Wow! We still haven't had a killing frost.

maineman(z5a ME)October 23, 2007

Hi all,

I have lived in Maine for only a few years now, so I haven't had a lot of experience with our Maine weather. But my gardening activities are still continuing, because we still haven't had a killing frost here in this part of the Manchester area. I'm not sure what the statistics are, but I have the impression that we must be about 3 weeks beyond the date when we could have expected a killing frost. How are you guys doing, frost-wise?

MM

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Cindy_T(z4-5 ME)

No frost here in Turner yet. We've been in the 30's a few nights, but we still have healthy looking pepper plants in the garden. On Monday, we had a couple of perennial mums and some eupatorium going strong and six clematis putting out the occasional bloom. And the annuals are gloroius!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:45AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

No hard frost here, although we did get a couple of very light frosts. Tomatoes and eggplant still living, annuals still blooming.

I do appreciate the first frost being put off, it seems to come later and later each year. But the problem is that things just aren't growing at all due to decreased daylight and generally cold weather.

MM, did you get my email?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 6:34AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

veilchen,

"...did you get my email?"

Nothing since last April. Incidentally, I started a thread about zinnia breeding over in the Annuals forum, titled It can be fun to breed your own zinnias.

MM

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 1:17AM
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robin_maine

I had the first and killing frost on September 6. What wasn't killed them was wiped out a few days later with the second killing frost. I'm near Topsfield.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 8:52AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Hi all,

We finally had our first killing frost last night. The online Hour-by-Hour forecast for Manchester, Maine predicted 31 degrees for 6 am and 7 am this morning, so yesterday evening I took a few "last minute" zinnia cuttings from my zinnia patch. I checked today to see if any potential cutting material had survived in the garden, and none had.

So my outdoor zinnia breeding project is officially over for this year. The question now is whether any of the cuttings from my chosen "breeder" specimens will survive for further participation in my zinnia breeding activities. If this cuttings thing works, it will be a potential big help indoors in producing more seed from unusual zinnia specimens. This is the first time I have seriously tried to grow zinnias from cuttings.

MM

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 10:37PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Good luck with the zinnias, mm! Do you have a light setup? The email I sent you, via your Gardenweb home page, was re: the Red Start pepper seeds. Just wanted to let you know they performed typically like other bell peppers for me, meaning low yield. Just 1-2 peppers per bush. That's it, I have now determined that I can't grow bell peppers in my garden, only chiles and Italian peppers. But thanks for sharing the seeds.

Our first frost yesterday too.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 6:23AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Veilchen,

I got an email from you on the 5th of April acknowledging receipt of the Redstart pepper seeds, but nothing after that. With respect to the peppers, it must be something in your soil, or not in your soil. Our garden soil is fairly sandy and well-drained. Do your peppers get full sun?

We had a bountiful crop of peppers from only three plants. Peppers definitely can do well here in Maine. Of course, the killing frost ended their productive season. But the day before the frost, we harvested all the good ones and it amounted to nearly half a bushel of peppers that had accumulated after the previous picking. The plants were loaded. We have been picking and eating peppers all summer. Lots of stirfrys. Some in salads and some in slow cooker dishes. A few found their way onto pizza toppings.

I'm optimistic about the zinnia cuttings. I do have a 3-shelf fluorescent light setup in the little computer room where I am now, and it can accommodate as many as 12 standard 11" x 22" trays. With its heavy duty 5-inch casters, it is 75 inches high. I have two additional chrome wire shelving units in our breezeway that I can press into service as the plants grow larger.

Each chrome wire shelf is 2 feet by 4 feet. I have four shoplights over each shelf and the fixtures on the top shelf are overdriven for the light equivalent of 12 fluorescent tubes for just that one shelf. Overdriving increases the light output by at least 50%. Thanks to them, this room is very well lit.

I took 8 trays of cuttings, which should be enough to start with. It appears that those that I took two weeks ago are now rooting.

I'm still keeping them under humidity domes until they develop better root systems. I lost a few to bacterial rot, but I am now combating that successfully with Physan 20. I'll be applying a few lessons learned next year. One lesson is: when you first take the cutting, rinse it in diluted Physan solution to disinfect it immediately.

MM

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 2:33PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Post some pics of the zinnias if you get a chance. I remember seeing a some photos you posted last summer and the colors were gorgeous.

Maybe the gardenweb mail link isn't working. The Red Start peppers did get a late start, so that could explain it. But they did perform the same as every "bell" pepper I've tried to grow before--low yield. My garden is in very full sun and I grow in raised beds. I grow habaneros, jalopenos, serranos, poblanos, Anaheims, corno di toro (Italian pepper), aji dulce every year with great success. The corno di toro grows huge bull's horn-shaped peppers, many of which turn red. I have no idea why the bell peppers don't perform in my garden.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 6:58AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Veilchen,

"Post some pics of the zinnias if you get a chance."

I posted several pictures over in the It can be fun to breed your own zinnias message thread. I also posted home-bred hybrid zinnia pictures in the Dave's Garden Annuals forum, if you happen to be a member there.

"I have no idea why the bell peppers don't perform in my garden."

Me either. That's quite a mystery, especially so since other kinds of peppers do well in your garden.

MM

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 12:57PM
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