mia_blake

Garden Update 6-4-13

MiaOKC
7 years ago

Good morning - we were surprised with more rain overnight (just what I needed! ha!) and so went out to take a good look at the garden this morning. I'll come back and post pics tonight, but while it's fresh in my mind:

Onions - I see three bolting (likely from the roller coaster weather we've recently had) and three others are laying over like they may be getting ready to harvest, but those don't seem to have bulbed up much. Others are looking pretty good with about 10 leaves average. I didn't do much to feed them except one last-ditch effort of blue water, so I can't say I'm surprised. I will soon seed green beans in the onion patch, so will pull the few that have bolted and start seeding there.

Radishes - I apparently forgot I had radishes, and they have started flowering. Can I still eat these raw? I'd been delaying because, you know, you can only eat so many radishes at one time. I've only ever had raw radishes, but I bet they could be pickled or something if I ever had time.

Asparagus - the rains have encouraged more new growth, and some of the mature ferns have already shed berries, so am hoping the asparagus patch will grow for next year.

Cantaloupe - seems stalled. I think starting the seeds in the house early didn't really do anything for me, these haven't gotten much larger and the one eaten by a cutworm and reseeded is now just as big as the others grown inside.

Tomatoes - I've lost a few of these, even with my cutworm defense toothpicks, so will plant something else (maybe okra?) in their spots. Don't worry, I still have about 20 plants so if they ever get around to flowering and setting fruit, there will be plenty of tomatoes. :) Plants are healthy and about 18 inches tall, but no flowers yet. I fed with tomato tone at planting time, but thinking I will feed again to try to encourage some blooms unless y'all warn that will only encourage vegetation.

Cucumbers - two of four plant (beau) look great and have flowers and have begun vining. These were started inside early. The other two (beauty) started inside at the same time, have the same problem the cantaloupe does... stalling. Hope they get going soon.

Zucchini - can we call it stall-itis? The seedlings started inside sit there like a lump, and the few I had to reseed from cutworm damage are going gangbusters. I'm sure there's a lesson here, but I might be too hardheaded to remember it next year in the spring seed-starting frenzy.

Peppers - have been a buffet for some kind of chewing insect. Have rebounded somewhat, but I don't know what's eating the leaves or how to prevent it, so I'm letting them fend for themselves somewhat.

Eggplant - a double whammy of stalled-out and insect buffet. Hoping they might recover.

Garlic - the garlic patch consists of the ones I didn't find when I harvested last year, so I think that's why I have tons of scapes shooting now (in a cool, twisty curlicue way). I guess this means I won't get any bulbs.

Two/Three-year onion experiment - all of last year's onions (and one from the previous year that I had ignored) were transplanted to one spot and they have gone crazy flowering. The stems of the scapes are about 1.5 inches in diameter, they are crazy thick! Keeping an eye on the flowers to see when seeds start forming... although I have no idea why, except for pure scientific interest, as I spent maybe a whopping grand total of $5 on onions this year and I cannot imagine that I will ever get around to seeding these early enough to start them when they would be sized up at the time when Dixondale would ship...

Elephant garlic - may have fallen prey to an overzealous yard spray guy... that's what I get for leaving them outside of the main vegetable garden and its no-spray perimeter.

Strawberries - and impulse buy of everbearing strawberries at Lowe's has been planted in the front flower bed amongst the hydrangeas and the peonies. They are flowering and setting fruit.

Misc. herbs - the basil has been an insect snack, but all in all, these are doing OK in containers shared with cannas around the swimming pool. I should start some more things to replace those that died of neglect waiting to get into a pot, but I'm not sure I will.

Fruit & nut trees - peach tree is on its last leg, doubtful that this year's weather will allow fruit set. We'd trimmed lots of deadwood out of the plum tree this spring and it has rebounded quite well, it may live longer than I'd thought. Again, no sign of fruit there. Pear trees have lots of baby pears. One of the pear trees (we have 2.5 pear trees, the half comes from a neighbor's tree hanging into our yard) is set to be removed, and it's unfortunate because it makes Asian pears which are really tasty, but it's completely planted in the wrong spot and drops pears into the pool and clogs up the plumbing. My mother is sick about me wanting it out, but I think it has to go. Pecan tree hasn't shown any sign of pecans this year, but I'm hopeful. I think we unearthed a mulberry when we cleared one corner of our yard that was completely overgrown, but waiting to see if it makes any fruit. Blackberries were decimated in the weed/honeysuckle clearing, so I think those will have to be replanted - I'd hoped they would come back from the roots but no such luck yet.

Lastly, I've been begging my husband for a greenhouse/potting shed to replace the dilapidated 6x8 Harbor Freight version that the house came with. I've been analyzing how much space I'd want and what I'd use it for (overwinter tender plants like hibiscus and palms and citrus - to get those out of the garage so DH doesn't have to climb over the pots as he gets out of his car - and for seed starting, leaving it vacant in the summer I think) and where we might put it (best spot might actually be under the canopy of the pecan and pear trees, which will be bare in the winter, with the trees on the north side and our large paved driveway on the south side to reflect any sunlight/heat back at it.) I've got some ideas and have been haunting the Greenhouse forum for a while, so will keep y'all updated if we go forward! I've considered another HF (bigger) GH, but I think we've decided against it. The last one is not a resounding endorsement, even though there are many devotees in the GH forum. My current idea is to actually build it out using pairs of sliding glass patio doors with screens, and maybe give it a shingled roof instead of see-through. Kind of a sunroom/potting shed/greenhouse hybrid. Even my little HFGH, with only half of the panels intact and mostly open to the weather, gets severely overheated on sunny winter days, and positively baking in the summer, so I think being able to open the doors and cross vent might be a good idea. Still mulling it over.

Anyway, that's the news for now! And if you've stayed with me this long... wow. You must be an Oklahoma gardener - patience of a saint and perseverance of a pioneer. :)

Love to hear what's happening in your garden this week - feel free to pile on!

Comments (29)

  • elkwc
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Mia it is time to start seeing scapes. I'm going to start removing some of mine. I have a few ladies who want them. I'm not sure how mine will bulb this year. I planted them a month earlier but between the continual tumble weeds blowing through and the cool/cold extended period in April and early May I don't have the vegetative growth I normally see. The stalks on some of the elephant garlic are big but some of the others including Estonian Red have me concerned. I lost almost all of two varieties. I removed tumble weeds that had blown in and didn't cover them back up with straw. Two days later we had a morning in the low 20's. He either killed or mostly killed every plant that had been covered by the tumbleweeds. They had only been there 7-10 days. Never dreamed that they would get that tender in such a short time. Of course we had been having several warm days and the new growth was taking place. I hate that I lost one of the varieties. I may have to try and find some more. Many I grow are heirlooms that I was sent and you can't find anywhere. And one complete crop failure can wipe you out. Jay

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Good Afternoon, Mia,

    Overall it sounds like the weather has put a lot of your plants into a sort of stall. Hopefully, you'll have a break from the clouds and rain and then with more sunshine and heat, the warm-season crops will perk up and get busy growing.

    Onions: My onions are a mixed bag. Some have sized up really well and some haven't and it isn't necessarily linked to variety, although the intermediate daylength types are much larger overall than the short daylength types. Still, there's some of each variety that are significantly smaller than the others. I blame it on the weather. Really, with all the recurring cold weather followed by insanely wet weather, it is a wonder more haven't bolted than the 3 you mentioned.

    Radishes: You just have to try one and see if the flavor is too unpleasantly strong. As the radishes get larger, their flavor strengthens and their texture will change from crispy to pithy. You'll have to try one from each variety to see if they have advanced to the inedible stage yet. My guess is that if they are flowering, they no longer are good quality for fresh eating, but I've never even attempted to eat a radish that was flowering, so that is just my best guess.

    I've never heard of pickled radishes in general, but one of my pickling recipe books does have a recipe for pickled sweet daikon radishes and for pickled radish pods. Normally you would use the pods from rat-tail radished for the pickled pod recipe, but I suppose it might work equally well with any young, tender radish pods. If you want me to post either recipe here, let me know. I have rat-tail radishes in the ground, but they aren't blooming yet. I always plant them slightly later than the rest of my radishes since I want them for the pods and flowers and not for the roots. I mostly grow them as companion plants with winter squash and pumpkins.

    Asparagus: Mine is the same as yours, While some of it has shed berries, there also is quite a bit of new growth emerging too.

    Cantaloupe loves sunshine and hot weather. I suspect yours has stalled because of excessive cloudiness and rain. I grow my cantaloupe in a position where it can climb the garden fence and the plants currentlyare spread out a little but on the ground. If they don't start climbing the fence soon, I will weave the ends of the plants through the fence to get it started. Once you start it climbing, it does the climbing really well on its own. Mine stalled until about a week ago and then took off growing pretty well. Hopefully yours will do the same. Cantaloupes really dislike being transplanted, especially if put into the ground while it is cooler than they like. I like to raise them as transplants anyway because I can get them slightly larger before they have to face the cucumber beetles. Mine usually stall for about 2 weeks after being transplanted, but then they recover and grow well. When I direct seed, I lose a lot of them to cucumber beetles or other pests before they get very large at all.

    Tomatoes: I would think ours ought to be starting to flower by now. What I would do to stimulate flowering and fruit set would be to feed them a bloom booster fertilizer. That will kick them into a flowering cycle better than an all-purpose fertilizer would. You know, unless it is a really cool summer, we usually get too hot for fruit to set beginning sometime in June, depending on the weather in any given year as well as one's location in the state, so I'd push them now with a bloom booster in order to get at least one round of flowering and fruit set before the temperatures get too hot. Who knows? Maybe this will be a cooler than average summer and we'll get fruit set all summer long. That does happen about 1 or 2 years out of 10 and, to me, it seems like we are overdue for a year like that.

    My tomato plants are large, healthy, blooming and loaded with fruit. We have been harvesting from the early plants, put into pots in February, and from cherry tomato plants put into the ground in April, for some time now, and also have been harvesting fruit from Bush Early GIrl planted in the ground for a couple of weeks now. The plants that went into the ground in April have fruit in all sizes and we'll see the big harvest beginning in the next 2 or 3 weeks. They're late this year compared to last year, but then last year the last freeze was almost 2 months earlier than this year's late freeze, so it is easy to understand why they are later to produce ripe fruit.

    This year I put the smallest number of tomato plants in the ground that I can remember planting since our 2nd or 3rd year here, but I canned, dehydrated and froze so many last year that I didn't want to do a lot of canning this year. No one should feel sorry for me, as we still have far too many plants and I'll likely have to either can a bunch of them anyway or give the fruit away.

    We just had BOLT (bacon, onion, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches for lunch, with the onion, lettuce and tomato all coming from our garden. I could eat them for lunch every day, but eating that much bacon daily likely wouldn't be a good thing.

    Cucumbers: They really prefer to be direct-seeded, but as with cantaloupe, I'd rather raise transplants and get them to a decent size first so they can withstand the onslaught of cucumber beetles that I have been seeing outdoors since February of this year. I planted a huge amount of pickling cuke plants this year because I want to make a lot of pickles in a year when I'm not preoccupied with canning lots of tomatoes. It seems like they stalled for about 2 weeks after being transplanting. They had one or two true leaves when transplanted and now they have 6-8 leaves and are climbing the trellis. I planted several varieties of pickling cukes: Eureka, County Fair and Sumter are the three varieties I can remember off the top of my head. There may be others I've forgotten. I have them both in the front garden and the new back garden so I can compare their performance in the two areas. Some of the ones that went into the ground first (Sumter) just began blooming yesterday.

    Zucchini: Yes, they'll do best when direct-seeded. I still like to start them inside, but transplant them into the ground as soon as the cotyledons pop up out of the soil. One thing you can do: start your back-up plants inside at the same time you direct sow some seed in the ground. Then, if you have an issue with the seed sown into the ground, by the time you decide there is an issue, you'll have backup plants from the seeds sown inside.

    We had too much zucchini last year and not enough yellow squash, so this year I planted yellow squash for summer and will plant zukes in mid-summer for fall. In any given year, I tend to overplant whatever I thought was lacking the previous year....so, we have lots of yellow squash plants, and the first squash is going to be ready to harvest in 1-2 more days.

    PEPPERS: My pepper foliage has been a green leafy buffet for grasshoppers. I know that because I catch them on the pepper plants when I walk into the garden. Usually, as the plants get a little older and their foliage is a little tougher, the hoppers abandon it for the more tender foliage of green beans. The sweet pepper plants are behind the hot pepper plants in terms of bloom and fruitset, but have begun blooming this week. The hot peppers have had fruit setting for at least 3 weeks, and one purple jalapeno plant has one pepper almost ready for harvest. I usually get the first ripe pepper from a purple jalapeno pepper, with the Purple Jalapeno pepper variety producing even earlier than the variety that is called Early Jalapeno.

    If something is eating not only the leaves but parts of the limbs and stems too, you might have a tomato or tobacco hormworm munching on them. I found one in the garden yesterday. It wasn't even on a pepper plant that had been eaten down to half of its size the previous day, so I'll be checking the plant at night with a flashlight the next couple of nights to see if I can catch some sort of caterpillar or maybe snails eating the plant.

    Eggplant: I no longer grow eggplant because no one in my family will eat it, though I think it is a pretty enough plant to grow "just because" even if no one eats them. I hope yours recover. When I did grow eggplant, it always seemed to do better for me in July and beyond than it did prior to that. Maybe it needs a lot more heat than the tomatoes and peppers do.

    Garlic: As Jay said, it is scape time. Your plants that develop scapes should still produce a bulb, though it might not be as large as it would have been if the scapes hadn't formed.

    My garlic seems pretty much on-schedule. Only a few have formed scapes, and none of them have foliage that is turning yellow or tan yet, so they seem to be doing okay. I grow more than we ever could eat, especially this year, as I wanted a lot to plant around the perimeter fence of the new garden. I find that having lots of garlic helps repel some pests.

    Onions: We are having a really good onion year and I am pleased about that. I was worried all the recurring cold would cause a lot of bolting, but don't think I've had a single Dixondale onion bolt. Every year since the early 2000s, I have stuck extra onions in the ground here and there and let them grow and flower their second year. They have really pretty flowers and the little beneficial flying insects truly love them, and I appreciate having anything in bloom that will attract beneficial insects. Mine have been blooming for about a month are are almost done. In areas where I leave them alone and don't yank them out after they bloom, seeds fall to the ground and sprout and grow eventually. I had one patch of flowering purple onions under the pecan tree that perpetuated itself for about 5 years. After one of the drought years, no onions came back there, though.

    The only onions I ever raise from seed are the bunching onions that we use as scallions.

    Herbs: I scatter herbs everywhere, mixing them with veggies, fruit plants and flowers. Last year it seemed like the swallowtail butterflies weren't as abundant as usual, so this year I planted lots of dill, fennel and parsley for them in multiple locations, including in both the front garden and back garden and in several containers as well. I've been sowing new batches of dill seed every couple of weeks so that we'll always have dill coming along for them (and for us too). Yesterday I found the first swallowtail caterpillars on a dill plant heartily devouring it, and the garden has had lots of swallowtails nectaring in and around it, so I think the extra plantings for them have made them happy. We have dill in all stages, from 1" tall to 4 or 5' tall and in flower. Hopefully the caterpillars will devour the large plants and let the little tiny ones keep growing.

    We also have rosemary, confrey, 6 or 8 kinds of basil, both white-flowered and blue-flowered borage, oregano, lemon balm, cilantro, papalo, catnip, catmint, chocolate mint, orange mint and other miscellaneous herbs scattered around. The grasshoppers always devour the foliage of the lemon balm and catnip early in the season, but leave it alone later on.....I guess by then they have moved on to something that they like more. From the looks of things, it may be a bad grasshopper year here.

    Watermelons: Since these like heat, they are one of the last things I plant. I have them in 5 areas where they were planted on purpose, and in one area where a volunteer plant popped up out of the ground. They are doing fine. Of course, the volunteer plant was the last one to pop up and it is twice the size of the ones I grew from seed, which is par for the course.
    Corn: We have 5 varieties of corn planted and I tried to stagger their planting times and DTMs so we would have a steady stream of corn but not too much all at once. The earliest variety is just about to silk, and I think the second variety will be only about 7-10 days behind it. The other three are not quite as far along, but that is deliberate. Those three all are widely spaced from one another by both time and distance isolation to keep them from cross-pollinating. I don't want to jinx the corn crop by saying it looks like a great corn year, so all I will say is that so far it looks good.....

    Potatoes: After six inches of rainfall shortly after potato planting last year caused a lot of our seed potatoes to rot before they could sprout, I planted tons of potatoes this year. The plants are through flowering and are still looking pretty healthy so we ought to be digging potatoes in July as long as something doesn't go horribly wrong. Last night I found a vole mound in the pathway next to one of the raised potato beds, so will be working to eliminate that vole or voels this week. Sometimes it gets tricky. Once they know I am on to them, they only come out at night. Normally the cats control them, but because of predator issues, my cats have to be indoors at night so stay safe, so on the rare occasion a vole gets into the garden, it can be hard to deal with. Luckily we have a lot of potatoes, so even if I cannot get rid of the vole quickly, there still should be potatoes left for us.

    OKRA: We have it in two places. We have green mammoth spineless raised from seed in one spot in the front garden. In the back garden, we have okra volunteers that came iup in the asparagus bed. I dug them up and transplanted them to the back garden last week and they look better than the ones I deliberately planted in the front garden. Either way, we should have plenty of okra, but likely won't be harvesting any for a few more weeks. Even the tallest okra plants are less than a foot tall.

    Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts: these had a pretty good spring and are in the final stages, just kinda finishing up the harvest now. In the former cauliflower and brussels sprouts bed, I have removed all the plants except for one brussels sprouts plant that still is producing, and replaced them with widely spaced cosmos plants and refrigerator watermelon plants.

    There's still a few broccoli plants producing and we've only harvested the earliest variety of cabbage, so that bed still is full of cool season crops. As they come out, I will replace them with southern peas.

    Green Beans: I planted several varieties of pole green beans in the new garden out back. They went in late as we were late in finishing that area and getting it planted. i believe I put the bean seeds in the ground in about mid-May. Those plants are about a foot or so tall and are just now starting to climb the fence.

    In the beds where onions are coming out, I will sow seeds of a few bush beans, accompanied by zinnias for beauty, but most of my bean harvest is intended to be a fall harvest because I knew I'e be really busy in June and July with corn and cukes (and tomatoes as always) and was trying to arrange things so I wasn't spending all day in the kitchen preserving food about every other day. I hope this plan works out.

    Winter squash: The only winter squash I plant any more are the C. moschata types, and I have several of them planted to grow on the garden fence in both the front and back gardens. I had to wait a while for the soil to get warm and stay consistently warm, so most of them have been up and growing only maybe 3 weeks, but are doing great.

    Sweet Potato Plants: Back in early to mid-May when it wouldn't rain here for any reason whatsoever, I bought sweet potato slips and planted them at the low end of the big garden because it holds moisture best, which is another way of saying the soil drains slowly. Facing dry conditions, that seemed like a good idea at the time. About a week later, it started raining and hasn't stopped for long since then. We have had about 20" of rainfall recorded at our mesonet station since that, and half of it has fallen since I planted the sweet potatoes about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Some of the sweet potatoes are fine, but some may have died. There's a chance they'll come back from the roots, but I''m not counting on it. We'll likely harvest some sweet potatoes but not as many as we would have if I had put them on higher ground.

    Fruit: We lost our strawberry bed in the summer of 2011 and I haven't put in a new one yet. That is on the list to do for this year, but clearly I haven't done it, so maybe it will slide to the to do list for fall 2013 or winter 2014. The fruit trees lost almost all their fruit to recurring late frosts. About a dozen plums somehow survived, but the birds have been getting them since I didn't put bird netting over the tree with its measly little dozen fruits. I only have a great tree fruit year one year out of three, and this is not that year.

    We planted six new blackberry plants this year in one of the new garden plots, so look forward to berries next year, though they may produce a few fruit from flowers on the plants right now. The native blackberries are in bloom and sometimes I pick them, and sometimes I leave those for the birds.

    Annual Fruit: I planted cape gooseberries, garden huckleberries and ground cherries so I could have some sort of fruit to make jelly or jam from this year. All are doing well, though still a little on the small side. They sat stalled forever until the cold nights stopped recurring and now are looking pretty happy.

    Flowers: While I always have mixed flowers into my garden beds, increasingly the deer and rabbits eat almost anything and everything that is not inside the actual fenced veggie garden, so the result is that I seem to have less and less flowers every year. This year, with the new garden out back having well-drained sandy soil and an 8' tall fence, I have tried to feed my flower hunger by filling it with oodles of flowers. At this point, it likely has more square footage devoted to flowers than to veggies or fruit. I've grown a lot of perennials from seed, and planted purchased perennials and annuals into that area as well. I finally feel like maybe I'll have enough flowers for the first time in a long time....and they are in an area where the deer and rabbits cannot eat them. Yay!

    Containers: Most of my big containers had lettuce, dill, cilantro, etc. along with cool-season flowers in them. The lettuce is out of all by one of the big tubs. It still has about a dozen plants we've been nursing along in morning sun and afternoon shade, trying to keep that lettuce going as long as possible. Every week I say I am going to pull it out, but then every week I relent and decide to let it go for one more week. We ate some today and even though the plants are beginning to send up a seed stalk and are about to bolt, the lettuce isn't bitter. I think this may be the last week we can harvest lettuce from it though unless rainfall keeps our temperatures down.

    The unplanted garden: The final piece of the garden puzzle isn't even planted yet, but I am trying to get it done. We finally cut down the elm trees that stood in the way of finishing the fence last week and got the fence up, but it has been raining pretty steadily since then and I haven't started planting yet. It seems to take all my time to weed, mulch, harvest, etc. the existing garden plots and still get mowing and weedeating done.

    I hope to have this area planted by the end of next week. I still have to haul a bunch of compost to the beds to finish them and then I can plant. Right now, it is too wet between the driveway and the garden to push a wheelbarrow, so I cannot do anything until that muddy spot dries....it is a little lake. Since this new area is being planted so late, it may end up with fall veggies in it, along with something simple and quick like sunflowers and zinnias, along with more C. moschata squash.

    Garden Experiments:

    My two main garden experiments this year have been milk thistle and roselle (hibiscus sabdariffa).

    The milk thistle was grown from seed and is planted as a border on all 4 sides of the corn bed in the new garden out back. While raccoons may be able to climb the fence and get into the garden, I am hoping the milk thistle will keep them out of the corn. The plants are big enough now and prickly enough that they are keeping the cats, as well as the gardener, out of the corn, so I think it might actually work to keep the coons out as well.

    The hibiscus sabdariffa is being grown for its red flower calyxes, which are what puts the 'zing' in red zinger tea. The plants are still small but are doing really well and I am looking forward to seeing how they perform here.

    I still have lots of flower seed to sow, especially vining annual flowers for various fences and trellises, and I have 20-25 large molasses feed tubs left to fill. I've only just started planting them, and fill about 6 a week with new soil-less mix and plant something in them. I am way behind on containers.

    That's the garden report from here.

    Dawn

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  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I don't have much to report on. I did have some very nice Blues Chinese cabbage, I gave the last 6 or 7 heads away a couple of days ago. My regular cabbage did not do as well. I have harvested about 5 or 6 heads that were nice, some in the garden I doubt will head up. The lettuce was nice, but gone now.

    My summer crop is doing fair. The Seminole pumpkin seems to be doing great. The Old Timey cornfield pumpkin is off to a slow start. The cucumbers and squash are doing ok, but off to a slow start. The Butternut squash Is doing well and needs to be thinned. I only had one Brazilian squash to come up and it wants to go home, it is not doing well at all.

    I stopped by borderokie's and picked up some more peppers, bringing my total pepper count up to 28. I have 19 tomatoes, two of which I think I will pull up. My total sweet potato plant count is now up to about 40.

    This is my third year to try growing bulbing onions. The onions and garlic seem to be on the small side, but I think they are as good or better than what I grew last year.

    I have taken a picture of the onions I pulled today. It has been very wet here and more rain on the way. Most of the onions that have fallen over are red ones, and a little on the small side, but they were smaller last year also.

    Larry

  • elkwc
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The other issue I'm seeing on my garlic that I have never experienced before is lodged scapes. The scapes are lodging just like a wheat heat that has suffered freeze damage does. So I'm attributing it to that. The last few years here have been a new experience every year. And I'm becoming tired of it. Jay

  • MiaOKC
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Some pics - look at my flickr page for the whole tour.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Flickr stream

  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Mia, I love your pictures, especially the one where the onions look like palm trees.

  • nated
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Someone,
    What is a tomato bloom boosting fertilizer? thanks,
    my garden in choctaw is also stalled out. everyone be careful everday, and cognizant of the weather.

  • MiaOKC
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nated, I'm guessing a fertilizer with a high Phosphorus level (the middle number) instead of a high Nitrogen level (the first number) since high N encourages foliage growth. I have one (non-organic) called super bloom, I think, and it's 12-55-something or other.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Jay, Lodged scapes is new to me as well. I did not cover up my garlic on those recurring cold nights at first, and after some of the foliage tips froze 2 or 3 times, I finally started covering them up, but they still haven't looked as good ever since then.

    I wish you could have a nice,normal year there for once.

    Larry, I've never had red onions get as large as whites and yellows here. The red varieties that get big tend to be long daylength types that don't bulb up here since our daylength is too short for them.

    Mia, The garden looks great.

    Nate, It is a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus level. I wouldn't use it often but it can be used to push tomatoes into blooming if they seem like they are dragging their feet, or if you are trying to get fruit set before the heat gets too bad. I probably only use it once every 3 or 4 years, as conditions warrant. I happen to think that in Mia's case, it could be the right solution for her stalled plants.

    Good point, Nate, about everyone being careful out there every day. The tornadoes that are forming this year have been wicked, and some have behaved in unusual ways...like the path the El Reno-Union City tornado took, which was not the more traditional path of traveling from southwest to northeast.

    It it horrifying to realize that central OK had two strong F-5 tornadoes roughly 20 miles apart less than 2 weeks apart in time. I keep wondering how much more everyone here can take. Tomorrow will be a good day to be extra alert.

    Super Bloom is my favorite bloom booster fertilizer, but I've also used the Bloom Booster by Miracle Grow and it works almost as well. I think its NPK is 12-55-6. I know I used it in 2009 or maybe 2010 to kick some tomatoes into bloom as a cold front was approaching in the midst of hot weather that had shut down fruit set on my tomato plants, and it worked really well. I'll link a photo of Super Bloom. The Miracle Grow bloom booster comes in a box just like the others. The last time I bought Super Bloom, it was in a round canister that I think was white with a yellow lid, but that's been several years ago and the packaging may have changed.

    Dawn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Super Bloom Example

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love reading everyones report on how their gardens are doing. I feel mine is running behind in some areas but I am ahead of most gardeners in my area. It all comes out in the wash right?
    Kim

  • p_mac
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Heck yah, Kim! A lot of us are there with ya.

    Mia - I'm just over the moon HAPPY for the progress you've had...Keep working on the Hubby. My onions have not faired so well. I planted about 1200...and between the freezes..and then the storms...I've got maybe 50 left. Ugh...Oklahoma weather presents a challenge...and you get what you get.

    But I've got beans! And okra! And tomatoes & peppers that survived! And squash!!! So it's all good, right?

    Paula

  • wbonesteel
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Since the day we began work on our front garden, I've been sharing semi-regular 'Adventures in Gardening' with the 'Friends' on my email list. Several of them are gardeners, ranging from formal gardens in desert suburbs to forty acres w/ a green house in Michigan. (Yeah, except for all that snow, I'm kinda jealous of J & L...) One old friend of mine (thirty-odd years, already...) had a business installing landscapes of all types and kinds, plus his own garden.

    Anyway, it's a once or twice a month ongoing progress report on the garden and what's happening ...and what we may or may not have planned, next.

    Would you folks be interested in seeing me post that sort of thing, now and then?

  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I enjoy all types of gardening post. I am retired and have to stay pretty close to the house to aid aging parents. This computer is my greatest contact with the real world.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love experimenting. Last fall Carol and I discussed growing bulbing onions from seed. I did not do so well on mine. I planted seeds in late Jan., and then planted into the garden at different dates to see if I could get them to bulb up in one season. I did get most of to bulb up a little but I have more work to do if I am able to go from seed to good bulb in one season in this area.

    The picture I will show will be approx. 100 of 4 different types, at least 2, and I think all 4 are Spanish onions. The ones in front were held in at the dormant stage longer and did not grow as large. The second row was permitted to grow under the light for a few weeks. I think the second row is long day onions. This is in the north garden, which has been wet all year ( and raining again now).

    You will also 6 cabbage heads, 3 of which may make. There are 7 more in the south garden, they may not head up either. You will also see 2 or 3 sprouting broccoli plants. These are my favorite, they have a sweeter taste.
    I have 10 more broccoli plants still producing, but they are Packman and I don't like the taste as well (wife likes them better). You will also see Roma bush beans and baby Kale in the background, the bugs and rabbits are very fond of them.

    Larry

  • wbonesteel
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    That looks really good, there, Slowpoke. You done good!

  • bettycbowen
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Larry that looks great to me.

    I'm reasonably happy with how things are going. My tomatoes look very healthy and I have forming fruit and flowers. I never have giant tall plants, so don't expect that.

    I direct planted three kinds of Armenian melons and they are about 3". The okra & cantaloupe are up.

    Calima bush beans from baker creek are doing well and I have a few in pots to put in where the red onions were, but failed.

    Potatoes are a little bug eaten but ok, no flowers though.

    Asparagus did well, although there is one area that didn't produce at all, straight diagonally across the bed so I suspect gopher?

    Hmm what else. Peppers and eggplant, not real big but ok and putting on fruit & flowers. I think they will take off when it warms up. I planted some tarragon under the eggplant because I read it helps. I wanted more than one variety, but ended up with just four Ichiban.

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Mia and Larry your garden pics are beautiful.
    I will post some later that I took this morning. In the shade of the morning everything looks so pretty. It is my favorite time.
    kim

  • MiaOKC
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love reading about how other people's gardens are doing, and seeing photos always helps! When I was uploading pictures into my flickr account yesterday, I browsed back to the ones on there from when we first moved in (Dec 11) and could not believe how much progress there had been! When you're in the trenches, day in and day out, chipping away at a huge challenge, it doesn't seem like you are making much of an impact. That's why I love photos to remind me - we're slowly but surely making headway.

    wbonesteel - would be great for you to post your progress here. Periodically a thread like this crops up, maybe every 3 or 6 months or so, and it's nice to see what everyone has going.

    Nated - I have the SuperBloom in the canister that dawn describes (she's probably the reason I bought it, I can't remember!) and I plan to put some on the tomatoes tomorrow night, once our rain should be stopped for a while, so it doesn't immediately wash out.

    Paula and Betty (did you mention this on another thread? I've got it in my head your onions disappeared but now am thinking I may be senile) - if your onions "disappeared" they might be laying in wait. We had a lot disappear last year, especially the red ones (my favorite!), and I planted beans and such after I'd harvested the bulbed onions, and the invisible onions were the ones that sprang back up over the winter and created my "2nd year onions" that I'm letting flower in my photos above. They were sporadically placed throughout the spot I'd grown all the onions, and I transplanted them into a single confined area in the early spring. They attract all kinds of butterflies and bees and such with their flowers, so I'm gonna let them do their thing there. They won't bulb, but I bet you could eat them as green onions if you wanted to.

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My beets and onions are running way behind but a friend is bringing me 50 # of each so I will just eat my onions as they are.

  • wbonesteel
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    luvncannin, your onions look like most of ours. We did pull a couple today that were as big as my fist, though. Might not be too late to get some good ones out of what we've planted.

    When they started to bolt, I just bent the tops down. Might make 'em last a bit longer and get a little bigger. Check 'em evey couple days and make sure they stay bent...

    We planted about a hundred and fifty yellow and white onions this spring. I'd hate to find out that I wasted the time and space.

  • osgw380
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thought I might share regarding the pickled radishes. I tried it for the first time this year and used my dill pickle recipe but just left out the dill. Like you they come all on at once and I can only eat so many. I have really liked them pickled. It adds a tart vinegar flavor and I have been putting them on salads and sadwiches.

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I probably wont pull them until they are done but with all my out of town guests next week they may decide they need a snack. I did not get as many planted this year which is my FIL to be is loading me up. When I get back from the honeymoon I will be chopping freezing and canning... And I am ready
    kim

  • susanlynne48
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Kim, your "garden helper" is adorable!!

    Mia, your garden is so well done and so pretty! As my 3-year old GD would say - good job!

    My garden has been very, very slow to develop this year. The extremely late spring, oscillating temps, onslaught of torrential rain and persistent cool, cloudy days, damaging hail and winds have just been so difficult for things to even begin to grow. The tomatoes are slow, but rightly so - they were rootbound (spindly, nutrient starved, etc.) by the time I got the few I've planted into pots of last year's potting soil, and they have since had the weather issues to deal with over the last two weeks since planted out. So, they are not happy campers and may not be able to get beyond these obstacles. The jury is still out,and that's assuming at least the weather will cooperate. I did see buds on them this morning, lots on Hawaiian Currant. I think I will start some seeds for fall plants as I can replace them if necessary.

    I finally, finally planted the pretzel beans - a cowpea, actually, so the eventual heat won't bother them.

    I am on my 2nd round of Black Swallowtails, Dawn, and have Monarch babies and a Variegated Frit female laying eggs on the minimally available passion vine sprouts. The PV is under attack by a specific flea beetle that only targets PV.

    I have trimmed back many of the plants damaged by hail, but some I am waiting until I see new growth before doing that, like the butterfly bushes, perennial sunflowers, hibiscus (what hasn't succumbed to too much water by complete stem loss). I have lost all but one stem on my beautiful Salvia darcyi and do not know if it will pull out of this yet or not - it is kind of finicky. I have lost a lot of huge stems on various plants I guess due to hail, winds that caused to simply snap at the base or something.

    We shall see. Meanwhile I have planted tropical milkweed seeds, cosmos rubenza (deep scarlet color), zinnias, and some other annuals.

    Dawn, I got a few Laura Bush petunias seeds, but a note indicates they need a short stratification period. Did you find that to be the case?

    I am happy to see the progress of everyone's garden's!

    Susan

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Susan,

    I have not found that to be the case with purchased Laura Bush seeds, but then it is possible that they are kept in cold storage by the grower and, if that is the case, they are cold-stratified before you receive them. If yours were from somebody who had saved seed and kept it in dry storage, then they might need stratification. Did they mention which sort of stratification? I kind of assume they mean the fluctuating temperatures that self-sown seeds would endure over the fall/winter? The first year that I grew them from seed in flats under lights, it took them about 30 days to sprout, but they were indoors at pretty even temperatures that didn't fluctuate too much. I haven't had to raise them from seed since then, other than sowing the formula mix from Wildseed that gives you various shades of violet, pink and white. It was not available the first year I bought and sowed seed of the regular violet-colored Laura Bush and the pink Laura Bush petunias. I did, however, get reseeders the second year from the pink Laura Bush which gave me plants like the formula mix with various shades of pink, including some with streaked color.

    Ever since I planted the Laura Bush petunias, they have self-sowed abundantly even in mid-summer, which makes me wonder what sort of stratification they need. I put one plant in a molasses tub planter all by itself in May or June in one of the first years I grew the LB petunias, and within 2 or 3 months, multiple babies had sprouted and filled in the tub very nicely. I know these self-sowed from that year's plant because the feed tub where I grew them that year that I observed the new seedlings had brand-new soil-less mix so there was no chance those were seedlings from a previous year's plant. I wonder if that summer had lots of cool nights and hot days which, combined with fluctuating moisture levels, gave them enough stratification even in the middle of the growing season?

    Our LB petunias self-sow to the point of being invasive, but I love them nevertheless. I have great appreciation for any plants that self-sow and grow in our conditions, because there are lots of pickier plants that have to be babied in order to thrive here and I don't have time for finicky plants that need lots of attention.

    My five big reseeders here are chamomile, Laura Bush petunias, verbena bonariensis, Texas hummingbird sage and datura, I would have a garden full of nothing but those flowers if I didn't pull up a gazillion seedlings every spring.

    I know it has been a rough year for many in central OK with first the recurring cold nights until May, and then the repeated torrential rain, strong winds, hail, flash flooding and tornadoes. I hope you get less rain in June and more sunshine and that your plants can make good growth and overcome all the challenges they've faced.

    We have a huge population of swallowtails this week. They have been around in moderate numbers for weeks now, but this week they all discovered the dill, though I haven't found any feeding on the fennel or parsley yet. Since it has rained so much lately, I often see them puddling. We have more monarchs than I have seen at one time (except during migration) in years and years, and some of them are faded. It is a good year in the fields for green milkweed, and the butterfly weed in the garden is in bloom so they have a lot to be happy about, including 6 or 8 new lantana plants in the new garden out back. I have been lantana-starved for so long since our clay soil doesn't drain well enough for them, but with the new garden out back with sandy soil, I finally can have them again and have a reasonable chance to expect they will not only survive but thrive.

    That is terrible about the flea beetle that targets only PV. I hope yours are able to re-grow and overcome all the damage. I didn't see flea beetles here until May, likely because of all the recurring freezing nights, so most of my plants were large enough to overcome the damage they did.

    It is looking like it is going to be a superb butterfly year here. I turned a large portion of the new garden into a butterfly and hummingbird garden and it is full of both of them every day, as well as lots of bees, flies and (unfortunately) mosquitoes. It goes without saying that the skeeters are likely to be horrendous all summer long.

    So,I proofread this and then, just before hitting the 'submit' button to post it, I went to the website of Wildseed Farms to see if it mentions stratification and it doesn't. Since it gives you the standard info on how long it takes them to germinate, the expected germination 'success' rate, etc., I thought I'd link it below for you. Based on the info in the link, I don't know if stratification is strictly necessary. Since the person who sent you the seeds did note they need stratification, I tend to believe that is what they have observed in their climate.

    Dawn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Laura Bush Petunia Info

  • bettycbowen
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    luvincannin, my onions look about like yours, but not as good. That is quite the adorable little helper!

    Mia, yes I was complaining about onions on another thread, I pulled what I could find today, they had fallen over & with all th torrential rain had gotten buried in mud. They are about golf ball size, I laid them out to cure and will plant more green beans there, I have several waiting to go in. My local greenhouse guy thinks my soil needs to be looser.

    And from several days ago, yes Dawn I have funny pottery beads I make once in awhile to stack over my T-posts. I will probably add to the collection this summer.

    I fed with bloom booster today, just because my pink brandy wine has zero fruit or blooms. I'll go back to Tomato Tone later.

    Today I killed about eight Colorado potato beetles, and destroyed six egg clusters. All the egg clusters but one were on my eggplants, only one on the potatoes. They are not side by side & no nightshades were planted there last year. Gross.

  • susanlynne48
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Dawn, thank you so much for the info on the LB petunias. I will just pot up in the seedling mix and see what happens.

    The flea beetlesl I have strictly eat passion vine. They are very small orange bugs that jump away quickly before I can grab them. Typical of flea beetles in general. I am going to take a wait and see approach with them to see if the PV outgrows them, or if they are a seasonal pest that will disappear as the weather changes, as some do.

    I am tickled pink you've put in a butterfly garden! I'm sure it will bring you a lot of joy.

    Susan

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thank you all.
    My helper is spending the week here and granny just about has him used to the feel of dirt and leaves on his feet.
    I am going to be keeping him next fall when school starts so I am getting him ready. I like to spend as much time as I can outside and I hope he will be right by me.
    I lost my cabbage to flea beetles so I left it there so they would leave my other stuff alone. It seems to have worked so far. I will pull it out and bag it in a day or two. And I haven't seen anything else, yet.
    kim

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Betty, Thanks for the reply. The pottery beads look so cool!

    One way to test your soil is to pick up a handful of it in your hand. Use your hand to squeeze that handful of soil into a ball, and then release your hand. If the soil remains in a compressed fist-sized ball in your hand, it likely needs some organic matter added to it to loosen it up. If it falls apart in your hand, then I think it is loose enough. This test works most of the time, but if your soil is incredibly saturated from heavy rainfall in the last few days, you might want to let it dry out for a few days before you try the squeeze test.

    I hate CPBs. I cannot even describe how icky I think the larvae, in particular, are. I had hand-picked a few in mid-May and didn't think it was going to be a bad CPB year. Then, we had many rainy days in a row and I barely stepped foot into the front garden for about a week. I just stayed busy in the back garden which drains much better with its sandy soil. Then, when I went back to the front garden, there were what looked like dozens of CPBs, mostly in various larval stages.

    I put on a pair of disposable nitrile, medical-type gloves, got a bowl of soapy water and went to work. I thought it would be fun to count them as I went along so I could send Tim a text message at work saying something like "I murdered 48 CPBs today". So, how did that work out? Would you believe 229 of them? Granted, I have a huge number of potato plants, but that is a ridiculous number of them. Of that 229, maybe 5 were mature adults. I guess on all those rainy days when I stayed out of the garden, they were hatching and feeding. The next day I found maybe a dozen more, and then the next day about 4 or 5 more. Now I haven't seen any in that garden on any plant or any time in about a week, so I think I got them all.

    This week's challenge is a vole who has moved into the garden near the potato plants. It is always something.

    Susan, You're welcome. I hope the seeds sprout and that the plants grow well for you.

    You know, the first garden I planted here after we moved here was a butterfly garden outside my kitchen window. While I was able to enjoy it for many years, now that we have been here for 15 years, the nearby trees have mostly shaded it out, and I have contented myself with mixing plants for butterflies into the big fenced garden. I've always had planting a new dedicated butterfly garden on my to do list though. Lantana is one of my all-time favorite plants, but I couldn't keep it alive here even in well-amended clay. It might live for a couple of years, but then a rainy winter would kill it. So, having the new sandy soil garden gives me the chance to grow all those plants that demand well-drained soil. It is sort of like being new at gardening....because I get to grow so many things that just didn't grow well in the clay here. Some of the plants I am growing now have repeatedly failed here in clay, but I feel pretty confident that they will be fine in the sandy soil.

    I raised a lot of Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' from seed this year and put most of the plants in the new garden, though I did put maybe 8 or 10 of them in the NW corner of the old garden, which is the sandy end where drainage is better. We'll see how they do. I also planted PowWow Wild Berry and PowWow White in the back garden and Veronica 'First Love' which is just so gorgeous.

    I love growing veggies, but I have got to have flowers too, and I didn't plant many flowers in the last two drought summers because that just would have been that much more stuff to water, so I feel starved for flowers. Don't get me wrong. We still had lots of flowers, but this year we have FLOWERS! lol With the expectation that his year would be a rainier year,I have gone totally berserk and am growing flowers everywhere. I have no intention of stopping either. Once I have succession sowed some southern peas and bush beans to fill in the area where broccoli and cabbage are now being harvested, then with the rest of the big garden this summer I am just going to succession sow flowers as crops finish up and I remove the plants after harvest, at least until it is time to plant for fall. I guess I'll have to save at least one big raised bed for fall greens, but probably will put all the fall tomatoes in big containers so I can move them into the greenhouse when freezing temperatures threaten. That will leave lots of space for flowers. I have about a gazillion flower seeds so the butterflies should be very happy here all summer. I've planted 6 or 8 types of zinnias already (maybe more, I haven't kept track) and have about a dozen more varieties to plant whenever space becomes available. We usually have plenty of native plants in our meadow and woodland for the cats to feed upon, so all I really have to focus on at this point is nectar plants....except I always grow the dill, fennel and parsley for the swallowtails. Some years I can smell wild dill in the air, but even when I look and look and look for it, I can't find it, so it must be growing in the pastures adjacent to our place.

    After we finished fencing the new garden area in latest April or earliest May, I quickly planted the veggies I wanted in there...sweet corn, cucumbers, sweet peppers, winter squash, and later on watermelons and a dozen or two leftover tomato plants. I put almost all of that in a certain part of the garden, but mixed in lots of butterfly plants and hummingbird plants. When volunteer okra plants popped up in the asparagus bed (last year's okra was one row over from the asparagus), I dug up the okra volunteers and moved them to the back garden. Once that big new area was mostly full of veggies, I looked at the area that was left and asked myself "green beans or purple hull pink eye peas?" and the answer from my brain was "Lantana! Fennel! Dill! Desert Willow! Sunflowers! ! Zinnias! Parsley! Echinacea! Catmint! Salvia!"....etc, etc., etc. So, clearly my brain was yelling at me and demanding a garden for the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and that is what I have focused on for the last couple of weeks. It won't be just outside my kitchen window where the shade of the oak trees now rules, but the flying critters will enjoy it no matter where it is, and I will enjoy seeing them when I am out there working.

    Unfortunately, the area we plowed up for the new garden used to have lots of wildflowers and those are gone now, but when a 'weed' pops up that looks like a wildflower. I dig it up while it is still tiny and move it to the area just outside the garden fence, and I planted a wildflower seed mix in the adjacent meadow to help make up for taking out a large section that once was filled with wildflowers. I also stopped breaking up ground when I reached the area where we have goldenrod every fall. I didn't want to plow under that land because we don't have a lot of goldenrod and I didn't want to lose it. This is the best butterfly year here since at least 2010, so I am really enjoying having so many of the butterflies back again.

    I don't grow PV here, though I keep meaning to get around to planting one and didn't know there was a flea beetle that eats only those plants. When I grew it in Fort Worth for the butterflies, I guess we were lucky because we never had anything eat it except the gulf frits. When my brother planted a PV and then began to complain about the caterpillars eating it, I worked hard to convince him to leave them alone and let them eat and then the plant would recover after they were done. He was skeptical, but he soon saw that the plants could regrow and recover just fine even after the cats ate them down to the ground.
    . Kim, Gardening with kids is just oodles of fun. Nothing will make you slow down and enjoy every rock, every dandelion and every lady bug like a toddler who is fascinated with each and every one of them. I love it when children visit the garden. I don't think we've ever had a child of any age come here and not want to immediately go out to the garden. It is the same thing with the chickens and the chicken coops. Kids are drawn to them. Tim's best friend had a small grandson in the early 2000s who wouldn't eat eggs. After he started coming here and collecting the eggs himself when he was 3 or 4 years old, he started eating eggs but only "his" eggs from our chickens and guineas. I think gardening also gets kids to try veggies from "their" garden that they otherwise wouldn't eat. I think that gardening with kids is about ten times as much fun as gardening without kids.

    Dawn

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Oops, double post. I deleted it so y'all wouldn't have to read it twice.

    This post was edited by okiedawn on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 12:28

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