This year I am going to experiment with.........

nandina(8b)February 12, 2002

I know that many of you are planning to experiment with one or more garden related ideas during this year's growing season. It makes sense for everyone to quickly outline his intended experiment(s) because others may also want to trial them. It will give us a chance to compare notes and results. So, I will start off the list with....

This year I am going to:

a) toss corn meal under my roses once a month, beginning in early spring, to see if it really does prevent black spot in my hot, humid climate.

b) continue my experiments pertaining to discouraging nematodes using granulated sugar.

Okay, your turn.

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citrusman99(8 SC)

Im going to plant the first citrus grove in my area. Ive got a plan to plant the trees in rows, install T shaped post down the rows, place propane gas lines down each row with pilot light burners. Cover the entire grove with spun bonded fabric covers every time it is supposed to go below the low 20's, then light the heaters. I plan to use satsuma mandarin trees which I have been growing for some 20 years in protected areas near buildings... Now Im going for the wide open spaces. I already have the only citrus nursery in SC where I grow, graft and propogate some 40 species of citrus... The grove is my next move!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 10:19PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Using corn gluten to discourage weeds before wildflower seeding a large meadow-like area in a forest clearing. Weeds seem to be the worst ememy when trying to start a wildflower planting in a formerly grassy, weedy area. As an organic gardener, I am no fan of Round-up, so hope this experiment works and I can use it in the future as well (I have a gardening business).

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 10:42PM
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Hi Nandina, good idea! What comes to mind first is my going to the local seafood market and burying fish waste under selected rows of corn to compare with my typical fertilizing method as a control.

Also, planting Artichokes to see if I can coax them to be productive in my Va zone. Will take some babying but I'm game to try. Penny & Rustynail are trying this too in our mid-Atlantic zone.

Trying "Winter Sowing" of 3 German Striped tomato plants to see how well it works too.
I'm certain other things will come to mind later.
Happy Experimenting Everyone! vgkg

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 12:50PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I am going to try mulching my cabbages with cut chives to hopefully keep away the cabbage worm. I have an abundance of chives and was actually thinking about how I've got to dig some out and compost them this spring when I read this reader tip in an old issue of Organic Gardening mag.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2002 at 12:58PM
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I trying different container experiments.
Can you grow a 25 lb pumpkin in a container?
How small can a hanging basket be and still produce cherry tomatos?

and I'm going to try some chive clippings around my tomatoes thanks to Veilchen cause I have lots and it might help. I'll not chive some others and see what the difference looks like.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2002 at 9:34PM
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seraphima(z4 AK)

I'm trying out a couple of those EarthBox planters. The shipping costs to AK were something fierce, but I have heard interesting reports on them. Have seen some homemade versions on the web; seemed like a lot of work to make my own, and right now I am nursing a broken right arm, so am slow on making stuff. Oh, yes, and I'm going to cut the old wooden banya tub in half ( top and bottom)to make two planters and try them with a dome shape hoop house arrangement for season extension. This is the application that got me interested in container gardens:

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting urban homestead

    Bookmark   April 3, 2002 at 7:04PM
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I am experimenting with cans of cheap sardines, packages of dried seaweed, human urine (nitrogen sourse), kudzu weeds, and catfish pond feed (menhedan fish meal, soybean meal, and alfalfa meal source). I use these products to make unique powerful compost teas and foliage sprays. They also make good compost nitrogen activators.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 4:22PM
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hendy(USDA zone)

This year,I graft again ..... different kinds of trees..Magnolia.. Ginkgo(sexe).. Malus.. Pyrus.. Crateagus.. Syringa..(Dapple dawn, Sensation).. Quercus robur(Castanea ref..L'art de greffer p.266...1907..).. Phellodendron.. Sorbus(aria..thuriengiaca..aucuparia) Cornus.. Acer.. Aesculus.. Acanthopanax..Ribes..why..
for color..leaf..flower..etc..with Parafilm..

    Bookmark   February 14, 2003 at 8:13AM
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With my new ground I'm planting a few tomato plants without any amendments to see if it's true that tomatoes perform best without added fertilizers. I have my doubts so I'm only planting 3 plants in this manner while the rest get a supplimental boost at planting time and later on during the season. vgkg

    Bookmark   February 14, 2003 at 8:25AM
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This passed september i experimented with starting artichoke seeds in bathroom cups (large dixie).I cut around the bottom for drainage and filled them with ready made garden soil.I put 2 seeds in each cup,and made up 6 cups. Only 3 survived.When they got to about 3 " high I transplanted them into a large pot about 15 gal.the type you would get if you bought a tree from a nursery.I kept the plants well watered.There is a tree in my yard that gives filtered sunlight in the afternoon,but they are in full sun inthe morning.This morning i picked 3 artichokes one of which is 4" across.There are more shoots comming up on the plants.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 12:51AM
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Nandina, more than a year has passed, so tell us how your roses/cornmeal and nematodes/sugar experiments went. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 1:29PM
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Well, the sugar experiment was not really an experiment on my part as I have known the results for many years. I learned the trick of using granulated sugar to discourage nematodes/root nematodes from an old-time grower many years ago. Certain parts of the country, especially the warmer climates, can suffer severe plant damage caused by nematodes. This is why I plant every type of annual/vegetable and perennial with a handful of sugar mixed into the planting hole. Then, add more scratched around the plants about every six weeks during the warm months. I now have a number of people who have never been able to grow the southern lawn grasses, due to ring nematodes, spreading granulated sugar over the entire lawn every eight weeks using a drop spreader set on its lowest setting. They are buying the 40# bags of sugar at discount stores such as Sam's. No, this treatment does not attract unwanted critters. When trying to identify possible nematode problems it is always wise to pull an ailing plant with its roots and take it to your county extension office for identification of the problem. Two of the many plants that root nematodes attack are tomatoes and Clematis.

You ask about my cornmeal experiments. As you know, I have just started a thread on this Forum titled 'Update #2 - Re: Using cornmeal as a plant fungicide'. On that thread I am hopeful that gardeners will report their cornmeal trials this year. I have more questions than answers re cornmeal as a fungicide. Is it more effective in the warmer climates than in the colder ones? Does cornmeal work if a gardener is using chemicals to treat insect damage?

To date I feel very comfortable suggesting cornmeal as a fungicide on all lawn fungus problems such as red thread, brown patch and the like. I have seen enough experiments that convince me it does work. Some people are suggesting cornmeal will also discourage mushroom growth and fairy rings in lawns. I do not know at this point if that is true. But, I would encourage those dealing with such problems to sprinkle cornmeal on fairy ring areas several times during the summer and report their results.

Yes, I believe that cornmeal is going to be a useful plant fungicide for the organic gardener. We just have to keep sprinkling it on the ground around our various fungus prone plants such as tomatoes, roses, hostas, etc. once a month and report observations to this Forum. Those reports are very important to our understanding of the situation.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 5:28PM
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Thank you, Nandina, but I have two more quesions.

First, for the sugar treatments, do you also add a nitrogen source to the lawn in order to prevent the temporary nitrogen famine that can occur when a high-carbon material like sugar is added. As you must know, research scientists have used the application of sugar to control the nitrogen availabilty and, hence, the growth rate of ornamental grasses.

Second, I'm trying hard to understand how using cornmeal on the soil as a black spot preventative for roses has any basis in reality. Too much research shows that black spot is resident in lesions on the canes, not in the soil or on soil detritus. By what mechanism do you think cornmeal, when sprinkled on the soil, can have any effect on black spot spores up on the canes?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 3:13PM
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Re: your question on using sugar and its propensity to reduce nitrogen uptake by plants. As long as a gardener is using fertilizers, either organic composts or commercial types, we have encountered no problems to date. It would only be necessary to treat a whole lawn with sugar if the nematode problem was extreme. But, using spot treatments of sugar on lawns for ring nematodes or adding a handful to a planting hole does not seem to cause a significant reduction in nitrogen if the soil is well enriched.

You are asking the same question about cornmeal treatments for blackspot that I am asking. For every person that posts that it does not work, another posts that it does. Last summer I treated all my roses with cornmeal sprinkled on the ground around them once a month. The roses that normally have blackspot did not have any. Those roses that I purchased as being very blackspot resistant, and have been over the years, were hit with heavy blackspot for the first time! I plan to not treat these resistant roses this year to see what happens. So far they are very healthy. This year I have planted and cornmealed two named roses that the gang over on the Rose Forum say have terrible black spot problems. To date both have very healthy foliage. Time will tell. So, I have as many questions as you do. Hopefully, trial and error will give us some answers. I have noticed that ants moving up and down plants leave traces of cornmeal on the leaves. Maybe this has something to do with the whole process. And why does cornmeal work well for one rose gardener and not another? Interesting........

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 12:07PM
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hopefully Silicon
probably from Dyna-grow

Here is a link that might be useful: Silicon and Abiotic Stress

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 12:17PM
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Nandina, does your cornmeal treatment seem to grow a fungus of its own? Mine does, and I wonder if it is something in that fungus that is counter active to the blackspot. I don't know how it works or why it works, or if my roses are just all blackspot free, even though I grow roses that are supposed to be blackspot prone in our hot and humid south, but I don't plan to discontinue the use of it to find out.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2003 at 8:54PM
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This year I am going to experiment with using hydroponics to grow a salad garden.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2003 at 5:29AM
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My experiment this year is growing some of my tomatoes in alfalfa hay and soil mix buried below ground level. I only have one plant, so far, that I have planted this way, and so far, it seems to be the healthiest plant in the tomato beds. I have use alfalfa hay for the past couple of years as mulch with good reuslts. It may be a total failure, but with all the tomato seedlings I have, I can stand to lose a few.
Mrs H

    Bookmark   April 21, 2003 at 10:43AM
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I am going to experiment, by saving all the seeds
that gets washed away or thrown away, this year
i am going to actually collect them before this
happens, I know that this is old to some here,
but for me it will be something new. And get in
on the seed exchange, I cant wait.
Cheers Lori

    Bookmark   June 20, 2003 at 6:04PM
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