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Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  68carguy on 1/21/2016, 6:55 pm

Sanderson,
My garden was so bad last year I was embarrassed, so I didn't take pictures of last years garden.
The other problem I have is, I have a family of groundhogs that love to eat my fruits of labor about the time it is ripe!! Tomatoes, eggplants, & peppers etc.... Evil or Very Mad Have to try a different approach this year me thinks.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  sanderson on 1/22/2016, 3:41 am

I know how you feel. I finally gave in and took photos and labeled them the good, the bad and the ugly! For ground burying critters, 1/2" metal hardware cloth on the bottom, or raise the beds off the ground and install plywood bottom with 1/2" drainage holes?? 2016 will be your successful year!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  vortex on 1/26/2016, 4:55 pm

About ready to start pepper seeds with a goal of about 35 pepper plants of varying variety (mostly hot, with 6 or 8 sweet/bell). Will be starting tomato seeds in about a month.

Garden was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster last season with all the rain and lack of full sunlight through July, then turning off the taps right into a heatwave.


Will be building some type of rail box to help with the additional pepper load, plus will also be moving tomato plants to the deck. That leaves me with 3 4sqft areas, one of which will be corn/beans/squash, and the other two will get early (lettuce, peas, etc) and then summer crops (melons, cukes, zucchini, etc.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/26/2016, 6:56 pm

Good plan, vortex! I too had epic pepper failure. I mean 3 peppers total. Some critter ate my sweet banana, and I planted an emergency replacement from Walmart that literally gave me one, beautiful purple pepper....

I haven't started anything yet. Hoping for a more garden=friendly year for sure!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  vortex on 1/27/2016, 9:49 am

Scorpio, it wasn't just the peppers. The entire garden for the most part was just plain terrible.

Corn was pulled out; tomatoes produced maybe 15% of what they should have; I had enough from my chile peppers for one batch of chili this winter, and not a cantaloupe or watermelon to be had. The [multiple expletives deleted, lol] rabbits got to my beans, carrots, peas, and lettuce.

That last part is bringing me to the point where I'm going to fence in my garden this year. Put in a 3' high fence that matches and ties into the main fence around the yard. This should also give me 20'-30' of rail space for boxes, and still be well short enough to not shade the garden.


I did get a ton of strawberries, and half a dozen squash though.


I can compensate for it being really wet, but I think the lack of sunlight when most of the plants were young is what did them in as most were really leggy and just never looked good.




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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/27/2016, 11:01 am

Vortex, I heard time and again that everyone had a horrible time with gardens last year. And this is across the country!

New year, new hopes!! Keep the faith!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Kelejan on 1/27/2016, 11:07 am

With new planting seasons in view, most of us hope things will be better.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  kamigh on 1/27/2016, 1:22 pm

Unlike most of you, I am coming off a gardening high from last year.  I had more peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, peas, etc than I ever thought possible, and it was thanks to this forum.  Last year I made (by myself!) and installed a PVC pipe grid/drip system that was shown here in the forum for my SFG beds that ran on a timer through our sprinkler system.  I had it run for 5 minutes every morning, since summers in North Texas are brutal.  I am firmly convinced that the constant levels of moisture that didn't get the leaves wet helped my garden to flourish.  I was able to pay more attention to the plants and worry less about watering them each evening.  Best. Thing. Ever.
This year, based on my successes last year, I'm going to try even more of what we love.  Cut down on the number of eggplants (how does one actually cook those little bitty Fairy Tale eggplants anyway?), add more San Marzano tomatoes (no BER last year for the first time ever!), along with a bunch of new-to-me heirloom tomatoes as experiments, more fun peppers (made my own paprika this year and gave some away as special Christmas gifts).  
I'm more of a lurker than actual participant here on the forum, but I do check in daily and truly appreciate the contributions of all members!  I never would have come up with that watering grid system on my own.
Karla

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/27/2016, 7:57 pm

Good for you for making an irrigation set-up! I love doityourselfers!

I would love it Karla if you would keep us in the loop with what you are doing and how your experience goes....we learn so much from each other's struggles and triumphs, and just the "umphs" as well, Lol!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  sanderson on 1/28/2016, 11:19 am

Kamigh,  A photo or two?  It's good to hear about really successful seasons.

I think gardeners look at spring as another chance to have success.  An optimistic thing, a glass half full.

With the accidental success with broccoli this winter, I'm giving Purple of Sicily Cauliflower a go this coming fall.  Plus gifted seeds. Adding from Baker Creek (like i don't already have too many seeds!) Chinese cabbage, Sorghum as a privacy screen, and new bells Of Lilac, Canary and Giant Emerald, plus Craig's Grande Jalapeno.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/28/2016, 8:10 pm

I ordered "Eat Your Yard" from my library, who posted that? I would like to grow some edible landscape, I have 1 pear tree, but would like to put in some berries, asparagus in a 4x4, strawberries in a raised bed, sunflowers, and such! Maybe an apple tree or peaches.

I grew up at this house, and my dad had planted a mini orchard. Had Concord grapes, pear, Apple, peach, cherry trees, but something in this town changed the drainage. By the time my brother got the house, the orchard was wet wetter wettest.
Stuff died, only the pear survives.

I want to re do that a bit. Will relocate trees. Love Concord grapes, and they are very easy to grow!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  CitizenKate on 1/28/2016, 10:56 pm

@sanderson wrote:Kamigh,  A photo or two?  It's good to hear about really successful seasons.

+1 - I'm trying to do something similar, and though I have something I think will work, I'm still always looking for improvements.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  CitizenKate on 1/28/2016, 11:33 pm

Thought you might like to see something else I'm trying new this year.  These are a couple of those red/blue LED gro-lights, and I'm trying out a couple of different brands here on two experimental tomato plants that I just started on the 16th.

So far they seem to be doing really well.  I have never had seedlings with this much foliage this early after sprouting, and the stems are getting thick and strong.




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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  sanderson on 1/29/2016, 3:39 am

Wow! I had to Bing to find out more about them. Neat.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  plantoid on 1/29/2016, 4:40 am

Kate and others ,
This is the start of the third year I've been using the LED grow light bulbs above a heated bed system .
 I got a pack of three in late autumn 2013  if I recall correctly which cost me £ 25  ( approx $ 36 USD )

   The first two years they were on permanently for over 4 months each year , there is a little degradation of light quality over time but so far it seems to be holding up well.

 I attached a plain nylon cord to the bulb holders and added a modified large mushroom shaped lamp shade to reflect as much light onto the seed trays as possible. The cord is to raise or lower the lamps . As there is little or no heat to talk of I found that having the bulbs at about 2 inches ( 50 mm ) above the seeds was just about as good as it gets.

 Another thing I found was that laying the seeds on some lightly tamped down MM that had just been watered them  giving a very thin sprinkle of fine horticultural vermiculite over the seeds brings the seed germination down  to a minimum period , as the micro climate at the seed must be around the optimum you need for germinations.


As soon as the seeds are showing through I've been taking the pots off the bed and putting them in a slightly cooler day light situation to start hardening them off & growing on for they don't need the heat or light of the beds any more .

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/29/2016, 7:41 am

Very helpful. Cover with vermiculite on top of MM. Nice little plants, Kate!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  CitizenKate on 1/29/2016, 9:25 am

Good info, plantoid.  I've been hearing about them for a few years now, but they're just now getting cheap enough that I could envision possibly using them for some indoor winter growing, as well as getting seeds started in the spring.  The manufacturers claim these lights deliver more light in the exact bandwidth the plants need, with far less wattage.  So far that seems to be a good claim, but we'll see how they do once they start blossoming and bearing fruit.

The two lights I am testing, I got from Amazon for about $20 each.  I searched all over town to find them locally, but the folks at the local garden centers don't seem to think much of them and don't even have them sourced for ordering.

@plantoid wrote:As soon as the seeds are showing through I've been taking the pots off the bed and putting them in a slightly cooler day light situation to start hardening them off & growing on for they don't need the heat or light of the beds any more .
This is exactly what I tried last year for the first time, and got my best seedlings ever.  I will absolutely continue doing it with my outdoor garden plants.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  plantoid on 1/29/2016, 11:01 am

Here in the UK we have one of the nations universities working with UV lights ,.
We saw growing cherry tomatoes  off hydroponic liquid soaked   fiberglass matting , in gulley's no more than 6 to 8 inches deep
 
The LED lights saved them over 3/4 of the power bill they had when they were using sodium lighting ( some still in use to give some heat )  .
The lights are on cords and are raised as needed most of the vines we saw on the TV programme  were over 14 feet tall  bearing massive amounts of cherry toms in the last three or so feet of the vines.
 The toms were harvested manually off hydraulic platform  pickers on rails between the 3 foot wide  rows.
 

The lights were set about 18 inches above the vines .  I seem to recall that the commentator said that these 400 x 600 mm ( 16 x 24 inch ) mm blocks of  L
12W E27 169pcs LED Plant Grow Light Red Blue Hydroponic Flower Growth Greenhouse
ED lights were a new type being tested made up specifically for growing tomatoes once the plants had been produced and potted up .

Looking that them there were  far less blue & green LED  lights than mine ( I've not got any green LED's in mine )

 I looked at eBay for my lights in the hydroponic growing light section.

I also looked at direct importing from China  .  I think I  ended up getting them from China as they were 1/3 of the ( UK based shops using )  eBay prices . 

It's so long ago that I got them any record ofthe  purchase is on a crashed computer so it must be over 3 years ago

Put this into "  eBay UK"

12W E27 169pcs LED Plant Grow Light Red Blue Hydroponic Flower Growth Greenhouse

They are four for about $ 15 USD  ........ ships to USA .

They are better than mine as there is a blue light component .

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  sanderson on 1/29/2016, 5:37 pm

Plantoid, Plants need red and blue lights. Green, no.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/142.html

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  plantoid on 1/30/2016, 4:34 am

That's what I used to think till I saw the TV programme showing the blocks of LED's and heard him saying that there  were blues,  reds & some greens .In the feature there appeared to be about 15 rows of 30 LED'S' only six or 8 were showing green , the rest were split to about 60/40 with reds being the most common .

Perhaps the latest tomato research has moved forwards a bit?

What was really interesting to me was the guys comments about there being different arrangements for differing crops . That with the advent of cheap renewable electricity it would not be long before we saw all manner of crops being grown away from the fields to help feed the world , because of the increased crop yields gained by using each crops own special LED requirements.


 If your interested have a peek into the video clip here :-

http://agritecture.com/post/58063940845/news-led-plant-grow-light-competition-is-heating

 In the above clip they mention a full 13 colour & a 6 colour spectrum for purpose made LED tomato growing lights & that was back in 2011 . It used to be a full four colour spectrum back in 2004

I'll see what else I can find over the weekend .

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  sanderson on 1/30/2016, 1:28 pm

Heads up. I am going to split the subject of LED grow lights from this topic. The info is too unique and will get lost without its own topic. Very interesting.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  CitizenKate on 1/30/2016, 10:34 pm

No problem - I wondered if I should have made that a separate topic, anyway.

Rolling Eyes

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  CitizenKate on 1/30/2016, 10:41 pm

And by the way, here's an update on my test plant...

Here's the first photo I posted on the 28th, two days ago...



And here's one of the same plant I shot about an hour ago, from about the same angle...



It went from a seed to this in 14 days.

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/31/2016, 9:50 am

Wow, Kate! That's gonna need a bigger place soon!

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/31/2016, 10:45 am

It truly is amazing.  

Warm here today.  Tarp partially blew off compost piles, so need to dump a bucket and some leaves and re-cover the piles.  Isn't that pulse-poundingly exciting stuff?  No


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 1/31/2016, 10:46 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spell correct messing up my lingo.)

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Re: Welcome 2016! January Plans and Schemes

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