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PNW: September 2014

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/17/2014, 5:34 pm

Just outside, in the front of the house. We have a hill we wanted to prevent erosion on, so we planted a ground cover that fixes its roots so thoroughly into the soil that they're extremely hard to get out.
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/18/2014, 2:30 pm

We had a real legit rainy night. What a relief! And what a relief for the people fighting fires, and the endangered towns. A town not far across the California border named Weed was pretty much wiped out, from what I'm reading. There are a few fires around, and some are huge. In addition, we had a terrible drought this year, significantly lowering the water table in some places, so the rain couldn't possibly be more welcome.

In a significant step forward for clumsy segues, what's not welcome is my continuing gray aphid infestation. I smush and smash and smear them, and they just come back the next day as strong as ever, gooping up the underside of all my mustard leaves. They go right past the lettuce. Not an aphid on the lettuce. They strongly prefer the mustard, and tend to concentrate on the youngest, inner leaves, curling and stunting them. So no new normal size leaves are coming out. I've really been loving that mustard, so am pretty disappointed they're having their previously abundant growth halted in its tracks. And I don't look forward to these aphids overwintering and coming back next spring.

I guess the smear and spray is going to be an everyday thing. Unfortunately, it's impossible not to have some live aphids escape, and I read each one can produce 500 babies without even needing a mate, so it's hard to imagine getting them under control. Today they got a spray combo of insecticidal soap, neem, and spinosad. Even though spinosad is not supposed to help against aphids, we do have cabbage butterflies around here too, so I might as well dose against them.

Also, some of the bean leaves turned yellow overnight. I'm guessing it got too cold for them. There have been colder nights than last night, but probably the rain and windchill amplified the cold. It's back up to almost 100 degrees by Saturday, so I hope the beans can weather these couple of cooler days and nights and get back to feeling fine.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/18/2014, 5:35 pm

Oops, the rain split open a lot of tomatoes.  Had to pick some less than perfectly ripe.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/18/2014, 7:24 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:Oops, the rain split open a lot of tomatoes.  Had to pick some less than perfectly ripe.

nice harvest,  Marc! Okay, so tell me about the purple leaves. Is that basil? Also what are those round green things in the very back? Even enlarged the picture and still can't figure it out...

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/18/2014, 8:10 pm

Yup, the purple leaves are Purple Ruffles basil. I love this basil; last year and this one, the plants produced many leaves, withstood all kinds of tough weather and varying amounts of sunlight, did well in pots and in beds, were wonderfully fragrant and tasty, and I think they're beautiful enough to be grown as ornamentals as well as for food. The photo shows mostly the underside of the leaves; their tops have a more saturated, even prettier look.

The green and yellow things in the back are figs. The earliest ones were bigger, but these smaller ones just keep on coming. We trimmed off a few of the fig tree's limbs that were taking over a walking path, so I plucked all but the really small figs before taking the branches to the burn pile.

At a certain point they turn soft and edible even when green or green/yellow, but are best when yellow. We'll eat them as they ripen. There are still more on the rest of the tree, but I picked all the lazy-picker ones. For the rest I'll need to drag out a ladder. Very Happy
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  sanderson on 9/19/2014, 3:11 am

Last I read, 143 homes destroyed in Weed, CA. Another big one en route to Tahoe.

PS I'll take those rain-swollen split tomatoes anytime. Very Happy The single volunteer and 3 cherries are blushing.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  FamilyGardening on 9/21/2014, 7:41 am

what a beautiful fall we are having here in our PNW gardens Very Happy

Tomato harvest from Saturday....includes that huge Amish paste one.....just amazing....going to try and get a food scale to see what the large one weighs....want to grow these paste tomatoes again next year.....

The Amish paste ones are the more round looking tomatoes....when smaller they have kind of a tear drop look to them......The San Marzano are the more pointing looking tomato and they are VERY meaty....the most meaty tomato that I have ever cooked with....



one of the smaller Amish paste cut open



San Marzano cut open




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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  FamilyGardening on 9/21/2014, 7:47 am

Marc...... your figs sound wonderful.....I have never tasted a fresh fig before...do you need to peel them? or just eat them whole?....also do you have to bring the tree in for the winter? or can they survive the cold?.....and do you think they would grow well in a large container?.....I have been thinking about getting a fig tree....just not sure where to plant it....but if it would do well in a container then it would be easier for us to have one.....all the photos and video's that I have seen with fresh figs....makes me want to grow them Very Happy

Sanderson....that's really terrible to hear about all those homes being destroyed Sad

Boffer your veggies look lovely!.....great harvest you are having!.....are you surprised on how well our summer went?.....we heard that our winter is going to be mild this year.....have you been hearing the same?

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Judy McConnell on 9/21/2014, 9:20 am

Rose, I can speak for brown turkey figs (they're about 1-1 1/2 inch long).  These have a thin skin and you don't have to peel them before eating. Really don't think the somewhat larger ones need peeling either.

They are sweet and if you have too many, you can can them, dehydrate them, etc.

The first 5 years that I had mine, it was in a container and was dragged inside each late fall -- that got to be a royal pain and I finally planted it in a sheltered spot outside.  It did fine and grew and grew (reaching 20ft tall), living through the next 10 years.  However last winter was a beast and it died back.

Thought I had lost it until it began leafing out this spring.  No figs this year- but next year it should be producing.  I did put photos in a couple of threads.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t16614-help-brown-turkey-fig-tree-needs-pruning


Last edited by Judy McConnell on 9/21/2014, 9:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add link)
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  sanderson on 9/21/2014, 11:59 am

FG, Nice photos of the Amish and San Marzano.

Figs - such an ancient food staple. I love dried figs, and like fresh figs, skin and all.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  camprn on 9/21/2014, 12:02 pm

FG, those tomatoes are lovely!

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  quiltbea on 9/21/2014, 12:14 pm

The crops sure look good in the PNW.  I especially love the red of those tomatoes.  Good job folks.
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/21/2014, 2:48 pm

FamilyGardening wrote:Marc...... your figs sound wonderful.....I have never tasted a fresh fig before...do you need to peel them? or just eat them whole?....also do you have to bring the tree in for the winter? or can they survive the cold?.....and do you think they would grow well in a large container?.....I have been thinking about getting a fig tree....just not sure where to plant it....but if it would do well in a container then it would be easier for us to have one.....all the photos and video's that I have seen with fresh figs....makes me want to grow them Very Happy

Rose, the figs have a soft skin. You just pop 'em in your mouth whole when they're small ones, and two bites should be enough to get through even the largest ones, which are about double the size of the ones in the photo.

Re bringing the tree in for the winter, I guess it would depend on your climate, and having one in a pot would make it more vulnerable than in the soil, I think, because it would be less insulated and more subject to repeated freezing and thawing. We got down to at least 15 degrees during the daytime here last winter, and more like 8 at night, and our tree did fine. We take no care of it whatsoever. It's in decomposed granite soil, horrible stuff, and goes through months of 100 degree weather in the summer without our giving it a drop of water. It's a sturdy plant.

I never knew people grew them in pots until recently, when I met a couple of people who do. It's apparently quite common to do that with fig trees, at least around here. So it sounds pretty doable for you.
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/21/2014, 3:53 pm

Rose, mine is in a pot into its 2nd yr now.  I didn't take it inside for winter but left it up against the south side of the house as Brown Turkey fig is good to zone 7 ...
(Geeze, a fox just walked right by the porch I'm sitting on...they are so brazen this year!)
... but our temps headed down to -5 which is unheard of here.  I thought I'd killed it but it came back quite late & ever so slowly.  Didn't get any figs though.

I also have this little one started from last yes trimmings, along with this little apple tree from seed, that I need to figure out what to do with.

Marc, did you plant your fig tree yourself or did it come with the house?  I would like to plant my potted one but there's a bizarre step that says to wall off the planting hole.  Wonder if I could just cut off the bottom of the pot and plant the whole shebang.?  Although cutting that pot could be a bear...it's pretty thick.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/21/2014, 11:36 pm

Don't just cut out the bottom. Our master gardening course recommended strongly against that. Most trees spread a lot of roots at the surface if they get the chance, which not only helps them get more water and nutrients, but helps stabilize them in the wind.

If it were me, I would get a bigger pot than the one you have. A small black pot like that can get awfully hot and dry in the summer, and there's not a lot there to insulate the roots in the winter either.

Our fig tree, my mother planted herself.

I'm not sure what walling off the planting hole means. Our class was taught to create a large hole and blend the soils gradually with your potting soil as you get further away from the root ball, so it's a smooth transition. Otherwise roots can sometimes simply stop at a different textured and/or poorer soil, or even start circling right there in the soil.
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  sanderson on 9/22/2014, 12:42 am

My guess is that the roots are invasive and that keeping the sides intact is an impossible attempt to make the roots only go down. rofl

http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/fig.html

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/24/2014, 7:47 pm

I went out to check the garden today and one of the bowls I use to give bees a watering spot, which was empty the day before, now has a couple of inches of water in it. Nice solid rain today, supposedly sunny tomorrow, rainy the next day, sunny the next. However we can get the rain at last, I like it.

I cleaned out the gutters last night in expectation of rain. Just in time!

Beans are still producing, but we're going to be having nights in the mid-40's now. I wonder how long they'll hold out.

I also wonder -- should I pick the ones I'm letting ripen as a seed crop? Or just let them hang around, rain or shine, until right before frost?
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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  sanderson on 9/25/2014, 2:54 am

Rain!! Good for you, Marc.

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Re: PNW: September 2014

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/25/2014, 10:56 pm

Garden stuff picked between rains ...



Broccoli raab and lettuce on top, various tomatoes and peppers and some tomatillos on bottom.

The rain washing all the soap and neem off probably didn't help with the aphids at all ... they're in huge clusters now.  They don't do much damage to the big leaves, but they swarm the new inner leaves such that sometimes new leaves don't even come out, effectively ending the plant's productivity.  

I've learned that they really really love broccoli raab and red giant mustard, because the lettuce and two kinds of kale right next to them don't get any visits at all, nor does anything else.  They may love those too, but not enough to leave the BR and mustard.  The lettuce and mustard are heavily interplanted with lobelia in my fence-top boxes, too, but even though the leaves are young and very tender, they're being left alone.

Late blight is doing quite a number on the tomatoes, too.  I'm stripping away branches daily, today enough to fill a big bucket.  Soon the many tomatoes on the plants will have to ripen without any leaves to send them sugar.  Or the wind may just snap off a few key branches and that'll be the end of it.  Strong winds the last week have bent a lot of them pretty badly.
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