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PNW: Winter 2014

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  FamilyGardening on 11/23/2013, 1:55 am

Temps here are getting cold too!

had to use a small hand shovel to get some winter carrots out of their pots yesterday...a few good size ones and some baby ones....still have lots of baby carrots left to grow....what we have been eating.... taste great!

cauli's are doing well....they have formed about a 2 inch by 2 inch heads....glad to see them as the critters got to all of our broc's  Sad 

cutting celery, cabbage, green onions, leeks and kale are all doing great Very Happy 

we have been enjoying our winter harvest.....even have shared some....we look forward next winter to growing more......we want to try a cold frame next winter Wink 

happy gardening
rose

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  boffer on 11/23/2013, 6:08 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:...we want to try a cold frame next winter Wink 

happy gardening
rose
If you mean a cold frame with glass panels, I still have a surplus of tempered window glass to share.  Very Happy 



An unplanned lettuce growth comparison:

Nevada lettuce, planted from seed in my greenhouse on 9/1.


Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed, planted from seed under lights indoors on 10/2.


The Nevada is still pretty small.  I've been eating the DWFH for several weeks now, despite being planted a month later.  To be fair, the Nevada is normally a little slower growing, but the cool temps and short days really slowed it down.

The sun quit hitting my greenhouse in the last couple days due to the surrounding tree line, and won't hit it again until Feb.  I decided to bring the Nevada indoors and put it under lights too;  no reason to let it hibernate in the greenhouse for the rest of the winter.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  camprn on 11/23/2013, 7:10 pm

Nice!okay 

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 11/24/2013, 1:43 am

Nice lettuce! I sure am jealous of people with greenhouses!

First frost yesterday. The leaves on the trees were rimmed with snow, and white was everywhere a few hours before I got up, I'm told. Surprisingly, uncovered kale seedling turned yellow. It has been extraordinarily slow-growing. Lettuce seedlings aren't growing, but aren't dying either. Uncovered spinach has stopped growing, but hasn't died. Stuff under my row covers is doing well, though. Mache is tiny tiny, but surviving fine.

Mushrooms are everywhere in the neighborhood. Wish I knew whether they were poisonous or not! Some are huge.

So now that the first frost has come, it's time to plant my garlic. Still need to get some straw, though, for mulch. Will probably put row cover over it, too.

Compost pile is getting pretty big, and when I dump new horse poop on it, steam comes out nicely, even in this cold. Very, very happy with that. More poop and leaves to come! And more to pile on top of some of the beds in the main area I garden in, at my neighbor's house.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  sanderson on 11/24/2013, 2:04 am

Marc,  Any possibility of photos.  I have a hard time visualizing your gardening situation.  Large compost piles, neighbor raised beds, a hill up or down the back of the house, and small potted area?

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  camprn on 11/24/2013, 7:44 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:
So now that the first frost has come, it's time to plant my garlic.  Still need to get some straw, though, for mulch.  Will probably put row cover over it.
Row cover will be counter productive and unnecessary. The mulch I am going to use is simply dried leaves and then snow. The purpose of covering the frozen garlic bed is to maintain stable frozen temps during winter. This reduces the chance of fluctuating freezing and thawing which will cause MM to heave and damage the roots.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  gwennifer on 11/24/2013, 1:28 pm

Was down to 21 degrees F the other night at my place. The frost on the North side of my house never thawed the entire day, even though it warmed above freezing, since the angle of the sun kept that side in the shade all day.

My husband is in property management and every now and then for various reasons, his company ends up with a rental agreement where the tenants aren't responsible for yard maintenance. This is a new start up business, so that means my husband does it himself. I joke with him that he started this business with the hope of getting away from the desk (he was a computer programmer for years and years), and look at him now - cleaning out gutters and mowing lawns! Anyway, he's spent the last couple of weeks dealing with leaves.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and I volunteered to meet him at his last place with the kids and help him out. Wow! I'm so impressed with the number of leaves one mature maple tree can throw down. We spent three solid hours stuffing bags with leaves. I lost track of how many... Twenty bags? Thirty? Never in my life did I ever get to jump in an enormous pile of leaves like I'd seen in books. All my kids got to yesterday! Too fun.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  boffer on 11/24/2013, 2:07 pm

Did you bring all those bags home for composting?

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  gwennifer on 11/24/2013, 4:23 pm

No I didn't keep the leaves. Not that I ever had room for that big of a compost operation, but I ordinarily could have kept a few bags at least. However in the spring I had taken my little composting area apart to clear space for a contractor I'd hired to build a shed for me. Long story short, the contractor cheated me and abandoned the job. Since the work is incomplete, I haven't been able to re-assemble my compost bin. I've missed it.

This time of year, the local waste water utility sends out coupons for free leaf disposal at the local yard debris recycling companies. That's where hubby has taken all the leaves. I'll buy back a yard or two of the finished leaf compost next spring/summer. It's good stuff - dark and fine and not full of twigs and pebbles. I think prices have gone up but last time I bought some I paid $18 for a cubic yard. I use it to top dress all the beds around the house every couple of years.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 11/25/2013, 1:25 am

@sanderson wrote:Marc,  Any possibility of photos.  I have a hard time visualizing your gardening situation.  Large compost piles, neighbor raised beds, a hill up or down the back of the house, and small potted area?
Yeah, that's about it. I don't have a camera, but can borrow one. Maybe I'll take some snaps soon. Though there's not much to show, since most of the raised beds are idle and most of the pots aren't producing any real growth; heck, some of my stuff (like spinach) still looks like seedlings even though planted in late August and September, since the pots are almost all where I don't get much sun. I don't get much action except for summer, in my neighbor's raised beds.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  boffer on 12/3/2013, 2:05 pm

Yesterday, the forecast looked ominous, so I dug up a couple weeks worth of carrots and beets. Woke up to an inch of snow, and it's not disappearing.

They're projecting overnight lows in the mid-teens next week, so I'll probably have to pull the remaining 8 squares of carrots before their TT freezes up solid. Darn, that makes one less garden fresh veggie until spring.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/3/2013, 3:48 pm

I may have missed my window for planting garlic. I kept reading to plant it after the first snow or freeze, but we didn't have either until a month later than normal. Now that I got my cue, the ground is staying frozen. Oh well, live and learn. I'll keep my eye out for an incursion of warmer temperature.

At least the lambsquarters/mache/corn salad has come up. It's not doing anything, though, but maybe good things are going on root-wise under the surface. I've planted a few seeds in indoor pots, too. The last ones planted outside took a month to sprout! Let's see how long these few take. I think I'll bring some more pots in and see if I can sprout more.

The youngest dog made the biggest mess I've ever seen her make, today. I came out back and found she had dragged one of my one-gallon plastic pots up onto the deck and spread its soil across and deep into the fibres of our three dog trampoline beds, all over the ground everywhere around them, and all over the stairs, floor, and even plugging up the holes in the outdoor mats by the stairs. The hoses are all rolled up for the winter so I didn't know what to do except sweep the deck as best I could and move the trampolines out into an area where the rain might eventually clean them. They're what keep out dogs off the wet deck, though, so we're kind in a pickle. I put them out back to dry off after taking them on runs, during which they inevitably splash through ponds. Now I can't leave then out there in near-freezing weather anymore because they'd just be putting their wet bodies directly on the wet deck. They're Australian shepherds and have thick, very good coats for winter, and can normally take the cold very well, but now ... I guess I'll have to let them dry off in the mudroom. Kind of a dismal way to spend their time drying off. That little dog is adorable, but holy cow is she keen on chewing things and she's always after my pots and small garden area out back. No matter how many times I yell at her, she just seems to get worse.

On another note, some of the uncovered peas have finally started to wilt under the pressure of the cold. We've rarely hit anything like freezing, or hit it for long, but it has happened here and there.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  sanderson on 12/3/2013, 11:58 pm

Newbie here.  Any way to sun treat the soil enough to get the garlic in?

I know Aussies are full of energy, but a trampoline??  How novel.  My daughter has a young Aussie that wrecks terror on her neat and clean life.  Gets along with the cats but a dog is not a cat.  Duh.  I tried to warn her but she wouldn't listen.  (I'm just her Mother)  Carpet, boots, dead wild turkeys, and heaven knows what else on the horse ranch where she is caretaker of Freisens.  She's trying to get a career started but can't leave the house without caging her.  Sniff.  Desperately needs a new forever home.  Daughter now freely and loudly admits that she is not a dog person.  Gorgeous, sweet purebred, but she is an Aussie  bounce, not a greyhound sawing logs  !

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/4/2013, 12:22 am

Amazingly smart and wonderfully beautiful dogs (most of them), but they definitely need a job to do or they start going bonkers with boredom. They can slow down with age -- this one's mommy is quite sedate -- but when they're in the full flush of youthful health and hormones, they can be unstoppable.

The trampolines I'm referring to are just cloth stretched tight over a metal frame to form a surface to lay down on, not the bouncy-type deals.

Re heating the soil, we'll see. I think I'm kind of spent-out for this year, but money and energy-wise. If I can plant the garlic, fine; if not, I'll wait till we get a warm stretch. Weather supposed to hit 17 degrees on Thursday -- that's VERY cold for our location!

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/8/2013, 5:06 pm

Pipes froze. Down to 10 degrees, and a few inches of snow. My pots, covered and uncovered alike, are topped with a few inches of snow. I don't want to lift off the row covers I draped over them to check on them, as that would let that insulating blanket of snow slip off. I'm very curious how that stuff is doing, but I'm going to just let myself stay curious.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  gwennifer on 12/9/2013, 1:36 pm

Nice display of self control Marc.  Razz  My three year old came down with the girls all excited about the snow last Friday but when he saw my table top beds had snow on top too he exclaimed "Oh no mom, your gardens are ruined!". He was very concerned for me; it was sweet. (I got him sorted out.)

Eleven degrees here overnight. Supposed to warm up into the forties and start raining this week - that should wipe out all the snow but hopefully we'll avoid any black ice or freezing rain during the transition.

We braved the cold to drive up into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with our $5 Christmas Tree permit on Saturday. I didn't get the lights on until yesterday and this is the first year that the process nearly reduced me to tears. Boy oh boy. It started out with a very expensive purchase of new LED lights and the discovery upon plugging in the first string that I'm one of the peeps that can perceive the strobe-like flicker. Back to Costco they go.

Question: How many of you notice that flicker from LED light strings? When I looked it up (to see whether it was an actual thing or I just had a defective set) I discovered apparently not everybody notices it. If you do see it, it's typically in your peripheral vision (out of the corner of your eye, so to speak) or when either you or the lights are moving.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/9/2013, 1:56 pm

People have the same problems with flourescent lights and the CRT tubes we all used to use in our computer monitors and TV sets. I normally only see it when turning my head sideways to the light. Except some flourescents almost anyone can see flickering, and I seem to be especially sensitive to flourescents flickering. It's very irritating and even kind of disorienting in a way because it's hard to concentrate or look at anything normally when the light level keeps changing. That's one reason I will be seriously mourning the loss of incandescent bulbs.

Why were you reduced to (almost) tears?

Up here, a neighbor called and said he thinks that if my pipes froze, it would have been a gradual process starting with them just trickling. Since that didn't happen, he says it's more likely that our well pump burned out, which could be an $800 or so expense. Not good news at all. *sigh*

A couple neighbors called and offered me use of their water if I needed it. Thank goodness for good neighbors! I'll take one of them up on a shower, even though he's a good walk away. I don't know that I ever much did, but now I'm definitely not liking the smell of me.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  sanderson on 12/9/2013, 4:08 pm

Well, this is a caution against LED for those of us who are sensitive to fluorescent lights.  I like incandescent lights.  Period.  Turn on, turn off.  Throw burned out bulbs in the recycling bin.  Fluorescent lights have mercury and are supposed to be properly disposed.  Ha!  How many folks have bagged the tubes and then smashed them to fit the bag in the garbage bin??  Or broke one and just dry-swept up the mess??

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/9/2013, 6:12 pm

YIKES, Mark!!!!  Uuuugghhhh!  Having lived with wells for water for the last 10 years - there's never a good time to lose one.  They are so expensive to repair and so easily broken  Sad   Hope yours turns out to be an inexpensive and quick fix.
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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/9/2013, 6:45 pm

Thanks, Audrey.

I'm taking many trips outside to find untrampled snow to take inside and turn into drinkable water. Neighbors offered water, but carrying it up our hill would be ridiculously tough. Easier to shovel up some snow outside. But cold! I do it with gloves off because I don't want to get the snow any dirtier than necessary, and my gloves have been known to do some disreputable things around the compost pile.

Also just got a big plastic barrel out we were using for holding dog food bags and filled it about a third full with snow, some of it a little dirtier than the pristine stuff I've been using for potable water. That will go into the toilet tanks. Not sure if it's safe to flush the toilets though, of if that's asking for disaster. I guess I don't even know if my pipes are really frozen, since a neighbor suggested it was more likely that they weren't and that the pump had burnt out.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  plantoid on 12/9/2013, 8:08 pm

Use the snow water for flushing the toilet .

 filter it through several soft close knit clean kitchen cloths  
 don't store it for much more than a day due to bacteria being able to breed in it in  the warmth of the home .
Use it for rinsing off things like dirt on veg with the skins on before you peel them but not for  food preparation  or consumption or washing food dishes and pans dishes.


 To use it for the food side of things boil it for 6 minutes on a slow rolling boil to sterilize it and let it cool , pour into clean capped containers. It will be Ok for around three days if kept in a fridge or in a cool garage ( where it should not freeze ???  Laughing )

In the bad winters of the early 1950's & 1960's , when we couldn't get the lid off the well to draw buckets of water. We used to melt the snow in a big tin bath in the living room ( only room to have any heat ),   filter it through four folded dish drying towels and put  it back outside to freeze in small covered buckets .

Once frozen dad would bring the bucket inside to start it melting  to free the ice off the bucket wall  then take it outside again , bang the bucket with a bit of wood whilst it was upside down till the chunk of ice dropped out onto the snow.
Then he'd whack the chunk of ice with an axe to break the ice in to jam pan size bits , then put the chunks on the clean packed snow pad he'd made in a clean split open paper stock feed bag ,  cover them with a split open animal paper feed sack & weighted it down.

 Got my butt thrashed by my father for letting the dog pee on the paper sacks one time  Sad  , yellow snow is a dead give away  Laughing .

 We then got  chunks of ice , put it in the big old jam pan when  we needed drinking or cooking water etc. and boiled it up on the open cooking range fire . T'was a very labour intensive time  for Mum.

 As kids we thought this was brilliant as we didn't have to get washed night and morning  in the cold water out the well . We just went about our daily lives with a slightly stronger  personal aroma .......just like everyone else in the same situation.

 
 I seem to recall ( brains a bit feeble these days  Sad )

That a foot of snow will make an inch of water,
three inches of ice will make an inch of water 

 Snow uses far more energy & time than ice to become boiling water

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/9/2013, 9:36 pm

Thanks for the tips, plantoid. Your thought about the water spoiling makes me reconsider leaving it out and unrefrigerated.

I haven't been storing up much water, but I did bring two five-gallon buckets and a big plastic barrel about a third full of ice in the house to slowly melt. I'll use that water for the toilet tank. A few trips outside got me enough water for a pitcher and an almost full stock pot. The dogs drink more water than I do, so they'll go through a lot of that. But there's still plenty of clean snow out there.

It takes lots of trips with lots of pots and bowls to get it, though! I wish I had a single clean five-gallon bucket, but everything big around here has been used for gardening.

A friend who lives a couple miles away has it worse. He hasn't had heat for two days. So I'm counting my blessings, even if this is turning out to be a bit of a hassle.

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  gwennifer on 12/10/2013, 2:51 pm

Plantoid, what a thorough and helpful response.  I'm always touched by the time and effort you put into helping people on this forum.  

Marc, re: reduced to tears over the lights, I guess I just sometimes feel the urge to succumb to the stereotypical womanly response of crying when things get overwhelming.   Wink  We'd gotten the tree Saturday and of course the kids were so excited and wanted to decorate it.  But then I discovered my new lights had that awful flicker and it was a no-go.  Had to send them to bed disappointed but with promises of being able to do it after church the next day.  Sunday comes and the day goes on and I keep having to tell them "after this", "after that", "not yet", "please be patient".  Finally after dinner I'm in there putting the old sets of incandescent lights up.  All goes fairly well.  One string gave me a scare after only coming on half way once it had been strung (it had been fine before I strung it), but I found a broken bulb and it behaved by working when replaced.  Then I check the final string and it will only light half way.  I only have exactly enough lights to fill this tree so I've got to get this string to work.  I spent an hour troublesooting that string of lights, only to end up with the first half still not working, and now half of the second half not working.  So yeah, I felt like crying.  

But I recovered, took a deep breath, pulled myself up and got back to work.  I ended up being able to finish the tree by re-claiming a shorter string from one of the bushes outside and connecting it to another string that only lit halfway to get the same length as the broken one I'd spent so much time on.  Whew!

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 12/12/2013, 6:24 pm

Hooray! The well guys came a day early and fixed us all up! Fresh water at last! Washed dishes! (yecch, what a relief to get rid of the dirty dishes) Showers! Clean clothes!

The pipes were frozen down at the well head. The guys thawed them out and then re-wrapped the pipes where local critters, probably mice, had eaten away the insulation. Also, they gave a recommendation for back up at the house, far up the hill from our well-head: get a heat lamp. There's a junction where pipes from the ground divert water into the house's pipes, and because it is typically narrow, it tends to be one of the first and most likely areas to freeze up and prevent water from flowing.

Can't get a heat lamp for the well-head itself, though. No outlet! If the wire run down from the house to the well-head was robust enough, I was told, it's possible an electrician can split it and use it to power a separate plug for a heater. Right now, though, we just have to hope the insulation holds in the sub-freezing weather we continue to expect throughout the week.

Total cost: $160.00. Hope we don't need another visit. Advised to keep two taps on, trickling fairly quickly, whenever we're around freezing. I can't imagine everyone in cold climates has to do this, but, well, we do.

Marc Iverson

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

Post  gwennifer on 12/13/2013, 5:59 pm

Hooray!

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Re: PNW: Winter 2014

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