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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/1/2013, 7:38 pm

I planted mine out in my mini greenhouses and they only keep above freezing, maybe 10 degrees at best when we're still cold. I have a pair of tiny real leaves on my cherry tomato. I expect it will take off these next two weeks.

We're supposed to start staying in the 40s at night and we're over 70 in the shade today. I'm in the mountains outside of Fresno.

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Post  mrsfish94 on 3/1/2013, 8:29 pm

PNG.... Can you pm me a link for that grow lit kit? Not sure where I would put it...but I might need it. Lol! Those toms are still sitting there doing nothing tongue oh well. I am waiting to for my fava beans to produce to pull them out and plant my toms in their place. I wish I could figure out how to post pictures on here. You should see my fava beans. They are almost 3 ft tall. Thanks for the info.
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 3/1/2013, 9:07 pm

I just sent the PM with the links. Al did a Google search first for the grow lights, found Hydro Farm had what he liked, then he checked PriceGrabber.com for the best deals. You can save a bundle by shopping around! Also, Al says you really NEED the thermostat to keep the heat mat temp up enough to sprout the little guys, otherwise the temp stays close to the room temp overnight, which can be colder than the seeds would like!
Good Luck! okay
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Post  mrsfish94 on 3/1/2013, 9:28 pm

Thanks so much for the info! I will check them out. Did I tell you that my hubby made me some raised planters for my side yard. I am so excited. I doesn't get a true full sun but I know I will be able to grow greens like lettuce and beet greens. I might even try broccoli and see if they will grow there during the summer. Thanks again!
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/1/2013, 2:19 pm

Hello!! So good to be back here again. During the past 7 months I've had one or both parents in and out of the hospitals and convalescent homes. On May 15th my Dad died... my gardening tutor, mentor, friend, and all 'round great guy. In early March we started seeds for Dad's backyard garden knowing he would probably never see the plants. We took pictures as the seeds grew in our grow-light setup here in my office, then outside in the greenhouse, and eventually planted in the garden area he and my nephew had prepared. Mom is now picking some zucchini, scallop squash, and crookneck for her dinners, and the tomatoes are not far behind! The sweet 100%s, her favorites, should start ripening soon... our weather is really heating up!

Al has tons of toms in our backyard, all grown from seed this year, beginning early in the year under the grow-light system. We're eating MANY zucchini, scallop, and crookneck squash already. Sure wish the eggplant would hurry up... they taste soooo good cooked with the squash and some onion! Last night we added two San Marzano tomatoes to the mix...Super Delish!!! okay

Just wanted to check in and say hi and post an update on our Apollo Garden. All the new gardeners are doing so well, and our "older" gardeners... they're just growing along! This is our third year... not third season because we garden year round... but into our third year since we began building and growing the Apollo Garden. Wow!!
happy hi
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Post  boffer on 6/1/2013, 2:28 pm

It's nice to hear from you again. Sorry for your loss, but it sounds like you'll have great memories of him while working in your garden.

Has it been 3 years already? thinking I remember your pictures of Al working his fanny off digging ditches for the water lines, etc., when you were just getting started. As I recall, he got stuck with the hard work since he was the young whippersnapper in the community...at age 60 or so!

Do you still remember how to post pics? We're due for an update! Wink
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/1/2013, 2:41 pm

Hi Boffer!! Great to hear from you... and yes, it's been 3 yrs...well, will be in a couple of weeks!
Yes, I remember how to post the pictures... I'll get some up later this weekend.

Thanks for the kind words. From the time I was about 4 Dad taught me how to save the seeds of Marigolds. He loved those flowers... Mom liked the colors but hated the stinky smell... and through the years Dad had coffee cans and mayonnaise jars with marigold seeds, separated by colors. At his memorial service last week I handed out small ziplock baggies that had a picture of Dad and some of the seeds inside... and we had written "Plant these for Bud" on each bag. His marigolds will be all over the State, and even into OR and AZ!
I'm sure he's smiling at his crazy daughter. I love you
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Post  sanderson on 6/1/2013, 3:57 pm

What a sweet memory for your Dad.
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/1/2013, 6:01 pm

@boffer wrote:Do you still remember how to post pics? We're due for an update! Wink
Here are some pics from a few hours ago...
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0610
This is from the street, looking south.
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0611
Lettuce is growing beautifully! We get some great Delta breezes daily so the moisture helps...
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0612
View from the very south side of the garden, looking north. This box has peppers, eggplant, butternut and spaghetti squash! Oh, and one tomato plant on the far left, growing up the string. The squash grow very well vertically on a trellis.
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0613
Eggplant coming soon... Such beautiful flowers!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0614
Crooknecks are lovin' it!!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0615
... Zucchini doing well!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0616
...and we can't forget the toms on strings, with basil growing below. Very handy when "shopping" from the garden!

That's my update. Can't believe we had fresh tomatoes in our dinner on May 31st!! All plants in these close up pics were started from seed between mid January and early March. This is addicting!!
happy hi
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Post  boffer on 6/1/2013, 8:07 pm

Your gardens keep getting better and better! Very Happy I'm surprised that you have lettuces and squashes both doing so well at the same time.

Did you ever get your outdoor sink installed?
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/1/2013, 9:20 pm

@boffer wrote:Did you ever get your outdoor sink installed?
Hmmm, about that outdoor sink. Yes... and no! We built the stand for the sink and installed the sink itself, along with connecting PVC stuff, but somehow never connected the hose to the water. I worked really hard on the counter top around the sink and on both sides... used 4x4" tile set in a diagonal design. Looked great. Huge problem when the frosty nights arrived... the tile we used is for inside use, not out in the weather. The tile has flaked off leaving very sharp slivers. Occasionally someone will use the sink and surrounding flat surface to wash things, but with a water faucet at each garden box, this was just not necessary.
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Dscf0617
You can see the stand and sink in the background.

BTW... the long narrow box in the foreground is full of squash plants. Al gets carried away sometimes. Rolling Eyes

Yeah, we can grow just about anything in this area. We ate some fresh cauliflower from the backyard garden about 3 weeks ago. I forgot to mention in my earlier post... Al brought in a beautiful bell pepper last night. We'll eat that tonight or tomorrow... the grocery bills are starting to drop!
happy hi
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Post  FamilyGardening on 6/2/2013, 2:53 am

great looking garden Very Happy so glad to see update Very Happy

sorry to hear about losing your father....what a sweet thing your did and a great idea sending his flower seeds with those who loved him (((hugs)))

my father passed a few years ago.....he loved to garden too...he would grow the best yukon potatoes and would give us boxes of them....i miss that.....he too loved to plant flowers ....he arranged them by the shape and color of a huge rainbow....

hugs
rose
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Post  Triciasgarden on 6/10/2013, 12:38 am

I just love how you narrate your garden stories and you have such amazing pictures! I know I read some of this last year but I started again tonight, got part-way done and went to the end to see what was happening now. I hope I have time tomorrow to finish reading because your progression from beginning this project to now is so wonderful and interesting!

I am so sorry for you losing your Dad! Some of him lives with you and I bet he still joins you and gives you advice while looking over your shoulder! That was a perfect gift to give everyone, a little packet of marigold seeds so they can always look at the beautiful flowers and think of him! I hope you Mom is doing well!

You and Al have brought so much life and enjoyment to so many people there! How is your 90 year old neighbor that came by and helped? You guys are all amazing in my book!
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 7/2/2013, 3:03 pm

@Triciasgarden wrote:How is your 90 year old neighbor that came by and helped? 
Wow, thanks for all the kind words about my dad, they help make my days easier. 

As for our 90 yr old neighbor... well, he's nearly 93, recently fell on his bike, and more recently accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes and wiped out a bench at our community mailboxes...so he hung up his keys for good, sold his car, and is beginning to stop shaking so badly at the thought of hurting a neighbor! We all care so much for him and not seeing him ride around is sad. He's still walking around, and I've passed on the word to him that someone asked about him... made him smile and say thanks! Smile 

Now, about our gardens... WOW!!! they are growing out of the boxes throughout the Apollo Garden. Everyone is harvesting abundant crops of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and the okra is getting tall! Two full 4x8 boxes of strawberries are so full and ripe! YUM!! 
All of this in spite of our triple digit heat! Another 107-109 day predicted for today here in the Modesto area of CA. Whew!!
The tomatoes are splitting on the tops, but other than that they seem to be doing well. 
Here are some pics of our harvest for the last few days... don't want to seem to be bragging tooo much, just a little, OK??Laughing 

This is from our garden on Jun 26th...just under a pound!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Today210
...and yesterday's crop... OVER a pound, with most of those other big guys at 15+ ounces each! Al knows how to grow some big toms! Yes, the heat is splitting them, but the taste is delicioso!!!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Over_a10
These are all from plants we grew from seeds in March. Lots of TLC at the beginning and then more TLC in the garden. The zucchini is struggling, the peppers are showing signs of scalding where they're not shade by the leaves of the eggplant plants, but the eggplant is producing well... all in spite of our horrendous heat!
More updates as we grow!
happy hi
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 1/2/2014, 3:54 pm

So I guess I'm bragging, just a little? These pics were taken on Nov 1st. We've since had some really bad frosts that wiped out just about everything, even the flowers we covered on the porch... but the Swiss chard, spinach, kale, and beets are keeping us quite happy!
Our 4x4 box ... I planted seeds on October 1st ... zucchini, crookneck, and Patty Pan (Summer or Scallop) squash; Bush Beans; Beets; Kale; Spinach; Swiss chard. I wanted to see if they'd grow this late in the year... They really surprised all of us!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 2013no10
Zucchini doing really well!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 2013no11
... and the Patty Pan/Summer/Scallop Squash doing well too!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 2013no12
...and the cherry toms in a neighboring 4x4 here in the Apollo Garden ... great, until the frost hit!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 2013no13

The greens are doing so well that we're giving them away every few days. My mom loves the bags of fresh spinach and Swiss chard that Al delivers each week... and our neighbors have been, with permission from Al, cutting greens for their dinners too. 
Love this Central California weather, but wow, we sure need the rain!!
 happy hi
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Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Empty Serious drought in CA...your thoughts, please??!!

Post  PNG_Grandma on 2/3/2014, 3:04 am

Hello Gardeners! I really need your input for a serious issue we have here in CA... most of you have probably heard that while the rest of the county is having some of the coldest weather on record, we're having the dry-est winter since they began keeping records somewhere around 1850 or so?? Not sure of the exact year, but it was around the mid to late 1800s. In the next few weeks we may be on total water rationing... not the kind where they tell you to turn off the water when you brush your teeth... I mean the type of rationing where we won't be able to water our plants outside!  Shocked 

Today Al and I put water collection buckets at two of the corners of the greenhouse in the Apollo Garden and buckets under 3 of the 4 downspouts at our house. We are beginning to do more research on rain barrels but this just isn't something we know much about... we've thought of water as always being here, and now it's not. Most of the lakes that provide water for the majority of Central to Northern CA are down to critical levels, 10 - 17% of their capacity. There is a small possibility of rain later this week, so if you have any suggestions on how best to collect, and store the rainwater to use to grow our stuff... PLEASE let us know, OK?
 
Drought? Here in our beautiful CA??  Sad  Ahhhh, the things we take for granted.
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Post  sanderson on 2/3/2014, 5:01 am

PNG_Grandma, Husband and I drove up to Millerton Lake today to view the effects of the drought. Maybe I can post a photo or two of the pitiful sight.

I searched for "rain collect" and found the link posted below. I'm sure there are other links but it did show a couple of set ups. If memory serves me, you live in a mobile home park which would mean you probably have a metal roof. If so, you won't have to worry about asphalt runoff in the first part of the rain. The main thing would be to find some blue food-grade 55 gallon drums to collect the water and a way to raise them off the ground so you can install a discharge faucet near the bottom. Concrete cider blocks look like a sturdy way. You won't have any water pressure for a hose but at least the water can be discharged into 5 gallon watering buckets. And, you will need a way to prevent the first rain from discharging into the barrel. You would want that to discharge-to-ground.

Our water situation in CA is dire. Here we are in the bread basket of the world, but without sufficient and affordable water, the commercial food production will continue to suffer and decline. I disagree with the SF political direction, and greater LA, but that is for another Topic.

Best of luck with the water collection projects.

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t12749-best-rain-barrel-instructions?highlight=rain+collecti
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Post  sanderson on 2/6/2014, 1:46 pm

PNG, Are you playing in the rain today??  Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 998388915 
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 2/26/2014, 1:54 pm

@sanderson wrote:PNG,  Are you playing in the rain today??  Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 998388915 
YES!!! The rain started a couple of hours ago, nothing heavy yet, but a light, steady rain. We need every drop we can get!!

Please take a look at my post on the Best Rain Barrel Instructions at this link https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t12749p15-best-rain-barrel-instructions#186566

This is our finished project... the instructions and more pictures are included in my post at that link. 

Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 020-ta11

Whew!!!   cheers
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Post  sanderson on 2/26/2014, 2:52 pm

PNG,  Job well done!  And, just in time for the rain.  cheers 

I'm so excited with the rain!   cloudy-bummer
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Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 Empty ...more about the rain harvesting system

Post  PNG_Grandma on 2/26/2014, 5:13 pm

I was asked about the stability of our barrels... what keeps the bottom barrels from rolling apart when the top barrels fill. Great question! These barrels will weigh about 400 pounds when filled with water... they won't fill to capacity due to the location of the fill holes and vent holes, but still, they WILL be pretty darned heavy!

In the detailed instructions posted on the other topic pages we showed the 2x4 strips we placed at the base of each outside barrel, just for this purpose. Before the barrels fill with too much water we will either put two thick rods of rebar (taller than the top barrels) into the ground at each end of the system and link the tops of the rebar together with chain ... or we'll place tie-down straps around the entire system to hold them in place. 

None of the videos on YouTube speak of any barrels rolling apart, but if these were to break free when full of water they would take out that post on the left that holds up the awning on our house that's attached to our roof. DISASTER!! Not to mention the potential harm to any humans standing nearby. Yes, we've thought of the safety issues too. 

Here in the Central Valley in CA we occasionally have a small earthquake, nothing large... and because we're mostly on sand we have a low rolling quake, not the harsh jolts of the more coastal areas of CA. We think we've prepared for just about any problems...  What a Face 

With that said, I must tell you that after the rain began today, and enough came down to fill the gutter a bit and drip into the downspout ... we found a problem. We forgot to glue the last few fittings!! The downspout was clamped to the black flexible fitting that you see in the picture and it was clamped to the 45° fitting that was attached to the 2" pipe which went into a "T" fitting then continued on down to the 90° fitting to begin filling the bottom barrels. We forgot to glue the 45° and the Tee fittings!! They were leaking... but hey, that was exciting to see because it meant the system was working!!! During a lull in the light rain Al quickly glued the fittings and wiped off the outside drips. Over an hour later and there are no new drips... and it's still raining. YAY!! Seems like it's working. Again, whew.  Very Happy
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Post  sanderson on 2/26/2014, 8:36 pm

I'm glad you had a chance for a test run with today's gentle rain. It's suppose to rain 2" on Friday.  cloudy-bummer  Hah! I'll believe it when I see it.

Sanderson, from the land of gentle earthquakes.
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Post  sanderson on 2/26/2014, 8:38 pm

PS Hubby just looked at the photo and said "That is a good job. A lot thought went into that."
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Post  PNG_Grandma on 2/26/2014, 9:04 pm

@sanderson wrote:PS  Hubby just looked at the photo and said "That is a good job.  A lot thought went into that."
Tell Hubby we both said thanks, and yes, a ton of thought went into this project!!! ... and many re-thoughts too!

The rain started coming down harder right about 5pm this evening. It's now 6:01pm, so with barely one hour of rain, only 1/4 of our roof... the back half of the east side of our house and awning... and this is what we have... I'm jumping up and down at the potential here!
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 021-fi10
... here's a closer look ...
Modesto, Central Valley, CA... - Page 9 022-le10
WOW!!!
PNG_Grandma
PNG_Grandma

Female Posts : 295
Join date : 2010-06-20
Age : 72
Location : Modesto CA, Central Valley, USDA Zone 9b, Sunset 14, AHS Heat Zone 8, whew!

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Post  Chopper on 2/26/2014, 9:26 pm

I love them! Very cool.
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Chopper

Female Posts : 2467
Join date : 2010-05-05
Age : 65
Location : Warner Springs, CA USDA Zone 8a, Sunset Zone 7 (I think)

http://thezimmermannfamilytoo.blogspot.com

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