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August in Western Plains and Mountains

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August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/23/2015, 11:12 pm

Jeesh I am late getting this month done. Sorry about that. Garden, Celtic fest, family, it has been a busy month.

Harvesting and preserving times are here. It is too late for me to plant anything except maybe fall/winter greens, especially to be covered in a cold frame.

I have harvest the garlic, some carrots and rutabagas. Lots of ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse have been roasted and canned. I have about 5 gallons of beans from the greenhouse and bean arch snapped and blanched and frozen. The broccoli is still giving us lots of shoots. The peas are still going but not so flavorful now and should get pulled because I am over whelmed with the beans this year. Soon will be corn.

This is a bad squash year somehow for me. I just have not gotten any big enough to pick yet of summer squash. Last night was a light frost that blackened all the top squash leaves.

The greenhouse at he start of the month with beans hanging down.


A sunflower volunteer among the rutabagas.

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/24/2015, 8:38 am

Frost already?    pale

Your arch looks beautiful.  And it sounds like you've gotten a lot done!

Celtic fest????  Would that be similar to the Scottish Games that are popular here in the SE?
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/24/2015, 10:34 am

Frost was beginning to form on some rooftops in my neighborhood two mornings ago. The thermometer read 35F.
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  sanderson on 8/24/2015, 12:02 pm

Frost in August?? I'm thinking that it means the northern folks have a lot of produce to put up all at once!

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/24/2015, 12:02 pm

I am hoping that frost was just a warning shot. I would really like some winter squash this year! The vines are huge and rambling every where. Only the highest big leaves got burnt, and the runner vines with some baby pumpkins on them Sad

Before the frost


Yes, Celtic Festival including Highland games and whiskey tasting and a ceildh. We played some listening sets and then played for dancing at the ceildh. Lots of fun was had. I brought a lot of home grown tomatoes and eggs to keep us fed.

Barrowburn band at the fest feeling happy.


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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/24/2015, 12:12 pm

Here in Bend, it can freeze any night of the year.

Supposed first frost date is around Sept. 7 (50%).
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  sanderson on 8/24/2015, 12:18 pm

Fun!

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/24/2015, 12:25 pm

The beans are already winding down, and I think the cukes, despite night-time coverage lately, may be doing likewise.  The squash plants, however, are busily doing their thing.  I'm going to have to start selling the stuff or giving it away!  

There have been only three Black Beauties so far, and the yellow straight-necks are just barely getting started.  That Romanesco Zucchini is definitely the champion!  

My freezers are filling rapidly.
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/24/2015, 12:36 pm

I'll note that about Romanesco zukes. I have a history of non luck with zukes, almost embarrassed to admit this Very Happy I like the Giambo but ran out of seed this year and could not find more in time.

Our season is like yours, it can always frost but September 7th is about hte norm. Last year it did not come until a full month later. I could get used to that......

I planted Diva cukes this year after great luck with a plant from the nursery last year. It seems to be mostly female flowers though and so is not setting much fruit even though i see lots of various pollinators. I think next year I need to have one other kind of cuke to provide more male flowers.

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  mollyhespra on 8/24/2015, 1:01 pm

FFD on Sept. 7th?  Sounds like my growing season.  We had a frost on June 7th, and can have one any day now that it's heading towards the end of August, but I've always used June 7 - Sept. 7 as a guide.  That's barely 90 days of "guaranteed" frost-free growing.   I'd better have the row covers handy come to think of it... lots o
to those of us who persist despite the odds...
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/24/2015, 1:53 pm

Well, I just knew there was a reason to keep those old sheets and pillowcases!
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/24/2015, 6:09 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Here in Bend, it can freeze any night of the year.

Supposed first frost date is around Sept. 7 (50%).

Errr ... really? Wow.

Freezing temps in August seems just weird.
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/24/2015, 7:38 pm

Marc,

Back in August 2012, there was a freeze alert, so I ran out to purchase the necessary equipment to make an SFG hoop house.  (That's one of the few things I can easily construct.)

Well, it worked!
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/24/2015, 8:42 pm

I have had hard frosts in every month of the year.

The outer part of the bean arch is looking pretty hammered today. The favas are still fine and the inner squares. I could throw a sheet over it to help with the next frost. This last frost was not expected so I had not protected anything. I knew it would get cold but not that cold.

The corn is looking a bit sad too. The tops and wind side are burnt but not the whole plant so I am hoping they can still ripen the corn. We will see.

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/24/2015, 9:54 pm

Cool here tonight, but nothing even approaching what you guys are experiencing
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/27/2015, 2:26 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Marc,

Back in August 2012, there was a freeze alert, so I ran out to purchase the necessary equipment to make an SFG hoop house.  (That's one of the few things I can easily construct.)

Well, it worked!

Good for you!

I like hoop houses too. And they're also about the only thing I can build besides a sandwich.

I may build another one this year, to keep some kale and/or other greens going during winter.
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Cold Nights and Elevated Boxes

Post  SattleySue on 8/29/2015, 1:00 pm

This is my 1st SFG.  My husband built 4 beautiful 4X4 waist high boxes from cedar boards available to us at no cost.  They are completely 'walled' in all the way to the ground. We used 12 inches of MM in all the boxes.  From the base of the soil, there is open space within the box all the way to the ground.  He also constructed chicken wire frames on hinges that we tip to the side to access the plants.  Keeps the critters away.  We live at 5,000 ft in the mtns. of northeastern California where the growing season is extremely short.  It can frost at any time and for most of the summer, night time temps are in the 40's. Day time temps range from the low 70's to high 90's.  The problem is, while everything we planted sprouted, nothing grew.  Even the carrot tops have not gotten more than 4" high.  We did manage to grow turnips.  Even the lettuce stayed very small.  He also made some 12" X 6' boxes for squash and pumpkins that sit on the ground.  They grew well, produced lots of blossoms but little fruit and are now turning yellow and dying.  I have gardened for many years but never had a disaster like this year.  Is it possible that by elevating the boxes, the air temp and/or temperature fluctuations below the soil are preventing everything from growing?  Oh, flowers (petunias/glads) have done very well in the boxes except for nasturtiums.  Can anyone help?
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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/29/2015, 2:57 pm

Why is there an open space with the boxes all the way to the ground? You mean the MM shrank back from the box walls? That sounds like a watering problem and too much peat in the MM. Did you fluff the peat before mixing with the rest?

Without knowing about your ingredients in the MM I am guessing that there is not enough nutrients. Where did you get your composts and what are they? It seems one of the biggest problems with new MM is using composts that have little or no nutrients in them. That can happen with store bought compost that has been sitting around getting washed out and over heated for who knows how long. Home made compost including some manures usually fixes it up.

I am also at 5000' but north of you in Montana. The raised beds warm up faster in the spring but not that significantly more (I wish they did). I think the volume, 4x4, helps them do better than a pot would.

If it was earlier in the season I would tell you to give everything a nice watering with fish emulsion and to top dress around the plants with rich compost and then mulch. But your season must be nearing a close like mine is. Time to collect and make a really good compost pile to top dress all your beds with for next year.

I hope that helped.



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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  sanderson on 8/29/2015, 3:05 pm

Sue,  Welcome to the Forum from the other side of the mountains!  glad you\'re here   I can't help with mountain growing but there are folks in your Region who can probably answer some of the cold weather/short season questions.

I have 3 questions.  Your beds are 12" high which is 2X the usual depth.  Do you also have 12" of Mix?  What did you use in the Mel's Mix, especially for the 5 composts?  Lastly, are the beds in full sunny locations?

Bless your husband for making your boxes.  My husband helps a lot with the heavy projects.

PS I see Turan has already responded. Photos are really helpful, besides the fact we love photos!! Very Happy

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  SattleySue on 8/29/2015, 3:55 pm

The actual planting area of the boxes is 12" deep and is, obviously, at the top of the waist high structure.  Beneath the soil (Mel's Mix) are wooden slats, weed cloth and perforated plastic to hold the soil in place.  From there to the ground is air space though it is all enclosed by cedar boards.  When I figure out how to post a pic, I will Very Happy.  I did use a mixture of commercial composts purchased from reputable nurseries nearby including Kellogg Amend, Green All Planting Mix, Gardner and Boom Organic Farmyard Blend and several others whose names escape me.  In fact buying soil become somewhat of an obsession this summer. I also used my own compost which is heavy on local steer manure and kitchen produce scraps mixed with commercial compost and what few leaves we have as well as some of the richer soil we have here.  Our trees here are primarily pine and fir. I also put in any nonweed garden scraps.  The one thing that I used less of (in the MM) was the vermiculite because I just didn't have enough.  We also had a severe hail storm about a month after planting and I wasn't home to throw anything over the plants.  It shredded anything with leaves and the torrential rainfall pummeled and saturated everything.  I replanted some seeds and nursery plants by 3rd week of June.

The boxes that are on the ground are 12" wide by 
12" deep and about 6 ft long.  We piled grass clippings around the bases.






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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  sanderson on 8/30/2015, 12:06 am

Beautiful Table Tops!  Do you have a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, the originator of SFG?  One of the hardest things to get right/grasp the concept is what is compost.  I started out using Kelloggs and after a few weeks, realized that something was not right.  I went back and read the book and that, plus the help of the folks on this Forum, I realized what I was doing wrong.  Embarassed   Most bagged products are soil (read that as dirt) additives.  Mel's Mix does not need additives because it contains at least 5 different sources of composts.  (Along with fluffed peat moss and vermiculite or perlite).  It's really hard to tell from your photos but it looks like there is a lot of peat most in the Mix. Commercial products often contain peat moss so you have to adjust the 1/3 part peat moss downward. They also contain wood pieces that are not fully composted, stealing the nitrogen from the Mix. Here's another thread for your reading enjoyment.   Very Happy

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mels-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone

Do not despair, we are here. Very Happy If you have a close up photo of the mix, someone may be able to tell more about it.

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Re: August in Western Plains and Mountains

Post  Turan on 8/30/2015, 12:22 am

O! Thanks for the pictures, yeah, a table top. Very pretty ones too!
I do not have experience with them but there are others in our climate that do and hopefully they will chime in. I have not heard them complain about them having too wide of temperature swings in summer season, they do freeze too hard in the winter for perennials. 12" of mix should even out the night and day soil temperatures and a lot of watering fluctuations. You can try out making a simple hoop house with plastic sheet over it to make mini greenhouse effect. Carrots and lettuce should not need that, 40s are not too cool for them. It might be just what the warmth loving crops need.

Be aware that when peat dries it shrinks and is hard to rewet. You got to keep it fairly evenly moist. I do that with soaker hoses in my beds.

You are an experienced gardener. What do you think is the problem if it is not too cool of soil?

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