How does your garden grow? survive!

luvncanninMay 4, 2013

I am thrilled to have made it through the last frost with no frost damage.
I can not say the same for the wind/tarp damage.
I lost 3 tomato plants, sheared off at the ground by my blowing tarp. And I lost my tomato markers. So except for 1 plant, my babied Cherokee purple I have no ides what is what. :]
my 7 pepper plants have some shredded leaves from the wind. I am going to give them a few days to recover and snip off the worst leaves. These plants are a foot tall and have 12 or so leaves.
My biggest excitement is my purple potatoes. They are really growing like crazy and I hope to get a significant crop.
Also growing well are nasturtiums, onions, beets, carrots, peas and basil.
Ready to get the rest planted this weekend.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


In the kind of wind we've had these last few days while plants were covered, I'm not surprised there is some wind damage. Wind is the main reason I have hoops over most of my beds, though certainly not all of them. (I think next spring I will put hoops over every bed when I plant.) Suspending the protective fabric over the hoops helps protect the plants, although there's never a guarantee there won't be damage anyhow because sometimes stuff just happens.

I haven't lost any plants and, in fact, most of the plants have been growing really fast under the row cover since it gives them quite a bit of protection from the wind. I kind of hate to uncover them. In fact, since we went 6 degrees lower than forecast last night (forecast 39, actual 33) and our forecast for tonight was lowered from 44 to 41, I likely will leave my plants covered up one more day. The frost here is heavy and thick and widespread and tomorrow morning could be just as bad.

Hopefully when your tomato plants start to set fruit, you'll be able to tell from the size, shape and color of the ripe fruit which ones are each variety.

I don't even have pepper plants in the ground yet, but had planned to get them in the ground on Sunday. Now it seems more likely I won't do it until Monday because our Sunday forecast has been lowered to 44 and I don't like for the peppers to be exposed to temperatures that low.

I have 9 potato varieties planted, including those that produce flesh that is white, yellow, red, purple and blue. They all do really well in a year when it doesn't get too hot too early (making this a perfect spring for them), but the blues and purples always produce huge yields. There must be something about our climate or soil the blues and purples especially like. Actually, none of the varieties really produce poorly but I just always seem to get really high yields from the blues and purples. They also make the most beautiful mashed potatoes, though you will find yourself explaining to your family that you did not add food coloring to the mashed potatoes to make them pretty.

Growing well in our veggie garden? Sugar snap peas, onion, garlic, lettuce, Swiss chard, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and mustard (until they bolted this week after we hit the 90s), sweet corn, asparagus (though it has frozen several times), cilantro, dill, chamomile, rosemary, catnip, milk thistle, a whole lot of flowers (Laura Bush petunias, violas, sweet alyssum, salvia, marigolds, regular verbena, tall verbena, larkspur, poppies and nasturtiums. I didn't even mention how well the mint is doing, but then mint almost always does well no matter the weather so having it doing well is hardly an achievement of any kind.

I hope to get pretty much everything else in the ground next week unless something horrible pops up in the forecast. However, they have lowered our forecast lows for tonight and tomorrow night several degrees, so it looks like I won't start planting anything else until Monday at the earliest.

We usually 'rob' the potato plants of a few early potatoes to cook with the first harvest of green beans. At the rate that the spring planting is going, we won't be doing that this year. The potato plants are up to 3' tall (some are shorter, the taller ones were planted first) and there's not a bean seed in the ground yet, so we likely won't be getting a green bean harvest until about the same time our potatoes mature.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Someday I hope and dream to have the variety and quantity that you do. I am anxious to but I know my limitations, work and space.
I study like I have a test coming up so that I can be ready when we have the time and space.
I am constantly planning for the "dream" garden area. I am currently trying to figure out how much of each I want and need. There are so many opinions and variables I would guess it takes a lot of thought, trial and error.
Well I am on my way to the garden as I guess many of you are.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:24AM
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I only lost one branch of my Evelyn rose from my tarp, everything else is ok. My Evelyn still might bloom near my mother's birthday (may 6).

Dawn, I haven't planted peppers yet either, was going to this weekend but I'm thinking about starting over with a few from our local greenhouse since mine have been out in the 40's. it is just too cold and windy to get anything done out there right now. I'm not going to even try any eggplant yet.

What I have growing is parsley, kale, chard, potatoes, all the alliums, asparagus is still producing. Two (!) peas. I want to plant bush bean seeds and armenian melon but again I want it to be consistently warmer.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I sure don't have a lot growing at this point. We have been eating asparagus for several weeks and I shared some with a neighbor. Yesterday I lifted the row cover enough to pick some salad greens and made a salad with just greens, green onions and asparagus. We love the fresh raw asparagus.

I am concerned about the onions with this wishie-washie weather. I hope they don't all bolt when the warm weather comes for good. Usually we are eating Sugar Snaps for all of the month of May, and this year they are about 8 inches tall. I planted some beans during the warmer days, but they are not up. The row has been pretty well covered up with the row covers I was using to cover potatoes, I would imagine that I will be planting beans again. I'm glad I have plenty of bean seed.

The part of my garden that is not planted has a deep mulch layer and the weeds are coming up through the mulch. They will probably just rake away when I move the mulch to plant, but I have been surprised at how many came up in the mulch.

Dawn, I put hoops over several beds when I planted and just left them in place even when I had the covers off, but I didn't have them over the potato rows because I never expected to need to cover them. With the first cold threat it was easy enough to just lay row cover over the potatoes, but by the next time, they were getting tall so I added hoops and stretched row cover over them. Two of the beds have been covered and uncovered several times, and I had left the ends tied so all I had to do was stretch it back over. Since the potato covering wasn't meant to stay, I just clipped the ends with big garden clips so they would be easy to remove.

I will probably plant a few herbs, but I am also going to buy some plants to get a head start. I can see one parsley plant coming up. Last year it dropped seeds and hundreds of seedlings came up around it in the Fall but were killed out over winter. I'll plant dill and basil from seeds and I think cilantro is N-A-S-T-Y, so I would never plant that. LOL

I have lots of pole beans to try this year, but I will plant most of them around large CRW cages. I haven't had enough warm weather to plant the heat lovers and was just taking a chance with the two kinds of beans I planted.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Our peas are just now blooming, the broccoli is growing slowly, the potatoes have popped back through the leaves we covered them with, and we are eating baby spinach and lettuce salads. The first planting of corn is just poking throug and we will plant the rest tomorrow. The tomatoes are uncovered again and look a bit peaked but with some warm weather I expect they will perk up. The peppers, tomatillos, eggplants, squash and okra are all still in the greenhouse. Haven't planted any beans yet, but will tomorrow or Monday. The asparagus is doing fine in between freezes. It didn't freeze here Friday morn tho I saw 32 degrees at 6am. I am just so ready for consistently warm--not hot--temps.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:26PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Did you take the broken rose branch and root it? Might as well make lemonade when life gives you lemons.

The wind here is ridiculous today. It is a wonder the row covers haven't blown away but I do have them pinned down pretty firmly. I have tried to keep the peppers warm by having them in the greenhouse during the day, and bringing them inside the house if I think the greenhouse will drop below 40 degrees or so. My poor pepper plants barely know what real sunlight is because they haven't seen it in so long.

I want to plant all the rest of my hot-season stuff, but have been waiting for some consistency in the forecast too.

Since I couldn't direct-sow anything today (I would have had to remove the row covers), I started a lot of warm-season herbs and flowers in flats, and a few veggies like cukes, melons, watermelons, Armenian cukes, etc. I hope to pop them out of the six-packs and into the ground the minute the first tiny bit of green pops up out of the soil-less mix. I intend to put bean seeds in the ground tomorrow. They raised tomorrow night's forecast low from 44 to 48, so I feel like it will be warm enough. Our 3-day average soil temp dropped from the low 70s to the mid or upper 60s with with this last cold front, but the soil in the raised beds is still pretty warm. Likely the row covers have helped them stay warmer by holding in the heat.

Carol, I am concerned about the weather too. I am hoping that the cold spells haven't lasted long enough to cause bolting. If they do, they do....there's nothing we can do about it. The reason I have covered my onion bed's hoops with the 10-degree row cover for every cold spell is not because I thought the onions might freeze but because I hoped it would keep them warm enough that they'd be less likely to bolt. I guess we'll know in the next couple of weeks if they are going to bolt, and I am hoping they won't because they are so lovely right now and will make a great crop if they don't bolt and if hail doesn't get them.

Our Sugar Snaps are producing faster than we can pick them and eat them. I guess it makes up for the early heat wrecking the crop the last two years. Either we need to start eating them at every meal, or I need to freeze some. I planted mine in paper cups in February and then got them into the ground as early as I could, but I planted a certain percentage of them every week for 3 or 4 weeks, trying to spread out the risk of a late freezing getting them.

I also staggered the potato plantings quite a lot. The first two beds that I planted are the tallest, and the third bed is not far behind. They are getting too tall to cover so we're in trouble if we get another cold front, which I hope doesn't happen of course. I was looking at the first two beds a few minutes before sunset, and the plants look like they've grown 6-8 inches since Tim covered up those beds on Wed.evening. You can see the plants pushing and straining at the row cover. I think it keeps them so warm that they grow faster while it is on them.

I haven't planted a single bean yet, but hope to rectify that tomorrow. We have a lot of rain chances in our forecast for next week, and since lately our rain has come only in little bits....a few hundredths of an inch here, a tenth of an inch there, we really need that rain. Maybe if I get the beans in the ground and then it rains, they'll sprout quickly to make up for going into the ground so late.

You still might get more parsley volunteers. Just this past week, volunteers started popping up like mad. I imagine when we rototilled all the soil repeatedly while rebuilding the beds this spring, we exposed a lot of buried seeds to sunlight. While weeding on Wed. right before putting on the row covers, I saw volunteer seedlings of all kinds---okra, watermelon, ornamental purple-leaved peppers, flowers of several kinds, tomatoes, etc. I even saw basil and corn volunteers. The basil can stay but I'll yank out the corn since it is in the middle of a row of garlic.

I know you don't like cilantro and won't try to change your mind about it, but I grow it near potatoes and I do believe it helps keep the potato bugs away. I planted about 30 lbs. of seed potatoes so we have row after row of potato plants and I haven't seen a single CPB yet. Grasshoppers, however, have arrived in full force.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:28PM
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I don't blame the potato bugs, as it would keep me away also. LOL Even the smell makes me feel a little sick.

I didn't plant nearly that many potatoes, but I planted more than usual. I have four 16 foot rows, Yukon Gold, Kennebec, and a red one that I think was Norland. The fourth row was some russet type from the pantry that was starting to sprout. I was mainly filling what I felt was a wasted space in the Spring. When summer comes about 4 feet between the cattle panels is good when the beans and cucumbers need to be picked, but until that time they seem too far apart.

I normally have everything neat and tidy by now, but the weather just hasn't been good enough to spend the day working outside on most of the days I have been at home to do it. I have also had an ear infection but I am on meds now and that should clear up soon. Maybe my energy level will return.

I haven't seen many insects yet, but since everything has been covered, or it has been raining I shouldn't have seen much. There must be something out there because I have a lot of birds in the garden. I have seen holes in a couple of the leaves of the salad greens.

We are at 42 tonight and expected to drop to 38/39 with a light mist. The Mesonet is already showing 36, so that is not a good sign. I have one large onion bed that isn't covered, and the asparagus, but I left the covers on everything else. Well, in some cases I had removed covers this morning, but I put them back on before dark.

The info for Baker Creek says they have not been able to plant the demo gardens, and they have put up three large tents for vendors. The temps are expected to be in the 50-60 range for both days and they suggested a light jacket. Who would have dreamed that there would be cold weather for the Spring Planting Festival? They are expecting 7500 people. Crazy weather.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, I am hoping for exactly the same thing: consistently wa but not hot temperatures. Wonder if that is what we will get?

Our plants had been growing fairly well all along, but after we had 2 or 3 days in the upper 80s and lower 90s, their growth just exploded. Then it turned cold again. That is sort of this spring in a nutshell.

Carol, So much of the country has had spring weather just as bizarre as ours that I imagine everyone else is just as far behind as BC. A planting festival without their demo gardens planted sounds odd, but what can they do?

I just looked at our thermometer and it shows 49, which is the same thing it showed at 11 pm. Maybe it is broken, or, maybe it is trying to make up for the days we have been colder than forecast?


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:45AM
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I am glad to hear everyone's gardens sound like they are doing good.
I thought it might be a gamble putting my peppers in too early but I was out of light space in the house. I have 10 more going in this week so if the originals don't perk up I will just pull them out.
I have got to take notes for next year so I don't plant so much in the house so early.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:11AM
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I don't have much growing in my garden yet. My tomatoes have been in the ground a month and I've had to cover them every week, so it's nice to finally see no freezing in the forecast. It's been a lot of work to keep them from being damaged by the cold, but I'm really glad I planted when I did. They are so far ahead of where they'd be if I had waited and I really need that time here since it gets so hot so quickly.

I planted seeds for corn, beans, cantaloupe, and squash yesterday. I didn't want to plant peppers yesterday because our low last night was in the 40's. We ended up going down to 42 degrees, so I'm glad I waited. I'll plant those when I get home from work today. And I think I'll plant okra and southern peas today too. Our soil has been warm enough for them for a while.

And maybe I shouldn't say this, but I haven't seen a single cutworm so far this year. There were so many last year. I went out at night and hand picked them for over a week straight, but I can't imagine I got them all. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed that I did.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:40AM
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