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New England MARCH 2015

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  sanderson on 3/28/2015, 1:06 am

@FRED58 wrote:My early tomatoes are determinate , but the catalogue says they are small plants. The Long Keepers and San Marzano are indeterminate. Any info on the weave?
The Florida weave is like barrel racing (horse + rodeo) from a pole at one end to the other end, left and rightweaving of the string/twine.  You tube for videos.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/28/2015, 8:53 am

@NHGardener wrote:
Edit: Aha. Sow the beet seeds directly in the soil, 4 weeks before last frost date. It looks like my last frost date is May 13, so hopefully the snow will be gone in mid-April, and I'll set the beet seeds out there around then. They say to seed again in 2 weeks to keep the supply going.

In that case I need to get my beets planted out NOW. How can they possibly be OK with being stuck out in this cold rainy/snowy weather? The Cape probably won't see 50 for another month.


Meanwhile, back indoors, the 2 varieties of chard have spouted but both with a bad germination rates. 2014 packs. I guess if the beets are going out, I could put the chard seed out, too, since they are from the same family. They sure look alike.

Went to my summer neighbors house this morning to retrieve my frozen veggies from her freezer. Sometime during the 3 mths of my being snowed out of her house, her freezer thawed. It was pretty gross & stinky in there but I was able to fill a 5 gallon bucket for composting. Good thing I had just brought home a bag of shredded office paper. Layered it up with the rotten veggies, poured on some kefir and snapped on the lid. Should be good mixer if my compost pile should ever decide to emerge from the silly snow drift covering that corner of the yard.

OK, heading out into the sleet to find some thawed MM for beets & chard.
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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 11:20 am

Quiltbea, I need you.

You posted photos I think 2 years in a row of the beautiful perennial flower bushes that blossom and spread, I believe yours were red. Was that bee balm? I have bee balm seeds and I'm about to indoor seed them, but I forget if your photo was of bee balm or another type of spreading beautifully flowering kind of bush, because I have borage stuck in my mind too, but I don't think that bushes like bee balm does, and I think borage is an annual.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/28/2015, 11:42 am

Borage is forever!

I just raked out a couple of dozen sproutlings the other day, and quite a few remain. They delight in re-seeding themselves until they take over your garden.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  mollyhespra on 3/28/2015, 12:07 pm

I think you're thinking about Bee Balm. Borage has blue flowers and can grow large, has prickly leaves, and is very attractive to pollinators. Bee Balm can grow to 2-3 feet tall and the hummingbirds love it!. I wouldn't call either a bush, though. Also, Bee Balm is in the mint family and can become invasive. I have mine planted in a large pot that I buried to within 2" of the top to try to contain the roots, but I wasn't careful about deadheading so I'm fearing what will happen in the Spring... Embarassed

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  quiltbea on 3/28/2015, 12:17 pm

NHG.....Yes, its bee balm a.k.a. Monarda.  Mine is a Raspberry 'something'  variety and it spreads.  Mine has to be about 5' tall by fall.  I'd say yes, its invasive because mine has spread quite a bit, even after my having my grandson pull out most of it a couple years ago.  I've had it about 6 years now and it pretty much stays in one particular area of my garden as long as I remove the new sprouts that inch along the ground and try to spread further.  Its beloved by bees.  I have bees all over those flowers all the time and even though I walk thru my garden daily, I've never been stung.  I leave them alone and they leave me alone.  They just want my pollen.
Try to use it as a backdrop, because as I said, its so very tall.
And no, mine is definitely not a bush.  Each spike that pops up is separate and has its own flower on top.  Maybe they spread from underground runners.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/28/2015, 12:33 pm

I agree with you as to how Monarda spreads.  I planted two last year, neither of which bloomed.  They're coming back with a vengeance!

Didn't know how tall they grow!  I may have to transplant them to my back yard.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 1:24 pm

Thank you!!!

One of the things I'm working on for this summer is pollinator gardens. My hope is to eventually get nice almost wildflower-y perennial pollinator gardens with paths winding through. Even tho bee balm sounds a little hard to control, actually for me that sounds like less work on my end. Smile Smile 

So far it looks like 4 of my 5 beehives have survived the winter (altho we won't really know what shape they're in until it's warm enough to get a good look inside) so any nectar source for them in a plus. And then I heard they attract hummingbirds and I believe butterflies?

Monarchs are in big trouble, so anything to support the monarchs is good too. Not that bee balm does, I'm not sure about that.

By the way, my mother took me to the butterfly gardens in south Florida. Wow, what an experience. The butterflies all over. I got her one of the butterfly plants and planted it in her backyard, and it's true, it does attract butterflies, and it's really relaxing to watch the butterflies flit around the plants.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  camprn on 3/28/2015, 1:33 pm

Monarda will, in my experience, spread if it is happy where it is. And will peter out if conditions are not good.

NHG, congrats on your 4 surviving colonies. I still have one living. I checked on them yesterday, sort of. The drop board had capping dust and there was good heat coming out the top entrance. When it warms up again next week I will actually open up the hive and slip them some more fondant and a pollen patty if needs be.

I too am expanding my pollinator friendly perennial beds each year, as money will allow.


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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/28/2015, 1:35 pm

I've planted Bee Balm 3 different times from 3 different sources in 3 different lighting situations. They have never returned. Could my soil be too acidic for them? ph runs about 7 throughout the perennial gardens.

This is one reason I'm worried about the few Borage seeds I have. Nothing takes over here except gout weed & English ivy.

Snowing full force now but not sticking. Got the beets & chard seeds planted out just in time.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  camprn on 3/28/2015, 2:01 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:I've planted Bee Balm 3 different times from 3 different sources in 3 different lighting situations.  They have never returned.  Could my soil be too acidic for them?  ph runs about 7 throughout the perennial gardens.

This is one reason I'm worried about the few Borage seeds I have.  Nothing takes over here except gout weed & English ivy.  

Snowing full force now but not sticking.   Got the beets & chard seeds planted out just in time.

CC
Oh dear.... it is likely a soil problem. Time to maybe send a soil sample to UMASS Amherst.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 2:10 pm

Glad for your surviving hive, camprn! (maybe you can make splits from it?) It was a rough winter. 2 friends had 2 hives each that did not make it, one friend has 5 hives and all hers made it. I'm sold on quilt boxes with shavings lining them, and I think an insulation board in the top. I'm also sold on making sugar blocks using only Bragg's apple cider vinegar and sugar, no water. And, also sold on Russians.

CC, what about indoor seeding your bee balm and then putting it out? Nurse it thru the germination and early growth stage?

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  camprn on 3/28/2015, 2:57 pm

I've got a package with a Russian queen coming in about 3 weeks and a northern raised nuc coming from Troy Hall in Plainfield in a few months. I am hoping to make a split of my living hive and hope for some Russian drones to be available. What a Face

https://vimeo.com/55359908

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/28/2015, 3:03 pm

@NHGardener wrote:
CC, what about indoor seeding your bee balm and then putting it out? Nurse it thru the germination and early growth stage?

I have only planted them from starts - 2 from friends (1 just last summer so we'll see) and 1 from a nursery.  I don't think I've ever seeded Bee Balm unless it's part of a wildflower mix, in which case it didn't germinate.  

Actually, Camp, Agway does soil testing for free and they are on my way to work.  Thanks for jogging my memory.  All my perennials and veggies grow great in my beds except Bee Balm...  *shrug* and nothing that I want to be invasive IS.

My new Nexus tablet is here and updating. Crazy thing picked up all my info and settings from the other one with the broken screen so there's not much I have to do. Technology is wild these days!

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  camprn on 3/28/2015, 3:18 pm

Blarg! I had a broken screen last year. Had the screen replaced by one of those iCracked guys. DId you get the same one or a different one?

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 3:37 pm

@camprn wrote:I've got a package with a Russian queen coming in about 3 weeks and a northern raised nuc coming from Troy Hall in Plainfield in a few months. I am hoping to make a split of my living hive and hope for some Russian drones to be available. What a Face

https://vimeo.com/55359908
Yup, Troy came and talked to our club some months back, maybe it was even a year or so ago... Lucky you! He's a pretty far drive for us from here, unfortunately. But yay to northern queen growers!

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 3:39 pm

Agway does free soil samples???? Wow!

CC, I'd get some bee balm seeds and try starting on your own. Who knows what amendments they might have put in there that might not have worked for you. I swapped for some celery seedlings once that had been dowsed with Miracle Gro, and those things never did end up producing like my own much smaller celery seedlings.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 3:44 pm

Okay, got these seeded this morning:

Onions
Lettuce
Celery
Kale
Peppers
Tomatoes
Eggplants
Broccoli
Basil
Oregano
Parsley
Sunflowers
Bee Balm
Calendula

Stacked 2 trays to a heat mat, we'll see what happens!

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/28/2015, 4:13 pm

Yeah, QB & NHG on the seed starting!!!
cheers

@camprn wrote:Blarg! I had a broken screen last year. Had the screen replaced by one of those iCracked guys. Did you get the same one or a different one?

I bought a new 'used' Nexus 7, same as before. It appears to be new but was only half the price. The broken one needed a new digitizer, glass & bezel which on Amazon was going to cost about $12 less than this used one from Amazon. I figured I'd get #2 instead of just the parts so I'd have some spare parts if the need ever arises.

Then I found out that I can attach a mouse to my old broken one and use the cursor to work it. The adapter is 99 cents, free shipping. Amazing.

Are you guys getting snow, too?

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  quiltbea on 3/28/2015, 5:32 pm

NHG.....That's quite a list of crops you started today.  My starts will be limited I think.  Instead of 3 growlights (4-footers) I want to keep them down to only the one and maybe the 2-footer that sits on my antique Singer sewing machine if I'm stretched.
Today I started my Kalettes in a 6-pack.  I'm curious to see what that's all about.  Sounds nifty.
My perennial flower seeds arrived from Pinetree today along with my dwarf Siberian and some Red Russian kale seeds.  Those, of course, can be started right out in the gardens so I'm not wasting space indoors for kale this year.
Around the 5th I'll start Basils and my peppers.
I'll buy my broccoli and Brussels sprouts, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage and parsley starts this year and forget about cauliflower and cabbage since most of my raised beds will be reserved for perennial flower bushes.  All the herbs will be going into the flower bed but the onion chives I have growing in one of the raised beds I'll leave alone to thrive, just thin it out so it remains in its corner.
I still plan to grow sugar snap peas.  I absolutely love those, but I can keep trellises going behind the perennial flowers so space won't be a problem there.  According to my calendar, I should have sown my first peas around St Pat's Day but the weather didn't cooperate so they'll be late starting as soon as the snow melts from my beds.
It feels so good to nearly feel spring is around the corner now.

Good luck NHG and others that are starting their seeds.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/28/2015, 7:48 pm

CC - It did snow here, showers all day, didn't accumulate but looked like February all over again....

quiltbea - Kalettes! Where did you get those? I really want to try them but they haven't crossed my path yet. And what kind of perennial flowers are you planting? Was it a seed mix, or are you planting individuals? 

And St. Patrick's day for peas? Wow! I don't remember that. I was looking back a few years in the archives here to see when I planted what before, and ran across my try at indoor seeding peas which ended up growing over a foot tall in my bedroom by the time all the snow melted, ha! I had to start over. But you're right, the almanac says: Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost. Last spring frost here I believe is May 13 so if I can at least get them into the soil by April 13, I won't feel too badly.

I also ran across in the archives how it was in the EIGHTIES a few years ago in March. Wow. And no snow on the ground. Hard to imagine that.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  quiltbea on 3/28/2015, 11:06 pm

I got my Kalettes at Johnnyseeds, they are F1 so not heirlooms that can be saved for the next year.  They are a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, grow on tall stalks like BS  and need 110-138 days depending on variety.  I got the early one that should take about 110 days to maturity.  They sport tiny kale florets along their stalks which are harvested when they are 2" in diameter.
I can't wait to try them.  Its a first for me.
I'd share some with you but I already shared with 2 others on this board and I only got 25 seeds so can't spread it any thinner this year.

I made a mistake.  Last year I sowed outdoors my peas on April 19th, not in March.  I don't know why St Pat's Day stuck in my mind.  It was a month different.

The seeds I got for perennials are:  Campanula (Canterbury Bells), Painted Daisy, Dianthus, Malva, Rudbeckia, Showy Goldeneye, and Scabiosa.  I'll buy a couple of starts also, maybe Columbine, Coreopsis and Astilbe which are better started from plants.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/29/2015, 12:33 am

Thanks, quiltbea! Wow, only 25 seeds in a packet. I'll be interested to know what you think of the kalettes. I didn't even order seeds this year (yet anyway) - I only bought Fortex beans, daikon radish, and beets, from the local retailer. I did order two pawpaws and a sea kale though, and also some trees from Fedco: a Madison peach, a cherry, 2 chestnuts, and a linden, but those won't arrive until April.

Ah, April 19 for the peas. That fits the 4-6 week window, so that's good news for us, hopefully we'll be all melted by then, hopefully!...

I saw that last year our last frost day ended up being in late April. Let's see what happens this year.

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/29/2015, 2:12 pm

I put the babies out for a wee bit of sun and breeze today.  
I considered planting them out into the SFG this afternoon since it's supposed to be overcast and a bit rainy tomorrow, but then remembered they hadn't been hardened off yet.  Any thoughts on putting kale & collards out before hardening off?  How about lettuce on a cloudy day?

Meanwhile, Miss Lilly wonders why the rest didn't go out so she can have her window back...tomatoes, peppers, leeks:

And, making it's annual appearance for our gardening pleasure...MY COMPOST PILE!
*and the crowd roars*

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

Post  NHGardener on 3/29/2015, 3:57 pm

Wish I could help you there CC, but it's so far from where my snow mound is right now that I can't even venture a guess. What do you think your soil temp is?

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Re: New England MARCH 2015

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