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September in the N&C Midwest!! Toplef10September in the N&C Midwest!! 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

September in the N&C Midwest!! I22gcj10September in the N&C Midwest!! 14dhcg10

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September in the N&C Midwest!!

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madnicmom
BackyardBirdGardner
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September in the N&C Midwest!! Empty September in the N&C Midwest!!

Post  BackyardBirdGardner 8/31/2011, 8:31 pm

Well, what to say...since I'm as long-winded as they come, I'll highlight portions for you skimmers.

Our heat has conveniently returned down here. So, I have been forced to put a hold on things. If you are in the southern third, you are likely in the same boat right now. However, if you are in the northern third, my guess is you are rocking some decent weather....despite the rains. I've been watching and it seems you've had some decent temps up in and around the Great Lakes.

Football season is upon us, especially you college crazies. And, I know you are out there! I would like to say on behalf of the collapsing Big12.......good riddance to Nebraska! The Big10 can have you! (Had to get my shot in there) We could really fire up the smack talk, but that's another discussion for another time.

Birds are starting to migrate south now, too. Our feathered friends are triggered more by day lengths than by temperatures. So, the hummingbirds and warblers may be getting scarce up north. Hopefully, I can pop some pictures in here as I catch a few strangers migrating through. If you want to do them favors, and possibly attract them back towards your gardens next year, one of the best things you can do is provide water. A simple dish near your garden may do the trick. And, water is pretty cheap. Just make sure you keep it clean every few days. I have used upside down frisbees before....no need to go fancy.

What does September mean for the garden? For a lot of us, it's the busiest month outside of May. So, let's break it down by thirds...

North- You ought to be planting your fall gardens if you haven't already. The longer season veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, celery, etc) are likely too late to get in the ground by now. However, anything else is probably fair game....even carrots. If you have mulch on hand, or hoops, you can likely get a shorter to harvest square of carrots provided you get on it quickly. Most salad greens can still be planted for several weeks. Radishes can go in almost right up to your frost date, if you like to gamble.

Middle- You are the tough ones. First, I haven't watched your weather as closely. Second, from what I have watched, you are in between the heat and storms. And, they have both see-sawed all over you. I would be very frustrated by now. But, you can certainly prep things for your salad greens. That's a no-brainer. Drop in that compost and mix it in well. Wait a week or so and pluck out all those weeds. Then, plant your garden when you won't have to be so experienced in identifying weeds from starting veggies....that can be tricky at times. Feel free to add in what you are doing.

South- Well guys, we're stuck! It's just too hot down here with the resurgence of the mini-heatwave. Granted, we could plant beans for another month, but we have to wait another week and hope that's final if we are thinking strictly fall stuff. I have several pictures to show you soon, but nothing is impressive. My carrots and lettuces have sprouted, but are barely hanging on. It's taking a couple of waterings per day to keep them going. The waterings are literally to keep cooling the soil. Each time I water, I cool the soil a few degrees. I don't know if any of it matters, but whatever I can do, I'll try. It's even getting late for us to drop cauliflower and broccoli in the ground. Although, we have pleeeeenty of time for a great fall harvest.

All, our forecasters down here are calling for a sudden beginning to fall/winter. So, be forewarned. Don't get caught without some row covers or hoops by the end of September. It would be an early frost for those of us down south, but nothing is off limits based on what I've been hearing. I'm not saying we will get a crazy early frost. I'm only saying don't get caught with your pants down and lose all your efforts.

Bugs are likely crazy this time of year for you, too. So, you have to stay on top of things as your tender plants start growing. Bugs are worse on your plants in fall than spring because they've had all summer to reproduce and locate food/habitat.

Up north, by the end of the month, you should be planting bulbs for next spring. Although, you can wait until early November, too. Don't forget to fertilize your lawns. This was a wicked summer for a lot of us and our grasses likely were stressed to the point of dormancy. A little shot of Nitrogen will help revive things, but you are really watching for the Phosphorus (middle) and Potassium (last) numbers. These help with root development and cold tolerance, respectively.

Mums are also a welcome addition to a fall garden or landscape. If you have any, please share them. I will be a month behind with any pictures in my neck of the woods.

Lastly, we've been talking a lot lately about the tropical season in the Atlantic. September houses the peak of the season. We have had 11 named storms. If that halfway mark holds true, we may get down to W in the alphabet again with named storms. Very active. Keep a lookout for those folks living in the danger zone, and be glad none of us have that to deal with. We have our own issues with hailstorms and tornadoes. As far as those are concerned, let's hope we don't see any in the fall. Fall storms can be pretty violent, too.


Post your pictures of your fall gardens. Let's finish up this year strong! I'll be in behind you guys when I get mine together.....Happy Gardening!
BackyardBirdGardner
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Post  madnicmom 8/31/2011, 9:02 pm

thank you! I love your posts! I'll post some pics but I have to delete some pics , the SD card is full. LOL



anyone else found 6mil plastic cheaper that $80 bucks, I found it at Menards (10ft x100ft) Lord knows I don't need that much. PVC pipes are running around 1.29 each .



I gotta get on this now!!
madnicmom
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 8/31/2011, 10:52 pm

OMG....$80? How big is the roll? (edit.....just saw you posted the size.... silly me ) I bought two sheets this spring that measure about 12x25. One is 4mm and the other is 6mm. Neither ran close to that price. However, I did see huge rolls that got pricey.
BackyardBirdGardner
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Post  madnicmom 9/1/2011, 9:53 am

Dang, weather here is high 90's with heat index of over or at 100 for today and tomorrow. My poor fall garden is going to be off to a rough start.



I'll look at HD and Lowe's and see what their plastic runs and sizes.
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Post  Denese 9/1/2011, 10:34 am

We've had some beautiful 70s and low 80s temps over the last couple weeks, here in Southeast Michigan. Unfortunately, yesterday, today, and tomorrow are back in the high 80s and 90s. After that, things are on the downturn temps wise. We're actually supposed to have a high of 64 on Labor Day! Otherwise, we're supposed to be in the low to mid 70s. Looks like Fall has arrived.
September in the N&C Midwest!! 411499

I'm pulling my tomato plants this weekend, and am gonna try to get a few more heads of broccoli in (I know it's risky). Other than that, I'll be planting red and green mustard, and some mizuna. Already planted carrots, beets, sugar snaps, cabbage, cauliflower, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and one broccoli.

I've never tried hoop houses or anything like that. Usually, when it's over it's over. Not sure I'm ready (physically or financially) for that this year. We'll see... September in the N&C Midwest!! 27650
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 9/1/2011, 11:07 am

I may have to do a step-by-step on building hoops soon. I know I've talked about it, but it would be pretty simple for me to put something together. I need to cut mine down to a smaller size anyway.

When would you folks up north need to see something to have enough time to assemble one for yourselves? Give me a deadline and I'll have something to shoot for. Then, if you use it this fall, great. If not until spring, you'll know where it is. The idea is to get a resource out to those that may be interested someday.


Here is a quick synopsis of my SFG...

Remember, the trellis is 8 feet high. These tomatoes and cucumbers are well over the trellises. And, the cucumbers are actually about 16 feet long and starting to touch the ground again...
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6102884535_95fd327a7b

I wish I could show you the cucumbers I found yesterday morning. They were near the ground but BEHIND the trellis. They are 9-10 inches long! However, here is a shot of two tomatoes, also behind the trellis and about as big as my fist...but not done growing yet.
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6103428054_4229634642

One of the pepper plants my dog dug up in the spring. It is just now starting to flower and fruit. I hope I get some before frost. That would be a miraculous recovery!
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6102880845_3e45577c05

The plants in the front of my "cool season" SFG are the potatoes I planted a few weeks back as an experiment. They are growing nicely as you can see. I think I'm going to have taters for Turkey Day!
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6102878939_47964df045

The rest of the fall SFG, though, is not doing so well. This is a square of radishes going on about three weeks. No swolen bulbs yet. And, if you look at the surrounding squares, they are also supposed to be planted. Well, they ARE planted...just nothing surviving the heat of summer in the full sun. I am kicking around design ideas to provide a bit of shade to this garden next season. Maybe a row of beans. Maybe a long trellis with thinly planted pole beans. I don't know, but I'll come up with something...
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6103421988_dcc8a4225b

Two columns (we call them columns because SFGs don't have rows...lol) over to the right of the radishes are my carrots. I'm actually surprised with them. I have all four squares sprouted. Not a lot of growth, but everything is above ground after two weeks...
September in the N&C Midwest!! 6102873859_fbca426b6c

Your turn!


Last edited by BackyardBirdGardner on 9/1/2011, 11:29 am; edited 3 times in total
BackyardBirdGardner
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Post  Denese 9/1/2011, 11:13 am

Waterford, Michigan 48328

Average frost for me is October 11, with a definite frost by October 27.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 9/1/2011, 11:34 am

Denese wrote:Waterford, Michigan 48328

Average frost for me is October 11, with a definite frost by October 27.

Thank you. So, Waterford is near Detroit, but a little on the outskirts? Is there any "heat island" type effect on you? I wonder if Detroit doesn't affect your climate a bit and give you a few extra days per year on average?
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Post  Denese 9/1/2011, 12:32 pm

Yes, Waterford is about 38 miles northeast of Detroit. We're considered part of the Detroit Metro area. And yes, I think they do affect our weather, here. If you look on some of the zone maps, the DM area is a different zone than those around it.
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Post  braim5 9/1/2011, 7:43 pm

BackyardBirdGardner wrote:I may have to do a step-by-step on building hoops soon. I know I've talked about it, but it would be pretty simple for me to put something together. I need to cut mine down to a smaller size anyway.



I would love you see your step-by-step on building hoops. I'm particularly interested in a design for a 2 foot wide bed. I know that I don't need 10 foot PVC, but I want to make sure that 5 foot pieces aren't too short also.



I appreciate all of the knowledge that you share along with the other forum members who have been SFG'ing for a while.



Thanks!
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Post  Denese 9/1/2011, 7:59 pm

braim5 wrote:

I would love you see your step-by-step on building hoops. I'm
particularly interested in a design for a 2 foot wide bed. I know that I don't need 10 foot PVC, but I want to make sure that 5 foot pieces aren't too short also.

+1
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 9/2/2011, 12:18 am

2 foot wide beds aren't that much different than the 4 footers imo. I don't know exactly how the PVC would bend, although I'm sure it would. I might be inclined, though, to make more of a "box" looking hoophouse over a 2 footer. It would be more expensive (how much I don't know) because of the T's and corner pieces. But, I think it would look more aesthetically pleasing off the top of my head.

I am going to try and cut down my current hoops because I think there is too much air volume in there as high as they are. I think I would like to get them down to about 2 feet high. Lettuce and spinach don't grow that high. I would only be squashing broccoli and cauliflower.

We'll see....

And, if I haven't said so already, braim.....welcome aboard!
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Post  braim5 9/2/2011, 7:25 am

BackyardBirdGardner wrote:And, if I haven't said so already, braim.....welcome aboard!

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Post  madnicmom 9/5/2011, 2:21 am

cheers cheers I found 6mil plastic (10' x 25') for $20. I can't get it until Tuesday so I *hid* it back in the supply! LOL!
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 9/5/2011, 10:13 am

madnicmom wrote:cheers cheers I found 6mil plastic (10' x 25') for $20. I can't get it until Tuesday so I *hid* it back in the supply! LOL!

Awesome and thank you! The big rolls are pricey but definitely the way to go if someone has lots of beds to protect. For most of us, 10x25 and even smaller, would suffice for the cost.

I cut down my hoops yesterday and tried to take pictures as I was working. I'll put something together soon about building a longer running hoop house.....probably in a separate topic.
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Post  boffer 9/5/2011, 1:35 pm

Just some views and opinions. I try to make all my hoops just under 10 feet, so I can use a roll of 10 wide plastic, and not have to make that extra cut, or have the extra waste.

A four foot wide box
September in the N&C Midwest!! Dscn1111

A three foot wide box
September in the N&C Midwest!! Dscn1112

The hoops were getting pretty funny looking on the three footer, so I did the two footers this way. The 45s are at 31 inches.
September in the N&C Midwest!! Dscn1113

What BBG says about lowering the height makes sense conceptually. I look forward to his side-by-side tests next spring, to see just how much it helps. Wink

I chose to go higher to have room for mature plants. Ideally, we don't want the plants to touch the plastic. Low hoops would probably work good in the spring.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 9/5/2011, 3:18 pm

Thanks for the additions, Boffer.

Folks, don't forget I like salad greens in the cool weather. I am not much for growing bunches of broccoli or cauliflower. I have about 6 squares dedicated to those plants in total out of 64. So, to me, the high hoops are a waste of dead air. The lower the better for what I grow.

I love the angled hoops, too. I don't have the materials for that right now. So, I just cut mine down.

Whether you have a 2 foot box, 3 foot box, or 4 foot box, the PVC will bend fine. You just have to adjust the length of the pipe to be the height you want your hoops when doubled over.

Boffer also makes a lot of sense when he takes into account the size of his plastic. I just cut mine down to fit. I guess I'm not as concerned about the waste to make the math worthwhile....lol.
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Post  laurainwinona 9/9/2011, 11:05 am

Here, we've had high temps in the 60s and 70s for the last week or so. 40s and 50s at night. I cut the last of my beans. 20 tomatoes still green on the vine, last of the cukes growing, and still waiting for 4 cantaloupes to grow and get ripe, and 1 small, round watermelon. The other watermelon wasn't quite ripe, but fell off when I was adjusting the "sling" on the other one. It split in half, so we ate it that day. Not quite sweet and tasty (especially for a cultivar named "Sugar Baby"!), but it was juicy! I planted spinach, radishes, lettuce, and carrots for a fall garden about 2 1/2 weeks ago....only the radishes came up, and a few carrots here and there. I wonder if I have time to replant, or should I give up and call it "over"? i should look up my first fall frost date.
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