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PNW: 2015 July

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PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/1/2015, 5:36 pm

Welcome to the July 2015 PNW thread!

Here's what gardenate recommends for zone 7a:

Beans - climbing (also Pole beans, Runner beans, Scarlet Runners)
Plant in garden.
Cauliflower
Plant in garden.
Chinese cabbage (also Wong bok, wong nga pak)
Start undercover in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.
Mustard greens (also gai choy)
Start undercover in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.
Okra (also Ladyfinger, gumbo)
Plant in garden.
Rocket (also Arugula/Rucola)
Plant in garden.
Sweet corn (also maize)
Plant in garden.

We're also zone 7b here by some reckonings, and we're as hot as much higher zones during the summer, so it's hard to come up with a reliable set of planting guidelines. To some extent, you're just going to have to wing it.

For one thing, bush beans can be planted and still have time to produce here. And corn is generally planted earlier than July. (The old "knee high by the 4th of July" works here.) Some of the most popular crops don't produce a whole lot until the weather cools down toward anywhere from mid-August to mid-September.

So we PNW'ers have to get used to trial and error, and asking around. Enjoy the chatting and asking around this July!







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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/1/2015, 6:17 pm

I'm kinda stuck about what to plant for fall.  Cool crops that I've planted in past years about this time, that did well being direct seeded, aren't faring well.  I think I might dust off the grow lights and try starting some indoors.

I'm still in the 'round to it' phase of planting more beans and cukes.  Given the hot weather this year, there's still time.

Crazy (for here) squash growth in 30 days:

June 1



July 1



Crazy good corn, too.  First planting.  The railing is 4 feet high.



Anaheim and banana peppers in the greenhouse.



It's not a big guy, but it's the first red Brandywine.



Box of beets protected from leaf miners.  Not only did I secure the tulle with battens, but I sprinkled DE along the top of the boxes edges.  I put a yellow sticky card intended to catch bugs inside as another aid.  Don't know if you can see them, but there's bugs stuck to it.  Maybe from the soil?  No sign of leaf miner damage yet though.




You can see all of my July 1 'first of the month' pictures, warts and all, by clicking on the globe icon under my avatar.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/2/2015, 3:34 pm

Looking nice, boffer.

I've discovered a bunch of crinkled and darkened bean leaves, along with whiteflies. The battle begins.

Had some sun scorch on my tomato and bean leaves from yesterday, but it could be much worse. The beans are really taking off, and I ate my first few today! From the Speedy variety that Territorial sold last year and isn't selling this year. Shame because they are good and grew so well for me last year. I hope I get lots of them in good enough shape to keep as seeds.

Huge number of blossoms on one of my brandywines, but no tomatoes on any of them yet. To hot. I had to get up at 6:00 a.m. the last couple days or it would have been too hot to do anything at all. Just got in and showered and feel like I can barely stay awake.



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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2015, 2:04 am

Ack! I think I killed my borage. I moved it to a more open spot and what with this heat we're having, it looks like a single day's sun was enough to kill it. Or at least make it look like it wants to die. I am having a devil of a time getting a borage plant going. This is my second year working at it and I haven't gotten one over an inch high yet.

This was the hottest June in my town since they started keeping records. A story in the local paper says that usually when long-term records are beaten, it's by something like 1/10th of a degree. This time it was four degrees! We had three days around 109, and the rest of the month was plenty hot too. It's 80 degrees here now, at 11:00 p.m. I used to have plenty of worse nights in Southern California, so I'm grateful that at least here, when it gets hot, the nights are still a lot cooler than the days.

On the tomato front, thank goodness I planted some chocolate cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes comfort me when all other tomatoes are dropping their blossoms. I actually have a half dozen fruit on one of the cherries. Otherwise, it's (non)business as usual. At least my Black Krim has finally started getting a little taller. It was paralyzed for a while.

Some beans are having serious problems with bugs and sun scorch. But some are loving the hot weather and growing very quickly. Lots of little flowers starting up. I hope they outgrow their enemies.

And it's a kick watching the scarlet runner beans send their tendrils so quickly up the chain link fence they're next to. I hope I get lots of colorful flowers out of them. And I hope that they somehow manage to grow and give the bush beans around them a little shade, but not too much. Sounds tricky ...

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  sanderson on 7/5/2015, 3:53 am

Gads, this heat. Audrey and I are also suffering here.

It looks like scarlet runner beans are a "green bean," that is, eaten fresh, not boiled after it dries? And, very heat tolerant? If both are yes, I think I will try them next summer.

Borage. My borage is suffering in this heat, especially in the direct sun. I'm starting to prune dead stems. Two are in the covered boxes, 2 are in flower beds. I don't think I will grow it again unless we convert some of the front lawn to more flower beds. The bees and wanna-bees are not visiting them. The cilantro was a bee success, followed by basil. Since cilantro is a main stay in my kitchen, it's a win-win for me to plant cilantro instead of borage. It's too hairy/prickly for me to handle.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/5/2015, 4:04 am

Is it stabby, with the spines getting stuck in your fingers or pricking them?

I'm surprised the bees didn't like it. That's the first rave people tend to make about borage.

How have you liked the flavor?

Re scarlet runner beans, eating them raw even in small quantities can provoke reactions, as is the case with some other beans like kidney beans. When really young, some claim the beans are fine to eat. They are supposedly very good when cooked. And they get huge and can look pretty nice. A nice way to decorate an unsightly fence or wall with red blooms and big leaves. They can get quite tall.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  sanderson on 7/5/2015, 4:34 am

Yes, the spines are painful to me and I have even had some stick in my fingers. I've never eaten it at any stage. My cat loved the young leaves last year, but I think she would throw up each time, and this year she hasn't touched the ones available to her. She still likes a bite or two of zinnia, though. If the bees were attending to them, I would find a way to grow it next year. However, it takes an outside square to grow one as a mature plant so I think I would rather grow more cilantro plants in those squares.

So, cook the scarlet runners when still moist/fresh? Not when they dry out and you shell them for the hard bean seeds. Correct?

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  sanderson on 7/5/2015, 4:47 am

Boffer, Just now looked at your July photos (world globe).  8 carrots??,  39 ??  what it that?  56 I can't imagine growing cabbage in the summer.  
62 ??  68 artichoke?  Everything in the greenhouse looks so healthy.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/5/2015, 10:41 am

@sanderson wrote:Boffer, Just now looked at your July photos (world globe under avatar).  8 carrots??,

That's my storage carrot box.  It will keep me supplied with carrots through winter.  I grow an occasional square here and there in other boxes for summer eating.

 39 ??  what it that?

Jerusalem Artichokes.  They're a gas!  Wink  

 56 I can't imagine growing cabbage in the summer.

I do still have a couple heads waiting to be harvested, but those in the pic have already been harvested and turned into sauerkraut.  After harvesting cole crops, I leave the plants so I can give one or two to my chickens every day.
 
62 ??  

Red Ursa kale

68 artichoke?  

Yes, globe artichokes on their second year.  The globes don't get real big for me, so I grow them for the bumblebees.  The flowers are beautiful, and the bees play in them.  Literally!  They lay on their backs and wiggle around.  Very cute.



@sanderson wrote:
...Everything in the greenhouse looks so healthy.

Thank you.  It was kind of you to overlook the one pic of sad cucumber leaves.  CitizenKate solved the mystery for me.  Thank you CK!  

I've been getting leaves looking that on my cukes for a couple years.  The plants still produce, but they sure get ugly looking.   I haven't found any bugs in the past, but after reading CK's post about spider mites, I started looking closer, and there was the telltale web of spider mites.  I've seen spider mites before, but they were always on their webs and easy to spot.  I haven't seen webs on cukes until yesterday.  Per CK's suggestion, I used a loupe, and sure enough, those black dots on the leaves' undersides were spider mites.

I'm glad they prefer my cukes over my tomatoes!

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  sanderson on 7/5/2015, 2:03 pm

Spider mites, we grow them as a secondary protein crop here. Smile I just assumed everyone got them.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  camprn on 7/5/2015, 7:12 pm

Boffer, how are the tomatoes?

Growing Degree Days (GDD) Forecast for Yelm, WA
Apr. 1 - Jul. 5, 2015
2015 = 834.5 GDD
Average** = 467.5 GDD

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/5/2015, 7:52 pm

As you may have guessed from the GDD numbers, it's going to be a good tomato year.  The outside tomatoes are farther ahead at this time of year than they've been since 2009 (similar weather).

In the greenhouse, I'm already getting ripe toms.  

I try to convince my wife that the whole country celebrates her birthday on 7/4, but  she doesn't buy it!  However, for her birthday yesterday, I gave her a nearly 1.5 pound vine ripened Brandywine from the greenhouse.   I called it perfection; she called it dinner! Razz

(Seriously! We put the birthday steaks back in fridge to grill today instead.)

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2015, 8:00 pm

Camp,

Could you direct me to a currently viable GDD site?  I'm not having any luck Googling it.  Thanks!

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/5/2015, 8:06 pm

I think we use the same one. Just plug in your zip code.

http://adstest.climate.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days/98597

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2015, 8:16 pm

That link gives me a "page does not exist" warning.  I tried it twice.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/5/2015, 8:24 pm

It worked for me!

Try the link without the zip

http://adstest.climate.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days/

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2015, 8:26 pm

Thanks, Boffer!  This time, it worked.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  camprn on 7/5/2015, 8:38 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Camp,

Could you direct me to a currently viable GDD site?  I'm not having any luck Googling it.  Thanks!
This is the one I used tonight.
http://adstest.climate.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days/98597

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/5/2015, 8:40 pm

Thanks, Camp.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/8/2015, 6:37 pm

An overcast day yesterday turned into thunderstorms in the evening, way off in the distance. I could smell rain, but we didn't get any. A town about an hour away got flooded, trees and telephone poles were ripped up. Back here, today, we had two gusts of rain. One was four drops, and one had three.

But at least it has been cooler for two days. That's a wonderful relief ... and it has me hoping my ecstatically-flowering brandywine tomatoes will finally set a few fruits.

The Royal Burgundy beans are getting a lot of flowers, but only one bean so far. Not sure what the hold-up is; maybe the heat was too intense for them the same way it has been for the tomatoes.

My garden back home now has leafhoppers, spider mites, imported cabbage worms, and white flies. Haven't seen cucumber beetles lately, which is surprising; I did see them earlier and usually my home garden is overwhelmed by them. Not complaining, though. I sprayed all my home crops with milk the other day. Plenty of holes in the bean leaves, some disease coming up. Hope I can keep things under control.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/9/2015, 11:27 am

Marc, your garden issues are traveling northward!

I've been meaning to mention that this year I'm getting a taste of your hot dry weather that requires more attention to watering than I'm used to.  Hand watering in this weather sux!

I read your list of visitors showing up in your gardens, and I thought, 'Hmmm, I don't recall ever seeing white flies in my garden.'

Not two hours later when I was doing a garden walk-about, there they were, on some outdoor tomatoes.   The interesting thing was that there were a couple ladybugs (a natural predator)  who discovered them before me, and I rarely see ladybugs in my garden.  I wish they'd find the aphids in my greenhouse.

On the plus side, it's been fun watching the explosive growth that warm season crops exhibit when the days are hot, and the nights are warm.  Usually, I only see that   combination during the last couple weeks of August, if at all.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/9/2015, 12:17 pm

I'm so glad my Black Krim tomato finally started to grow upwards a bit now, perhaps because of that combination of hot days and warm nights. It also made my beans germinate very quickly. So there are some good sides to it.

Re your new whitefly pest, it put me in mind of the progress of some tree beetles and other pests up from the south, now that the weather is slowly becoming warmer year by year. Northern gardeners will be coming into more and more pests they and the plants they grow may not be used to; we can only hope that their predators follow in sufficient number and vigor.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/12/2015, 7:50 pm

Finally, after dozens of dropped flowers on one of (actually on most of) my brandywine tomatoes, I see that one flower has set, and quickly grown a sizable baby. Wow that happened fast! These few cooler days are such a blessing! A number of my bean plants set fruit too, and some other sleepy ones burst into flower. A few radish leaves look healthy at last, and some of my kale is starting to get leaves wider than spears.

There's a lot to be said about the effect of heat on plants, but some of it comes in words of four letters.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  sanderson on 7/13/2015, 10:04 am

The recent cool weather ( 90s ) has been a relief. Glad you finally got a Brandy going.

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Re: PNW: 2015 July

Post  boffer on 7/15/2015, 11:33 am

This hot weather I'm having is turning out to be an interesting learning experience.  I realize that what's darn hot for me is on the cool side of what some of you deal with regularly, but I'm getting a feel for what it's like to have to deal with high heat.

I've never had 1" seedlings curl up and die in half a day before due to the direct sun.  If I wanted a fall crop this year, I had no choice but to use shade cloth for the first time.  In past years, I've experimented with putting small plants under taller, larger plants for the shade, but the small plants never did well because they didn't get enough sun.

On the plus side, due to the shade cloth and frequent watering, I have spinach and bok choy nearly ready to harvest.  I've never had success growing them beyond the recommended cool weather months in  spring.

I've always enjoyed hand watering until this year.  But being forced to water at least twice a day is getting old.  I don't know why I've resisted installing drip irrigation; even my wife says it's something she would expect me to do, and is surprised that I haven't.  I'm re-considering drip irrigation, but as the weather this year is an anomaly (assuming it doesn't become the new normal), my bet is that procrastination will win out, and little to nothing will get done.  

In the past, I've found that mulching is a slug magnet, and in most years, it can keep the MM cool enough in the early summer to slow plant growth.  This year mulch would have been helpful, but just the thought of mulching hundreds of squares makes me tired!    Rolling Eyes

Anyhow, I'm doing a pretty good job of enjoying the unusually hot weather without the normal PNW rainy zone pessimism: "It's such great weather this year that we're sure to suffer for it next year with a cool, wet summer."  It last happened in 2009 when we had great gardening weather, and then the cool, wet summer of 2010 kicked my gardening butt.  However, I think I'm better prepared now for the next lousy summer.

P.S.  As hot as it's been, I still don't have red tomatoes on my outside plants, but I've been eating tomatoes from my greenhouse plants for weeks.

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