than I think they should be for mid-August.
Peppers – Sub-irrigated planter peppers are doing well. SFG, not so much – too shady, too wet, too snails.
Eggplants – as above but more extreme, plus flea beetles, Japanese beetles and a stem borer.
Tomatoes – I haven’t suckered them, or trellised them properly. Hopefully I’ll still get a few fruits over the next few months. In spite of the awful weather, they don’t seem too diseased yet. I think the Serenade I applied is relevant.
Cocona – started this late, and it may need to come inside for any hope of getting fruit. It started slow, and it now has HUGE leaves. I had no idea how big these plants would be.
Musho – second year plant, occasionally flowers, but no fruit. It may need a second plant for pollination. It had a partner last year, but it died. The replacement is still too small to flower.
Tomatilloes – not sure... they are at the back of the garden and I am ignoring them so that they can pretend they are wild plants.

Greens -  First round of lettuce has bolted or rotted away. Second round vanished at some point – eaten? rotted? Arugula and several others bolted early. Time to start the fall stuff.
Malabar Spinach – this is in an Earthbox rather than the SFG, but it’s doing amazing. I think it loves the hot/wet weather. I need to harvest some of it and give it a taste. If I like it, it is definitely the solution for four-year rotations on permanent trellises (legumes(beans/peas), squash/cukes, and nightshades (tomatoes/tomatillos) being the other three.)

Zucchini – had a good run before the SVB struck. I may have saved one of the plants.
Cucumbers – I bought transplants, and they are doing better than anything I’ve grown myself (same variety.)
Watermelon – small fruits are visible
Butternuts – mildew and something else is starting on the leaves. 
Winter squash – I transplanted them, they are growing – but runty, and not properly trellised.

Garlic –I got some bulbs (not all the cloves survived over the winter, and the replacement attempts didn’t accomplish anything) but they are small with few cloves. Quite the contrast versus previous years.

Onions – Small, but I’ll count the shallots and ciopillinis as a success. The storage onions I planted from sets don’t seem to have gotten that much larger bulbs than I started with. They might even be smaller.

Jerusalem Artichokes – looking good! Ridiculously hardy plants...
Crosnes – planned squares aren’t doing well at all; missed volunteers seem to be doing better.
Purslane - I missed the peak for harvesting. Maybe if I pinch the plants back I can get another flush of growth.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/19/2018, 11:28 am

One question: Brassicas? During spring/summer? Those are fall/winter plants....

Okay... Another question (in re-reading): Cocona? What's that?

And it looks like you've been busy, lol!
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/21/2018, 5:50 pm

I sow/transplant brassicas in both (late winter/)spring and (late summer/)fall, like the chart in the back of the ANSFG book. Often different varieties -- spring cabbage vs winter cabbage; spring turnips vs fall turnips, etc. I just sowed my fall/winter radishes (daikon types) today. I've been more successful with the spring season for many of the brassicas. I still haven't succeeded with getting fall broccoli. My attempts at fall Brussels sprouts have also never gotten more than a foot high, and I can't get them to survive over the winter. It goes from too hot to frosts/freezes pretty quickly here - there isn't a nice, long, cool fall.

The spring brassicas are usually done well before now, but things have been so slow this year, especially with the late start, that I only harvested some of them recently. The kale and collards are practically summer brassicas for me -- I start them in spring but since they are biennial I don't have to worry about them bolting in the heat, and they get nice and big for harvesting from in the fall/winter.

I started the fast (30-45 days) fall brassicas inside already, and transplanted out the ones that take longer (60 to 90 days) a few weeks ago. 

I only have about 50 days left until first frost, more or less. Last year it was October 1st, the year before it was the 11th, and the year before that it was the 17th.

Cocona is one of my 'try something new' plants for the year. I got the seeds from Baker Creek:
https://www.rareseeds.com/cocona/
I expected pepper-plant-sized plants, and I didn't expect all the seeds I sowed to germinate. I don't think the review that said "6’ tall and easily 7’ wide" was up yet when I made the purchase!

Busy -- but it doesn't feel like a good yield for the effort. It feels like it's always raining when I have time to go out. I sometimes garden in the rain, but it's not enjoyable for me and this is supposed to be fun. The silver lining is that the jewelweed weeds in the garden LOVE the wet, and are growing and blooming like mad -- which means lots of bumblebees and hummingbirds.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 8/22/2018, 4:08 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:

Cocona is one of my 'try something new' plants for the year. I got the seeds from Baker Creek:
https://www.rareseeds.com/cocona/
I expected pepper-plant-sized plants, and I didn't expect all the seeds I sowed to germinate. I don't think the review that said "6’ tall and easily 7’ wide" was up yet when I made the purchase!

Like a healthy determinate tomato plant?
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Post  OhioGardener on 8/22/2018, 4:41 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Cocona?  What's that?

Cocona - "An easy to grow fruit from the Amazon Jungle!" Very Happy
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/23/2018, 2:49 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:

Cocona is one of my 'try something new' plants for the year. I got the seeds from Baker Creek:
https://www.rareseeds.com/cocona/
I expected pepper-plant-sized plants, and I didn't expect all the seeds I sowed to germinate. I don't think the review that said "6’ tall and easily 7’ wide" was up yet when I made the purchase!

Like a healthy determinate tomato plant?
I haven't managed to grow one of those (a healthy determinate tomato plant) yet... but with tomatoes the leaves are all frilly. These cocona leaves are solid, and each one is about 18" wide and a little over 2ft from tip to where they meet the stem.  I can't get a good angle, but here is someone else's photo with their shoe for scale:
https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/401869/
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Post  CapeCoddess on 8/27/2018, 4:03 pm

Holey moley! Shocked  like an Elephant ear plant.   How big is the fruit, basket ball size???
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/27/2018, 4:46 pm

Interesting, Beetles!
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/28/2018, 9:34 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Holey moley! Shocked  like an Elephant ear plant.   How big is the fruit, basket ball size???
I think the fruit is only a few inches by a few inches, but lots per plant -- I haven't gotten any yet. I think I'm seeing flower buds.... There are also adult and baby tortoise beetles on the plants. So even if I don't get fruit, I grew more beetles  cheers
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/29/2018, 12:15 am

Wow... And interesting is right!
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