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N & C Midwest:  January 2017! Toplef10N & C Midwest:  January 2017! 1zd3ho10

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N & C Midwest: January 2017!

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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/1/2017, 1:27 pm

Let the planning begin!  Armed with catalogs, dust off those lights, find the heating pad....and make your lists!  Love lookin at the 3 or 4 seasoners, too!  

I am super excited about the possibilities for 2017.  What are you most looking forward to?  Other than that first bite of (fill in the blank fave veggie!!!). LOL!

DISH!
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Post  CitizenKate 1/2/2017, 7:04 pm

Well, let's see... new this year...

Should be finished with all the landscaping projects and I'll be able to start showing off my garden once again. It was a real mess through most of last year, but it's shaping up pretty nice, now.

New (much sturdier) tomato trellis design to try, with a new 3x3 grid instead of a 4x4 grid. I did some of my tomatoes in a SFG bed, all indeterminates, for the first time last year (2016). According to ANSFG, the recommended spacing for indeterminates is one plant per square. They grew okay at that spacing - MORE than okay - but to me they seemed overcrowded, and I had a lot of difficulty reaching plants inside the box for pruning and worming. This year, I would just like to grow them a little farther apart to make it easier to take care of them.

Growing regular cucumbers this year, instead of the bushy ones. So, new trellis for those, too.

Still experimenting with ways to cage the squash plants... didn't like having them on the ground.

One or two new tall bed cages, so I can keep my taller plants caged. Then I won't have to worry about those wascally wabbits coming and building their bunny nests in my garden. The bridal tulle worked beautifully where I needed to protect plants from cabbage moths, so I'll be using that again this year.

Got one irrigation contraption to repair (momma rabbit bit off a couple of my sprinklers), and two more to build to have drip irrigation in all the beds.

Not SFG-related, but I'm also building all-new self-watering containers for the container section.

Was able to produce more and better compost this year (with the help of Starbucks, my little wiggling friends, and a new leaf vacuum), so I'll have more of my "good stuff" and have less to buy.
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Post  sanderson 1/3/2017, 3:05 am

Kate, Can't wait to see your photos!

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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/3/2017, 7:26 pm

sanderson wrote:Kate,  Can't wait to see your photos!
Ditto!

I hear what you are saying about the indeterminate tomatoes and spacing, however, I think I just had all of them together.  Along with some big peppers.  I think a more thought out placement might be better, like spinach and lettuce in there that can take some shade.  I am going to try playing around, I too felt it was hard to keep tabs on what was going on with the maters. And lost track of quite a few of them to be honest.

I had fall damage from the moths on my radishes...especially the Chinese Red Meat.  Daikon seemed a bit more impervious.  Need to tulle...

Kate, what kind of squash needed herding?

Also this was the first season I could top my boxes off with my own homemade compost....deflated boxes however, so will fluff a bit this spring.  Nice feeling.  I know what goes in there!  cheers
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Post  CitizenKate 1/4/2017, 10:01 pm

I'm looking forward to seeing those photos, too! Ha!

Just scored another big win on the compost front today... I finally got in touch with the manager of K-State's "equine unit", who I suspected may possess copious quantities of that lovely gardening commodity known as "horse poop". I've attempted to contact a few other offices around campus, and I knew we were raising horses somewhere, but finding out exactly who was in charge of that operation ended up being difficult to discover. Nobody I contacted prior to today seemed to know the answer to that question. But today I hit paydirt! "We have plenty of it," she said, "and you're welcome to all you want. Come anytime."

rahrah

SR, the squashes I'm growing are "Early Prolific Straighneck", a yellow squash, and "Black Beauty", which is an heirloom zucchini squash. I'd like to keep them in the beds and off the ground, since last time they sprawled out onto the ground, suddenly there were multitudes of aphids.

Interesting observation about plant placements... I put my tomatoes all together, too, just as you did, along with several pepper plants in the same bed. I'm trying to come up with a trellis that will handle a lot of them in one bed.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/4/2017, 10:36 pm

Oooh!  Nice!  Loves my horse and cow poo sources.   Good deal! 

Yeah, I had all my tomatoes and peppers and 2 trellised  melons in one bed...not good.  Too much plant.  Not enuf available space for me to see what was going on....too dense!  

Need to think carefully about what goes where!  This is NOT in the book!  Lol!
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Post  CitizenKate 1/4/2017, 10:55 pm

Okay... thanks for the feedback, I'm now re-thinking some of this.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/5/2017, 9:50 pm

Honestly, everything did well, it was me.  It was like I had trouble getting in there, to manage, monitoring the plants.  I didn't feel like I knew what was going on, and didn't feel like I had enough hands on in there.   But it turned out OK.  

It was a lot of plant.  VERY dense!  I guess that is the essence of SFG!  

Also incidentally you lose MM when you pull the giant root complex out of these boxes.


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 1/5/2017, 10:04 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added)
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/5/2017, 10:11 pm

https://www.google.com/amp/s/garden.org/learn/articles/amp/486/

Great info, I know I had ZERO onions from seed last year!  Thanks, Camp for the link!
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Post  CitizenKate 1/6/2017, 9:05 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:Honestly, everything did well, it was me.  It was like I had trouble getting in there, to manage, monitoring the plants.  I didn't feel like I knew what was going on, and didn't feel like I had enough hands on in there.   But it turned out OK.  

It was a lot of plant.  VERY dense!  I guess that is the essence of SFG!

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about.  The tomato plants I had in the SFG were doing very well, until a bad storm did everything in.  Until then, there was no issue with adequate root space, nutrients, or hydration that I could see.  But I like to pinch suckers off my indeterminate tomatoes, cut off dead leaves, pick worms off, etc.

When they're packed in that close, it's a real challenge to even find the suckers, let alone remove them.  There were numerous dead leaves I would otherwise have pruned off, but couldn't get to them.  Some fruits, I missed, because I didn't find them nestled in the thick foliage before they began to rot on the vine.

But the plants all grew very vigorously at that spacing. If I could find a better way to be able to reach in to all of them, I'd keep them at one per square foot.

Scorpio Rising wrote:Also incidentally you lose MM when you pull the giant root complex out of these boxes.
I just left the roots of both the tomato and pepper plants in the box for now.  I'll leave them there for the winter and let them decompose.  The tomatoes are almost fully broken down now, but the peppers... those tenacious peppers, they all played a little joke on me.  I cut them completely down, to within about an inch of the surface... they all came back in September.  I ended up with another small pepper harvest in November, would you believe!

That taught me a thing or two about peppers.  They come in like a lamb and go out like a lion!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/6/2017, 9:36 pm

YES!  

I will leave the crowded root situation in there....to compost.  I was so bummed out by the amount of loss when I pulled them out.  

Yeah, I think I just placed things wrong.  All the tomao, peppers, etc, can't be together.  That is what I did.  I think I need to put stuff in a cross word pattern.  

thinking study thinking Hmmmm
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Post  CitizenKate 1/6/2017, 11:35 pm

Let us know what ideas you come up with, SR... my gears are still grinding away on this.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/8/2017, 2:38 pm

My knee jerk solution if to interplant some leaves (lettuce, spinach, kale) in there that can take some shade.  Right now, I have garlic in the innermost 2 squares of that 4x4. This problem doesn't affect my old window boxes, they aren't deep enough to prevent access.  6-10' long by 18" deep.  

CK, I also like to pinch suckers, but missed a lot and ended up with Franken Maters on a couple plants.  I also had missed some fruits as well, especially on my green and white tomato plants (harder to see).

I think breaking them up a bit will alleviate some of the overcrowding issue with the tops of the plants.  I am going to give it a try!

I am also going to relocate my trellis to that bed, so need to have some access to the pole beans and cukes.  

My new box this year might be a 6'x3'!  Or 8'x3'!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 1/8/2017, 2:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added the last thought)
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/9/2017, 7:52 pm

Strawberry varieties suggestions, anyone?  I might build 2 new boxes, one for strawberries.  June vs everbearing, or a combo?
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/10/2017, 7:51 am

Have you checked strawberryplants.org, SR? They seem to be a terrific resource...

On the root issue - I have also had a terrible time with roots/losing MM. DH ended up making me a box with hardware cloth in the bottom so that I can sift the MM & get rid of the roots. Works like a charm! It fits over my wheelbarrow, so I just sift everything into it & then shovel back in the box.
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Post  CitizenKate 1/10/2017, 9:47 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:Strawberry varieties suggestions, anyone?  I might build 2 new boxes, one for strawberries.  June vs everbearing, or a combo?
I'd love it if I could have a whole box dedicated to strawberries. Maybe at the next house...

But I lean more towards the ever-bearing varieties. I'd like to be able to harvest them the same way I do most of my tomatoes... here and there, all season long. Last year, I tried some Seascape strawberries. I cheated, and let a couple of the fruits mature, even though you're not really supposed to do that the first year. The flavor was amazing. In the end, I needed to put them in different surroundings than I did. That's what I'll try next time, but I'll be trying it with the same cultivar.
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Post  CitizenKate 1/10/2017, 9:48 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:
On the root issue - I have also had a terrible time with roots/losing MM.  DH ended up making me a box with hardware cloth in the bottom so that I can sift the MM & get rid of the roots.  Works like a charm!  It fits over my wheelbarrow, so I just sift everything into it & then shovel back in the box.
Great idea!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/11/2017, 6:53 am

Got a catalog from Bountiful Garden the other day. Saw a screen that fits over a 5-gallon bucket. It's actually a set of screens.

https://www.bountifulgardens.org/products/SSO-9290

Interesting catalog. I've seen stuff in there I haven't seen other places.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/11/2017, 7:24 pm

AtlantaMarie wrote:Have you checked strawberryplants.org, SR?   They seem to be a terrific resource...

On the root issue - I have also had a terrible time with roots/losing MM.  DH ended up making me a box with hardware cloth in the bottom so that I can sift the MM & get rid of the roots.  Works like a charm!  It fits over my wheelbarrow, so I just sift everything into it & then shovel back in the box.
No, but I will, AM,  Thanks for the resource!  And I love that idea, I am going to be putting together at least one box, but possibly a box for the berries this Spring!  Maybe I can figure out the sifting box too!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/11/2017, 7:28 pm

CitizenKate wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Strawberry varieties suggestions, anyone?  I might build 2 new boxes, one for strawberries.  June vs everbearing, or a combo?
I'd love it if I could have a whole box dedicated to strawberries.  Maybe at the next house...

But I lean more towards the ever-bearing varieties.  I'd like to be able to harvest them the same way I do most of my tomatoes... here and there, all season long.  Last year, I tried some Seascape strawberries.  I cheated, and let a couple of the fruits mature, even though you're not really supposed to do that the first year.  The flavor was amazing.  In the end, I needed to put them in different surroundings than I did.  That's what I'll try next time, but I'll be trying it with the same cultivar.
I tried to grow strawberries in my old traditional Rodale organic bed at my other house.    The first year, of course, got zero.  2nd year, got a few.  3rd year, grew grass, and berries not so much.   They were ever bearing, can't remember, would be an old world type Rodale suggests...the few I ate were A-MA-Zing!  None made it in the house....Where did you get your Seascape variety, CK?
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Post  CitizenKate 1/11/2017, 8:43 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
I tried to grow strawberries in my old traditional Rodale organic bed at my other house.    The first year, of course, got zero.  2nd year, got a few.  3rd year, grew grass, and berries not so much.   They were ever bearing, can't remember, would be an old world type Rodale suggests...the few I ate were A-MA-Zing!  None made it in the house....Where did you get your Seascape variety, CK?
I'm sure they were, it seems strawberries are another fruit that is massively better when grown at home.

I got my plants at the local nursery. It seems to be a popular variety, so you might be able to get them locally. If not, Jung has them, and so does Burpee. There may be others, but that's where I've happened to see them.
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Post  llama momma 1/12/2017, 8:52 am

My Earlyglow variety of strawberries has been prolific here in central Ohio with plenty to give to a neighbor to fill his own box.  Mine have since jumped the box and either get mowed down or moved to other places in the yard.  It seems once these are established, the plants want to own you...
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Post  CitizenKate 1/12/2017, 9:08 am

That's why, if I grew them in a SFG box, they'd get a whole box to themselves, and I'd probably not try to put anything else in with them. Plus, the fact that they need to stay in the same place year after year.

Think it would hurt to just cut them back a little once they reach the edges of the box?
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Post  llama momma 1/12/2017, 9:48 am

Oh sure that would work if you stay on top of it.  My other issue was moving some runners to other boxes thinking to save some in case I lose some plants?  Thought it was smart to save...only to have the plants all survive and take off all over again. Keeping up with runners is well...you'll find out!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/12/2017, 9:08 pm

Earliglow, I have heard of that , and found Seascape in several catalogs!  Excited!

I would put them in their own box, probably a 4x4 would work best.   Then I am thinking a 3x8 or 3x9 for veggies, just so I can get in easier.  

Looks like a trip to the local lumber yard is in the future!  The guy that built my 4x4 had these cool screws, gotta find them.  They are big and flat and sturdy on the outer edge to help stabilize the box.  I forget what he called them.....gotta get me some.
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