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Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Posted by susanlynne48 z7a-OKC (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 26, 07 at 9:29

Just wondering. I still have tons of things I need to plant, but I continue to wait for a day when it is "reasonably" dry (hahahahahahahahaha, heeheeheeheehee, hohohohohohohoho).

I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and go ahead and plant in between storms, no matter what the soil is like. At least it hasn't yet become too HOT to plant. But, my sidewalk is lined with pots of things I need to get in the ground! Geez, when is it going to stop for awhile? I mean, would a week be asking too much?

Susan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Susan,

You and I are in the same boat (pun intended).

I have tried and tried and tried to get some of my plants into the ground, with only limited success. Every time I go outside and start to do something (anything!) it starts to rain. Being desperate to get stuff done, I say to myself that I am going to continue working in the lighter rain as long as there is no lightning. Of course, as soon as I have that thought, the thunder and lightning start up, forcing me to go inside.

Having had some rain for each of the last 12 days, I would settle for ONE day without rain. Even better, how about 1 day without rain AND with sunshine. Looking at our forecast, though, it looks like we are going to have some rain every day at least through the 4th of July.

I know we really, really need this rain to refill the underground aquifers, but I am really missing working in the yard and garden. On the other hand, three of the four ponds are full, and the fourth is 75% full. I think the fourth pond has a leak somewhere that occurred when it dried up and the pondbottom cracked in numerous places because it should be full too by now. Our swamp is once again a swamp, the creeks are running and quite full and the springs have recharged and are running again.

On the downside, I have a lot of mini-ponds where I usually have dry turfgrass. I have mud everywhere, and mushrooms are popping up all over. Last week I was so desperate to mow the lawn that I went ahead and mowed it, even though most of it had at least 1" of standing water on top of the surface of the soil.

I think we will remember this rainy year for a long, long time. One of the garden writers whose column is published in either the Dallas Morning News or the Fort Worth Star Telegram wrote a column a couple of weeks ago in which she said that she hopes to get her spring planting done sometime between now and autumn. I know how she feels.

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

"she hopes to get her spring planting done sometime between now and autumn"

LOL, good one... This had been a difficult spring for me because I've moved, and have had to dig up 20 years worth of perennial plants to bring to my new home, not to mention the 350 large pots of tropical plants that I had in the greenhouse. So, you can just imagine how many plants I still have in pots. They are everywhere! My large new tropical bed is only half planted, and it is so full of weeds that some of the Johnson grass is taller than the plants. Ooooh how I wish I had all my tropical plants in the ground before this rain began, because the tropicals that got planted are really thriving with so much rain. They must think they're in the rainforest.

I refuse to plant in wet soil, so that has caused me to lose at least 45 planting days this spring. The last time I attempted to put in some stepping stones in the new garden while it was wet, I sunk up to my shins in mud when I fell off a stepping stone (as it SUNK/DISAPPEARED in the mud). LOL. Oh well, after 110-120 days last summer with not a drop of rain, I am still very traumatized from the drought, and you won't catch me complaining about too much rain. There is always next year and I will get these potted plants in the ground SOME DAY. Oklahoma is the land of extremes, and if it isn't one thing, it's another. :~)


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hi Dawna,

I had been wondering if it had dried up enough for you to get anything planted in the ground yet.

Have y'all moved the greenhouse yet, or is that still on the 'to do' list?

I hate, hate, hate, hate Johnson grass! I am afraid it would grow clear to the moon if we would let it. I have been digging it out of my veggie garden and flower beds for eight years now, and I still have some more pop up every year. Of course, it is in the pastures and bar ditches everywhere, so I know we will never get rid of it all.

I still feel traumatized by the drought too. I remember turning on the weather radio day after day and listening to a forecast that included "High Fire Danger" as well as humidity numbers in the 4% to 10% range over and over again. I hope we never see a drought like that again, although I am pretty sure we will. I could always tell when the humidity dropped below about 18% during the drought. If I held out my hand and stretched out my fingers and it felt like the skin in between my fingers was going to 'crack', I would tell DH it was below 18% humidity. He would check the barometer and I was right every time! (Such an odd weather skill, isn't it? lol)

Just this morning, my DH said he wanted to tape record me 'whining' about too much rain and clouds, and play it back to me when I am 'whining' about it being too hot and dry in July or August! He's right, you know! lol At some point all this moisture will stop falling, and then we will miss it. I also intend to enjoy NOT sending a big fat check to the water company!

I won't plant in wet clay soil either, or in wet silty soil, for that matter. However, in my improved raised beds that have a sandy-clayey loam with lots of organic material, I will plant if the soil is only moist, though not if it is sopping wet. My whole back yard is pretty much a bog garden, although not an intentionally planted one.

Now that we have weathered extremely severe drought and extremely severe rainfall accompanied by flooding, I wonder what it will be next? Pestilence? Earthquakes? An alien invasion? (sigh) It IS always something, and I am nervously wondering what that something will be when the rain finally stops.

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Dawn,
Probably one reason I was so traumatized by the drought was because we were on a water well, and I was very worried it would go dry. It was a good well though, and it managed to outlast the drought, but who knew? I was very careful with my water use last summer, if you call watering thousands of plants careful, LOL. I lost a lot of plants in the drought, and five very large, mature trees. Whoever heard of a Bois d Arc dying of drought, LOL. That will give you a clue just how bad it was. We also lost our only mature pecan tree.

No, we haven't got the greenhouse moved here yet, but we did get the horse barn dismantled and moved, which was major. I am not too worried about moving the greenhouse until it gets closer to winter. Right now there are so many more things to do that have priority over it. I know I will probably be scrambling to get it moved before cold weathers hits though. I really missed my greenhouse last winter, but it did just fine without my daily care. I was so thrilled we never had a power outage during the whole winter. I ran both propane and electric heaters most of the time though, in case one or the other failed. But I missed getting my daily fix of sunshine and tropical plants last winter. The greenhouse really gets me through the winter blues. I thank DH daily during the winter months for building me such a wonderful place to escape from winter. It's one of my favorite places and it makes winter bearable.

I've never had Johnson grass in my gardens until now. That stuff is horrible. I appreciate your tip about weeding it when it's wet though. That works well. Our new place has much better soil than our old home. We had sandy soil at our old home, and the water drained through it fast. Here we have clayey loam I guess you'd call it. I can tell my plants like it much better and it's so much more fertile. I like its ability to hold on to the water. This is the first place I've ever lived where I needed mud boots. The first time I walked out into my pastures to get the horses after it rained, the mud sucked my shoes right off my feet. :) I went that day and bought my first pair of mud boots. My poor horses were begging to go home to their nice, dry, sandy hilltop. My old Arab mare slipped so badly in the mud last winter that she hurt her hip and has had to be on glucosamine supplements ever since. Our pastures here leave much to be desired, partially caused from being overgrazed last summer during the drought, then this deluge of rain all this year. Hopefully in time we will be able to improve them.
Dawna


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

I think I need to become an official mesonet site or whatever they call it! According to the news we had an inch of rain today. HAHAHAHAHAHAH. My rain gauge showed 4 inches and we have more coming.

My backyard is a lake again.

Lisa


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hi Susan, I noticed you are in zone 7a like myself. Not sure how close we are, but yes, we are getting tons of rain too. I went out yesterday morning bright and early and purchased some new flowers to plant. I arrived home late morning and got right on planting them, knowing the rain was coming with the gray skies and weather reports. Litterally 2 minutes after I walked into the house after finishing up all my planting (and there was a lot), it started pouring down rain. The ground was still pretty wet from all the rain we've had recently, but I really wanted to get it done. The soil wasn't too bad though - kind of sandy in some spots and the opposite in others.

I wish the rain would stop too, but I'm not going to complain too much - could have drought conditions (not sure which is worse). The upside of the rain - the plants and flowers love rain water, right?? Good luck with your planting - maybe you can find a day soon where you know it won't rain until afternoon sometime and get it done in the morning before it starts up again (the rain). Julie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

I guess I will just "pot up" (to a larger size) some of my plants that are waiting to go in the ground. They are rootbound and showing signs of it. I had hoped not to have to buy more potting soil this summer, but looks like I'm going to have to do it anyway. Que sera.

Greenthumb - welcome to the forums! I am in Oklahoma City proper. Since the changed the zone maps last year, I think Tulsa is now in zone 7a, too, right? It used to be 6b. Global warning again. However, I was told that the old zone maps reflected Tulsa as zone 7a before they changed it to 6b, so basically it's right back where it started, if that's the case.

My arthritis is killing me with all this rain, too! Can I complain any more? I actually love the rain - I sleep better, the days are cooler, I don't have to water. But, I don't want to plant things in mud, sorry. So, off to HD tomorrow to get a couple big 40 lb bags of potting soil. Eventually, though I have got to get some of these plants in the ground, you know? Especially those that really need to get some roots on them before fall arrives.

We have set a record now - 14 straight days of rain in Oklahoma! Yippee, yippee, yippee........

Susan


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Dawna,

You know, the only time to pull out Johnson grass is when it is wet. I can tell you from vast personal experience that when you pull it up from dry clay or clayey-loam, part of the underground rhizome will break off and remain in the ground where it will resprout and regrow very aggressively. In very dry summers, you cannot pull it up by the root at all, except in very sandy, silty type soil.

I know what you are saying about the mud boots. Since moving here, I have acquired mud boots, rain shoes, steel-toed CAT construction-worker type boots, several pair of waterproof hiking boots, trail running shoes, and one nice pair of ladies' dress boots, although it is almost always too wet or muddy to wear the nice dress boots anywhere. When I moved here, I didn't know I would have to give up wearing 'cute' shoes, but here the work books are so much more practical!

I am sorry to hear about your old Arab mare. I hope the glucosamine supplements help her. My DH, who has run marathons for about 20 years, takes a glucosamine supplement and feels it has really helped him since he began taking it 2 or 3 years ago.

Everyone here has had the same problem with pastures that were overgrazed last summer. It wasn't that people allowed overgrazing out of stupidity or a lack of caring about their land, you know, but rather that a desperation to avoid selling off their animals led to overgrazing. Still, many ranchers eventually did have to sell off all or some of their herds and I know we have discussed before how painful that was for people we know and love.

It seems to me that the pastures here that sit on high and dry land have had huge amounts of new growth and are making a good comeback. However, those pastures that are in low-lying areas are staying much too wet and the pasture grasses there are not rebounding as quickly.

Last night, around 11 p.m., ranchers with cattle and horses on bottom land near the Red River had to start loading them up and moving them out as the river began flooding the lowlands. I have no idea where they will put them all.

Lisa,

It is just awful, isn't it? I am wondering what, if anything, will survive all this standing water, especially if the conditions remain met for a really long time.

Merry Heart and I both have had significantly higher rainfall recorded in our rain gauges than what is showing up on our local mesonet monitoring stations, and also higher than totals reported by the NWS cooperative weather observers as well.

Ever since Merry Heart contacted our local TV station and complained that the 'official' totals they were announcing were NOWHERE near what many people were receiving, I have noticed that our local TV weather forecaster has been announcing various rainfall amounts e-mailed or phoned-in to him by viewers. So, her e-mail actually made a difference and I am proud of her for that!

Our backyard is a lake as well, and the Red River is out of its banks and causing flooding of low-lying areas here. The winter wheat crop was ruined by spring rains, the first cutting of this spring's hay crop has been delayed by the rain, and now many of the hayfields are flooding. For the life of me, I do not know how ranchers and farmers stay in business with our erratic weather conditions! For all my whining about losing plants to waterlogged soil, at least my plants are not the basis of our livelihood.

Julie/greenthumbwannabe 3,

Welcome to the Oklahoma Forum. I hope to get some plants in the ground in a few minutes, if the rising river doesn't trigger some sort of county-wide emergency that prevents it.

The rain has been great for the trees, shrubs and other plants that can take it, but has been hard on those plants that need perfectly well-drained soil and can't handle standing water. Still, we need the rain to help everything recover from the drought, don't we?

Susan,

I know potting up is probably the route I will have to go too, although I might get a few things in the ground today. It isn't raining at the moment, so I am hopeful that I can do something.

I cannot decide what to do with the 100+ fall tomato plants which I started from seed as replacements for the spring-planted tomatoes. They need to be in the ground before mid-July at the latest, but the ground is really too wet for them. I have 10-gallon grow bags I could plant them in, but it will cost a lot to buy good container soil for those grow bags.

I get so frustrated with them changing the zone maps. No matter what they say or what they do to our zone, we are definitely zone 7B here when it comes to winter low temps.

I just mowed the lawn a few days ago, and it needs to be mowed again. It is hard to mow grass that is sitting in standing water! We ALMOST have sunshine peeking out from behind some high clouds. Oh, I would love to see the sun!

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Susan,

Thank you for the nice welcome. I'm not a zone expert, but did look up Tulsa and they are still zone 6b assuming the website is current. Anyway, zone 7a covers a lot of area, including south Boston and Virginia as well.

I'm sorry to hear about your arthritis. I would probably complain too if I had it. I hope you can somewhat control that so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like planting!). Yes, the rain is great - I think we've had enough of it for a while (my 6 yr. old daughter actually said a prayer to God this morning asking for a little less rain and a little more sunshine) hee! hee! I thought that was pretty cute. I've been potting some things myself lately instead of trying to get everything in the ground.

Forgot to mention before - Monday when I got all that planting done in my flower beds (some Angelonia Serena mix, mums, etc.) I did too much at once and threw my back out - thank goodness I wasn't outside when it happened! I can't complain about that, though - I did it to myself. I should've known better.

Dawn,

Thank you for the nice welcome as well. I really feel for the people who live in low lying areas and do have all the standing water (their poor plant/flower babies!). We have pretty good soil (well-drained) in most spots, anyway.

Can you hang your grow bags? I don't know a lot about grow bags (obviously), but I do know people who have a lot of luck growing their tomato plants upside down by hanging them in a "bag" of sorts. They have better luck this way without all the pesky bugs eating away at their plants - the downside - unless you have a really good sturdy place to hang them, the bags get pretty heavy from watering and you have to water more often (maybe a drip line to each bag??). Guess you wouldn't need a drip line right now though with all the rain. I'm pretty good with gerry-rigging things up, so I would probably have my husband build me something out of 2 x 4's standing maybe 8 ft. or more off the ground that I could sit directly in the sun/rain to hang the tomato plants off of (kind of like a giant sawhorse). Sounds like you would need several of these with as many plants as you have.

Wow! I thought I was a determined person when it comes to planting, etc., but you seem to be very determined with all those tomato plants! I wish you luck and a bountiful crop of tomatoes.

Have a great day, all! :-) Julie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Julie,

The grow bags I have are not intended for hanging. They hold 10 gallons of soil each, and are a rectangular shape that is 15.25" high x 11.75" deep x 14" wide. They are fluted and have pre-punched drainage holes. I think I ordered the ones that are black on the inside and white on the outside to deflect sunlight and help keep the roots cooler. They are often used by greenhouse growers, and especially by growers who have hydroponic systems.

I have never used grow bags before, but with soggy, squishy ground that has been wet for three months now, I was looking for a way to plant fall tomatoes that might actually give the plants a chance to survive.

I have about 140 spring-planted tomato plants in the ground, and they are producing well now, although not as well as they do 9 years out of 10. I have another 12 or so plants in large containers and the constant rain and clouds has been pretty hard on them too.

I grow tons of tomatoes every year. I love experimenting with all the different heirloom varieties that are out there, and I grow a handful of hybrids too. We eat all the tomatoes we can stand; freeze, dry or can some of them, and then give away the rest.

I grow tomatoes that are virtually every color of the rainbow, including some that are known as GWR, which stands for Green When Ripe. My favorites tend to be the black tomatoes, which I've been growing for about ten years now, the yellow/gold ones, and a purple one called Cherokee Purple. Heirlooms have wonderfully unique flavors.

It has rained here three times today, so I spent the day in the kitchen cooking and listening to reports of the rising flood waters.

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Julie, welcome to the forum! Rain,Rain,Rain! I have flower beds that are now in a different spot than when originally planted and several of them just have been totally washed away. Right now I am between storms but that wont last long. I refuse to mow when the ground is wet! I am a princess!

Like I told someone else, I dont post much during the summer have to much outside stuff I like doing but I will check each evening to see what everyone else is discussing like the rain, cats, etc. Dawn and Susan can tell you I do whine a lot but hey, nobody else but a gardener understands the whiney side of to wet, to dry, to hot, to cold, bugs you can not identify and the famous, what am I growing?

Running outside to pull some weeds in my hip boots before the rain starts again. Nice to have you on the forum.

Chat more later. Steffie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Holy moly Dawn! That's a lot of tomatoes! I could never grow that many. My husband doesn't even really like them and my three kids (6, 3 and 15 mos.) aren't crazy about them. So far my 15 mos. baby boy likes them pretty well. I love tomatoes and could eat them all the time, however.

I wish I lived closer to you - would love to try some of those heirloom varieties! YUM! I've never heard of black tomatoes before. Again, I wish you luck with your new bag method - sounds like a great idea. Do you have a greenhouse too? I'm assuming you don't or I would have seen that mentioned somewhere in the forums. I would love to get even a small greenhouse to get some things started. I don't think the city ordinances would allow it though. We have a pretty big back yard, but am still limited as to what I can put in. I don't think I'll ever have a huge garden though. My parents had a very large garden when I was younger (about 1/4 size of a football field) and don't have very fond memories of the summer chore my brother and I had of hand weeding the whole garden. I would love to do something on a smaller scale though. Sorry to hear much of your land is so saturated, especially when you have so much growing. We actually had sunshine most of the day today with just some scattered rain on and off (mostly sprinkles). Hopefully after this week we get at least one week of sunshine to catch up.

Hi Steffie, thank you for the nice welcome. Everyone seems to have dreary stories to tell from all the rain. Come on, sunshine!!! Sorry to hear about your flower beds. I couldn't live without my flowers. My back patio is full of potted flowers from rose trees underplanted with mini roses, to shade plants - coleus, ferns, etc. If I couldn't have them in the ground, at least I have my potted ones. I'm sure you do too.

So is it just me or does it seem like most of the women on these forums, like yourself, mow their own lawns?? My husband does that job - I take care of the inside of the house and most of the planting and some other outside yardwork. I would rather hire someone to come and mow the lawn if my husband couldn't before I did it myself, although I would if I had too. Talk about being a princess - I think this is one of the only thing that would make me a princess - not wanting to mow the lawn.

Anyhoo! Hope your not sinking in the mud like many of the other women in the forums while weeding, etc. :)

Julie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hi Steffie!

Y'all have been having so much rain up there that I am surprised you have anything left to weed. This would have been a good year for all of us to add bog gardens to our landscape if we had only known Mother Nature was going to create bogs in our yards!

Julie,

I am a tomato maniac. I first started growing heirlooms in the early 1990s, I think, and have been having a ball trying new varieties ever since. In the beginning, I listened to all the traditional gardening experts who claimed heirlooms lacked disease resistance and wouldn't produce well in the south's hot climate. As time went on, though, I learned that the 'traditional garden experts' were flat out wrong.

The huge variety of colors and flavors associated with heirloom tomatoes are amazing, but the color names can be a bit misleading. In the tomato world, 'back' tomatoes are not black at all, but rather a combination of maroonish, greenish, brownish shades. Purple tomatoes are really just a muted red that somewhat resembles black tomatoes. Pink tomatoes are a light red to pinkish-red, but NOT pink like cotton candy or bubble gum. White tomatoes tend to be a light green, sometimes with a blush of yellow or ivory. Most yellow tomatoes ARE yellow, ranging in shades from a deep golden yellow to lemon yellow to whitish-ivory-pale yellow. Orange tomatoes are indeed orange, and those tomatoes that are Green When Ripe are indeed green when ripe, though some of them may have an amber blush. Then, there are all kinds of bi-colored (and sometimes tri-colored) ones. They have flavor that will knock you out. I have trouble getting people to try black tomatoes, because they often look like a red tomato that is overly ripe and has begun to 'go bad'. Once they try black ones, though, they beg for more.

I don't have a greenhouse, although I really hope to have one some day. We get so much hail here, though, that I am nervous about investing too much money in one. One of these days I'll have one, though.

And, as for mowing the yard....my hubby and I share the chore. When you have acres to mow, it takes a lot of time and everyone's efforts to keep up with it. To be fair, after I gave up my career in the aerospace industry to do the full time wife and mom thing way back in 1992, I took on primary responsibility for the yard since I was home all day. We moved to Oklahoma in 1999, but DH still commutes to his job in Dallas 4 days a week, so he is gone for about 13 to 14 hours a day four days a week. I don't mind the yard work and have found pushing that mower and carrying that weedeater around to be an excellent way to burn calories and stay in shape. When DH mows, he uses the lawn tractor but he doesn't need to get the exercise from pushing the lawn mower since he runs to stay in shape. This year the rain is making it a challenge to keep the grass mowed.

Ironically, I was hoping to dig the sod out of an area on one side of my lily pond and put in a bog garden, but have been unable to do so because of all the rain. I wish I had gotten the bog garden dug before all the rain began, because it would surely be thriving if I had.

I am hoping for some sunshine soon....our forecast is improving, but so far we are still having rain every day, and often several times in a day.

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Dawn,

Well, it was sunny most of the day yesterday, but has been raining cats and dogs all day today. I think it stopped to a light sprinkle a few times. I had to pull in all my potted roses under the covered patio - even though they have good drainage, it's been raining so hard there was a couple inches of standing water on top of the soil in several of my pots.

You really know your tomatoes. I need to get at least a couple tomato plants potted. I can't put them in the ground anywhere because we have a great dane that wanders the yard peeing on everything he sees or digging in places he shouldn't. He's already stepped on a couple of my hibiscus planted in the ground. I thought they were goner's, but they came back. The one that got it the worst is my "runt of the litter".

Here's hoping you and I both get our greenhouse someday - we get a lot of hail here too though and it concerns me as well.

I can see why you help with the mowing. When I was young, we lived on eight acres of land and my brother and I had to mow it all with my dad's rider. So not only did we have the what I call "football field sized garden" to weed all summer long, we got the wonderful chore of mowing the lawn and then there was the summer we had to help dad plant 150 trees all over this 8 acre lot. He kept us busy, that's for sure. Not much time for messing around with friends, but I suppose it did keep us out of a lot of trouble. :)

Hey that bog garden might be easier to get done after it stops raining with the ground being softer you can get that sod up easier, right?? My husband and I will have a lot more of that to do (probably next year) with all the landscaping we want to still do. We just moved into our new house this past December. We've had a pretty busy summer outside up until it started raining so much (like everyone else). I'm still determined to get more things done outside, though, no matter how wet it is.

Okay, the forcast is saying rain the rest of the week into the 4th of July! Wouldn't that be awful if most of the state OK's fireworks were cancelled because of rain! As far as I know, pretty much the whole state has the same weather (rain, of course) and has for a couple weeks now. Here's hoping the rain stops soon.

Julie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Y'all are going to be so jealous--we had two hours of sunshine late Thursday, and at 10 or 11 p.m., the sky was clear enough that we had moonlight! Of course, it has clouded back up a little, but early this morning I can see some stars, so our weather may have turned a corner here.

It is probably too late to save some of the tomato plants.....I noticed late yesterday that a lot of the ones in the ground have twisted, curled foliage indicating they are severely waterlogged AGAIN, and I don't think they will survive it this time. Those poor plant roots can only take so much.

I do have more ripe tomatoes to pick today, and I am contemplating putting some of the fall tomatoes in the ground to replace some of the ones which have died of waterlogged roots the last few days.....but it seems stupid to put a healthy tomato plant into wet, waterlogged soil to replace a plant that died because it was too wet and waterlogged. I guess I need to be patient and let the garden beds dry out some, which will only happen if the rain STOPS. Actually, the last two days our rainfall has been lighter and lighter, and I think we only had 1/2" yesterday, which is a huge improvement.

All my fall tomatoes are sitting on the barn patio, under the patio cover so it can't rain on them and give them foliar disease. I move them out into the 'sunshine' whenever we have a few minutes of it, and move them back into the protected area when rain starts to fall. Poor things--they are healthy and want to grow and are the perfect size for transplanting, but the ground and the weather are not perfect for them at this point.

I can't start digging out the boggy area next to the water garden yet to turn it into a true bog garden because it is under about 6" of water, and the thick dense clay is impossible when it is that saturated--it breaks shovels and is hard on one's back. I will have to wait until it is only moist, and not waterlogged. On the other hand, the longer the water sits in that area, the greater the chance the bermuda grass there will decline and die and will then be easier to remove. OK, so far sitting in standing water has not hurt the bermuda grass at all, but I can hope!

Our forecast is improving, with less and less chances for rain as each day goes on. I think today we have only a 40 or 50 per cent chance of rain, and then it drops to 20 to 30 per cent for each day through the 4th of July. That is the BEST forecast we have had in a month, so I am hoping the professional weather guessers are right and we are about to get a break here. Hope the weather gives y'all a break too.

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

I had 2" rain last night and 4" the night before. My tomato plants are flowering but seems like only a quarter of the flowers or less set fruit. I got to eat 2 cherry tomatos and they were indeed as I remember from long ago, tasty compared to store bought. So far only a couple other tomatos have matured bit they were split big time all the way around and I tossed them in the compost instead of eating them. I've been cutting some lower branches off the plants that are growing well and just sticking them upright in the wet dirt. They take root and start groeing in just a couple of days. Growing in the mud may be easy.

Couple days back I cut the mustard back to the ground. Each leaf had a bunch of green catapillars lined up along the leaves spine like planes on a runway waiting their turn to take off. The other day I pulled the rest of the mustard plant and surprise, surprise, found several wiggling worms in each of their roots. Must be something to this layered or lasagna gardening after all. Weeds come out so easily roots and all and I got worms to boot. And those white butterflies have not been around for a couple of days now. I guess they leave when their favorite foods leave.

What I do have that's growing fast are those 4 cucumber plants. They seem to grow at least 8" every night and I'm trying to figure out how to support them off the ground. Right now they've grown a foot above the upside down cheepo tomato cages I set up for them to climb.

Better log off. It's beginning to get dark and the rumbling thunder is getting closer and will probably knock out my electric in a bit.

Later! Keep your heads above the water. Glad I got scuba gear in the garage.

Hank


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hi Hank,

It is simply the worst weather for veggie gardening, isn't it?

I hope y'all catch a break from the rain like we have (so far) today. Only 2/10s of an inch overnight and WOW that is a big improvement over what we've been having. We are having periods of sunshine alternating with periods of cloudiness so I have been mowing the grass and pruning some tree limbs that are hanging down too low and hitting me in the head as I mow. Of course, there is still standing water EVERYWHERE.

I hope to get some shrubs and perennials into the ground in the next couple of hours.

Our professional weather guessers say south-central Oklahoma's daily all-day-long rain is ending and now all we will see will be the occasional summer thunderstorms that tend to pop up in the late afternoons. What a relief. (If they are right.)

Maybe when this rainy period is over, we can write a book about a new kind of gardening.....Scuba Gardening. LOL

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Well, guess I won't be getting anything planted in the ground again today. It's been raining non-stop since very early yesterday morning. I have 5 - 5 gallon buckets lined up against part of a wall of our house where the gutters are overflowing with water. I have a flower bed right next to this area that has 3 inches of standing water because the gutters are overflowing - washing away all the mulch as well. I'm surprised the flowers haven't washed away too. Anyway, within the past few hours I have emptied all these buckets 9 times - and this is only because I wasn't out there constantly to continuously empty them when they filled up each time.

This weather is something else. On one hand I feel we are all blessed to have the rain, but enough is enough. Like my daughter said this morning - mommy, maybe God could make it only rain every other week and give us some sunshine in between. Hopefully next week will bring us some sunshine (according to the weather reports).

Julie


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hey Julie!

You know that I spoke too soon! The skies started getting really dark so I put everything up and came inside and.....BAM! The bottom fell out of the clouds and it simply poured down rain. Luckily, it only rained for about 15 minutes, but in that short period of time we got about 6/10s of an inch of rain. I am glad the rain did not fall for a prolonged time at that rate!

I know the rain is a blessing, but I am sort of wishing God would bestow some of this blessing on states still struggling with drought conditions and wildfires. I truly don't want to sound ungrateful, but those states desperately need the water we've been blessed to receive....and receive...and receive.

And....because no one can drive on the Interstate in blinding rain, the fire pagers started going off to alert emergency personnel to wrecks on the highway. It is always something.

I spent as much time mowing down mushrooms and toadstools today as grass....and I noticed my red clay soil is growing green moss right on top of it. What a year!

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Well the sun finally came out for about an hour but now they grey is coming over again. I got 1.25 more inches so far today, that's over 7 inches in the last couple of days. Luckily I have good drainage. If I can get out tonight I need to pound in some more stakes this time for the cucumbers. The leaves are just huge, about a foot across. I don't know where they'll end up growing to. Yikes!

I'm considering laying out a couple more garden beds this weekend. I'd really rather not have to mow all that when the rain stops and the sun re-emerges for a while.

On another subject, I read somewhere that if your lettuce went to seed, leave it alone and it will sprout when conditions are right for the fall season. The soil temperatures will be right. Is that correct? In an unplanted part of the garden bed can I just plant stuff that is for cool season and it will germinate in the fall when temps and daylight duration is right for it?

Hank


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

You know, I cannot figure out how they measure rainfall, because it seems like I get a LOT more rain than they say we do. We've had about 5" between yesterday and today, but darned if my wheelbarrow didn't fill clean to the top (and it's about 2 1/2' deep) during all that rain. I have one of those big black plastic wheelbarrows that I got at HD years ago. I like it for hauling stuff in.

My backyard is standing water - the skeeters are going crazy - and I don't know when it's supposed to stop. One station's weathermen predict rain through the end of next week; the another one predicts rain thru Tuesday; and the third one predicts rain to stop somewhere in the middle. We'll see which one wins the car.

Someone mentioned lawn mowing? I don't mow my own lawn - I hire it done. I don't have time to both mow and work in the yard, nor could my poor back and neck handle it. I persist in doing my own yardwork despite being disabled, but draw the line at doing everything.

Sometimes I wish I lived in the country where I could just let everything grow and be wild - like me. I am kind of a wild person (not really), but I am kind of a nature girl.

So far, the tomatos are doing GREAT! They're growing like crazy right now. I have lots of pollinators in the garden, too, which helps. If you don't have anything in your garden to pollinate your flowers, I recommend planting some things that really draw them in. Mine LOVE lavendar, verbascum thapsii, veronicas, Marigolds (I just tossed some seed out in the garden and they grew), salvias, but Lavendar is THE best. 'Provence' starts blooming in spring and blooms up until frost and just one plant will get you TONS of honeybees and bumbles. Monarda (the species like fistulosa or didyma) is another great one.

Susan


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

A rain gauge has to be cylindrical and the side wall perpendicular to the ground. Then it's just painting a ruler on the side to measure water depth. A wheelbarrow has sloped sides and water will measure deeper because of the slope. One day my wheelbarrow had about six inches from being full. It overflowed later that evening but the water gauge was just under 2 inches. That's over 4 inches difference. Plus mine was getting extra water from roof runnoff.

I'm getting bit by something when I go out in the evenings. Can't see um but sure feel the itch when I get back inside.

Any of you going to farmers markets in the morning?

Hank


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Hank,

I am not a huge advocate of planting seeds earlier than their proper time, and I will tell you why.

In order to germinate, seeds need soil that is in a certain temperature range, they need a certain moisture level to induce them to sprout and grow, and they need a certain amount of exposure to light OR darkness to induce germination, depending on the type of seed. In addition, some seeds--especially those of certain flowers and trees, need a period of cold stratification to induce germination.

Most importantly, the seeds need for all their requirements to be met at a certain time and in a certain combination. And, some seeds--especially those of native grasses or plants--need for certain beneficial fungi to be present in the soil in order for germination to occur.

So, if you let your lettuce go to seed, and you are expecting seeds to germinate at the right time to give you a fall crop....you would have to have perfect conditions in order for that to happen, and this is a bad year for anyone to expect 'perfect conditions' because of the weather.

Because this year's weather is very wet, your seeds from the lettuce that has gone to seed are likey going to either wash away or rot long before temperatures fall into the proper range for germination for a fall crop. In addition, the longer the seeds remain in the soil, the greater the chance that they will be eaten by any number of critters that prowl the garden looking for goodies to eat.

If your lettuce has already gone to seed and the seeds have been scattered by the wind and rain, odds are that some of the seed will wash away, some of it will rot, some of it will be pushed so deeply into the soil or mulch by rain that it will be too deep to sprout, some of it will be eaten by bugs, and some of it MIGHT survive and sprout, but there is no guarantee.

Lettuce seed will germinate in a wide variety of soil temperatures, ranging from soil that is still at freezing temperatures to soil that is as warm as the high 80s. However, optimal germination will occur at soil temps of 75 degrees. At 75 degrees, lettuce seed will usually germinate in 3 to 5 days. At approximately 30 degrees, lettuce seed will still sprout, but it takes up to 50 days to do so, and may rot before germination is achieved.

Lettuce seed germinates best in soil that is moist, but not wringing wet. If you plant the seed in very dry soil, you need to plant it up to 1/2" deep so it won't dry out too much before it can sprout. In very wet soil, though, lettuce doesn't sprout well at a depth of 1/2"--it needs to be planted only about 1/4" deep, and even then it may rot if the soil is excessively wet. Soil tends to crust over and form a hard surface barrier that prevents sprouts from emerging. So, during the time frame when you are hopefully having your lettuce seed sprout, the soil cannot have a hard, crusty surface.

Finally, lettuce seed that has been exposed to soil temperatures of 78 degrees or higher....even while the seed is dormant and is 'just laying there' tends to form seedstalks and set seed in cool autumn temps before you even get a chance to harvest any lettuce. That is the main reason it is so hard to get a fall crop from seed provided by a spring crop that has 'gone to see'.

I am not trying to be discouraging--just telling it like it is.

A lot of people think it is "impossible" to grow plants of any sort from seed. I don't think that is at all true. You can grow almost ANYTHING from seed, but the catch is that you have to meet that specific seed variety's needs in a very precise manner.

Dawn


 o
RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

My wheelbarrow does not have sloped sides, though, Hank, it's just a deep straight-sided flat-bottomed wheelbarrow. Not like the ones you normally see.

Anyhoo, I got out and weeded, cut all the hollyhocks to the ground, cut a bunch of awful looking plants back (hopefully they'll grow new foliage that looks much better). Some of the butterflies came out to play in the sun - the Sleepy Oranges, White-spotted Skippers, Fiery Skippers, Reakirt's Blues, etc. I released a big Black Swallowtail boy today - he's now waitin' for a lady to come along.

Susan


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Susan,

So, did you have sunshine and no rain today? It sounds like you were able to get a few things done.

I had that kind of day yesterday....for most of the day, and got some mowing and pruning done, but I have been paying for it ever since.

Since 3:45 or 4:00 p.m. yesterday, when I emptied out the rain gauge and came inside because the skies were getting very black and threatening, we have had six inches (!) of rain. We really didn't need any of this rain either.

Right now it is raining at a pretty steady pace, the sun is shining and we have a double rainbow. I don't know when the hummers and butterflies are going to find time to eat. I haven't seen then out and about today because it keeps raining every 15 minutes.

Every time the forecast starts offering a little hope, they change it and increase our chances of rain.

I'm starting to hope for a good ol' drought or dust storm. I can't take any more rain and mud.

Dawn


 o
RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Yes, we had 1 or 2 hours of sun yesterday, and some today, too. But, mostly cloudy still. I think it rained again overnight. It rained a TON yesterday afternoon again, because when I went outside the potholes were all full again. LOL!

I am mostly doing cleanup work right now - pulling weeds while it's easy to do so, trimming back flowers, etc. I am so anxious to get more plants in the ground I can barely stand it! (Grinch, grinch!)

Susan


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Susan,

I feel the same way about needing to get plants into the ground. At least the rain is watering all the stuff in containers that is needing to go into the ground. I would be really miserable if I was having to drag a hose out and water them.

We are having a wildlife invasion....I assume they are animals from the river bottom areas that have come up onto higher ground. They seem very anxious to nibble every plant I have. Of course, having all the plants lined up on the driveway in pots makes it easy for the migrating animals to find them and munch on them.

You know that I don't mind the wildlife and I knew they'd be headed our way as the river rose, but I wish they'd stop eating everything in sight. Why aren't all the plants growing in the ground enough for them? Grumble, grumble.

And you would laugh at me. I'll be grumbling and mumbling about the danged deer eating the tomato plants.....and then the little tiny fawns come stumbling out of the woods to follow their mommies to the garden, and my heart melts. I am such a sucker for animals, especially baby animals. lol

Dawn


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

Everytime I see the subject of this message I feel the need to confess. Yes, I have been planting in the mud. I know it's wrong, but I went ahead and did it anyway. I bought a couple of oakleaf hydrangeas from the clearance rack at Lowe's a couple of weeks ago and went ahead and dug holes for them. Also planted a salvia reggii in the mud and transplanted an elephant ear. So far, so good. Normally I wouldn't have done it that way, but these are not normal times. Actually, I like transplanting in the mud. I just try to keep a light touch.


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

I think your Elephant Ear will be fine, but I always worry about soil compaction when planting in mud. That's the only problem, and lots (most) plants don't grow well in compacted soil.

However, I think I'm just going to have to bite the dust (or mud in this case), and plant my milkweeds in the muck. Most of them like a little muck (like the Swamp Milkweed, A. incarnata), so they should do okay. We'll see.

Susan


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RE: Planting in the Mud, Anyone?

OKPrairie,

This year, if any planting is to be done, apparently it will be done in the mud, or not at all. :)

I will plant in the mud, too, once the standing water on top of the mud drains away.....over seven inches of rain in the last four days. I think summer is being rained out.

Susan,

I always worry about soil compaction, too, when planting in the mud, but I don't know what else we can do this year. (sigh)

Dawn


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