as of just today, part 3

digit(ID/WA)May 22, 2013

It is 37o!

Tonight the prediction is for 35o. I have been hoping against hope this last week that the Weather Service would just be a little too pessimistic. I've resigned my thinking to be fine with the forecast. Just don't freeze!

The gardens are nearly full. The only warm-season starts that are not out there are the peppers, eggplants, melons, cucumbers and basil.

With 50+ tomatoes in the garden, I was out yesterday (when it was 78o) distributing my buckets with a rock in each to hold it down against the 25mph wind gusts. I should have just covered the tomatoes then! I did cover the squash and pumpkins with 8" pots and a shovel of dirt.

Zinnias and marigolds are filling their beds! I can't cover them - too many square feet. Fortunately, the dahlias haven't found their way to the soil surface. Potatoes are just now up . . .

There is snow falling on eye90 into Montana, of course. Snow level is supposed to drop to 2500 feet tonight. I won't be surprised to find that it is snowing as I drive out to the gardens to finish covering the tomatoes and turn on the sprinklers about 2:30am . . .

a picture of the basil enjoying the heated greenhouse:

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david52 Zone 6

Beautiful basil, Steve. How do you plant that in the garden, or do you just leave it in the greenhouse? I have 50-odd plants in the greenhouse now, they're still pretty small.

I'm starting to set my tomato plants out - usually I wait until June, but they're much smaller this year than most, only 8 inches high, and I've got a good 6 inches of grass clipping mulch on all the beds, so I'm burying the plants up to the leaves and if we get a frost, its pretty easy to go mound the grass clippings up over the plants.

That was something I was going to mention - when theory and reality meet. My raised bed garden dries out over the winter. So it was dry and hard when I covered it all with 6 inches of grass clippings, then watered the heck out of it. Three days later, I pull back the mulch and there's an army of earth worms busy at work on the clippings, and its very easy to dig the planting holes.

My other theory this year is to double up on planting tomatoes - twice the density. Theoretically, the dreaded beet leaf hoppers don't like crowded foliage, preferring to pick on the more sparsely planted ones. We'll see.

Anyway, the plants won't get as big as usual since I'm starting them off much smaller.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:32AM
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I have hardened a little of it but messed up on some that aren't in the picture. DW says that it looks like the dog peed on them! It was more windy than cold that 1st day outdoors for them. They were in the shade but basil is darn sensitive!

I've used containers and left basil in the greenhouse all summer, David. That was quite a bother. One year, it was just planted in the ground in there - it did better but was a bother, too.

Close tomatoes? Mine were "too close" last year. I had them staked and in a 4' bed - double row. The northside row's production was noticeably lower than the southside row!

This year, they are in a single row in 3' beds.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:25PM
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There was frost at the garden by 4:30am. No frost at 3:45 and all the tomatoes & such were covered at 12:30.

I had the sprinklers on for nearly 2 hours and I think everything is okay!

Sometime during the night, I became convinced that I was wearing my heavy denim shirt instead of my heavy denim jacket. It wasn't until sunrise that I learned that wasn't true. LOL. Good thing I had a blanket . . . aaand, 2 naps thru the day yesterday!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Frost again this morning but very light. Right now, it feels like it might snow!

This is a picture at dawn of the neighbor's lawn at the garden:

cell phone photo

20 minutes running the sprinklers protected the plants from this light frost. Now, all the buckets & pots are back home. I'm trying to think how I can be in 2 places at once tomorrow morning if there is frost again.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 1:21PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Wow, Steve, sorry to hear about the frost! Last year, we had a frost on June 11. We're actually quite warm at night right now, mid 40's, but I can't plant anything out yet, due to the gusty winds every afternoon. I have 3 little tomatoes out in wall-o-waters, but the rest are indoors and way too big for the grow table now! Peppers are blooming. I was pinching the buds for a while, but gave up eventually. Some of the plants are pretty leggy, and extremely root bound, but planting them without some kind of wind protection would be homicide!

I agree with David on the basil, absolutely beautiful!!!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:37PM
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The basil is still happy in the greenhouse altho' I forgot to turn the heat on in there last night! Fortunately, the rain clouds didn't blow away until nearly dawn and it was only 48o overnight and warmer in the greenhouse.

As of just today, the shed-attached hoop house was emptied and I finished the interior:

To match my side of the fence, the interior is just old cedar fencing covering the insulation. And, as of just today, I pulled down the plastic film and pvc pipe on the 8' by 12' hoop house. Looking over the top of Ken's tomato cage and 1 of the plants I gave him, here is the silly shed:

See? Nothing to it!

Somewhere on the forum I had a thread where I talked about building a little sunshed by converting plans for a 3-sided shed. A lot of us have horses and know those simple structures that are built so a horse can get in out of the elements a little. We had calving sheds on the farm and that would be about the same. Covering an open south wall with plastic film or windows -- instant sunshed.

In this case, the plastic film just got bumped out a little. Neighbor Ken seemed content to have it there and, kind of happy to see it gone. He seems to have a new interest in gardening after looking thru the window of the hoop house for the last 10 weeks. He will take over his garden space now but I don't think I will have to find a new location for the shed-attached hoop house for next year.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:02AM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

That's amazing! I love your little plant house.

Still getting into the 30s at night?

Off/topic-- it's been so nice here...warm during the day, cool at night. I have not used my central heating/cooling system in about a month. Got my power bill yesterday, a measley $50! Compared to a usual whopping $180 or so, and I'm very frugal with my heat, believe it or not.

Good luck with your summer temps!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Thanks b2Alicia!

The weather has been windy lately. First, windy and very warm (well, 80's). Today it is windy and didn't reach 70 until afternoon. There's just too much air movement and the 300 miles to the ocean doesn't seem very far away right now!

I believe in this kind of design for growing plants. You can imagine how having a south wall entirely open would really capture the sunlight. Even considering having a north wall that isn't solid and insulated is just beyond me.

My earliest backyard greenhouse was a lean-top against the south wall of a garage. The lower part of the 3 walls were insulated. Then, I built this about 15 years ago:

It has a natural gas furnace just above that door. I haven't had heat on protecting those darn sensitive basil plants lately. Shouldn't have to anymore this year, I'm thinking!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 5:09PM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

Wow! So very fancy. :)

And, oh my, I spoke too soon. Today it reached NINETY-EIGHT degrees. *sigh* I knew the heat would have to start sooner or later!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Here I am still going on about protected growing . . ! I finally got the 2nd door out of the backyard chicken coop and replaced it with their summer screen. I think they have been fine since there has been so much day & night wind.

Posted by b2alicia Wow! So very fancy. :)

Well . . . who was it on here who described it as "half a house?" That is just about it. (It has gone all this time with only a thought of a paint job. If it follows the pattern of other outbuildings around here, it will be white. ;o)

edited for no good reason

This post was edited by digit on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 20:53

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:42AM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

It would be mighty cute if it were painted white... with the green roof as an accent? Yep, mighty cute!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:14AM
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