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Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 8/13/2016, 5:21 pm

BPSF, You sound like me trying to figure out where the winter crops can go - every box is currently in production. Shocked The winter seeds have sprouted ad it's only mid August! Need more boxes . . . need bigger yard . . .

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/16/2016, 8:05 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
Komatsuna:  first year trying this, clearly planted too late because it bolted quickly.


I seeded these a couple weeks ago for fall and they are doing beautifully.  Try sowing some now.

CC
Looks like they're more on top of things than I am -- they've reseeded themselves!
Some of them are probably hybrids with whatever else I left bolting for the honey bees, but they'll all have edible leaves. Very Happy
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/16/2016, 8:30 am

@sanderson wrote:BPSF,  You sound like me trying to figure out where the winter crops can go - every box is currently in production. Shocked  The winter seeds have sprouted ad it's only mid August!  Need more boxes . . . need bigger yard . . .
Yup. My garden planning map is a giant multicolored puzzle. There are some empty squares but it's because I haven't transplanted the seedlings yet - or because I can't fit anything in between now and the next planned plant. I think I need more experience before I can make good use of that bigger yard some vague time in the future. I'm confused/busy enough with all that I have going on at the current size!

I just pulled the first two squares of edamame soy beans yesterday. I think I can squeeze in some greens between now and upgrading that 4x8 rectangle to ANSFG after the first frost -- and then planting garlic in it.

I need to try to assay my straw before then so I can use it as mulch on the garlic. I'm not doing straw bale gardening but the assay is still relevant:
http://cals.arizona.edu/cochise/waterwise/pdf/Gardening/Strawbalegardens_8-13.pdf
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So. Onions.

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/20/2016, 10:20 am

The good news: I did way better than last year! I had better germination, and didn't lose as many seedlings before transplanting out -- trimming the leaves was important. And I got actual onions, not 'This isn't even a scallion.' Mad

The bad news: I mostly planted the wrong types.

And more good news: I can fix this -- I have time to order the right types of seeds for the coming spring!

My reading suggested either intermediate or long day onions would work for my area. I also ended up with a short-day red variety after assuming a local chain store would only sell the correct varieties for the area.  Evil or Very Mad I planted it anyhow, to see what would happen. It actually didn't do any worse than the intermediate day. Next year - Long Day varieties only.

The transplants I bought from my CSA did the best. I think the variety was Stuttgarter, but I'm not positive. There are actually two squares still growing in the my old-style SFG - they haven't flopped over yet. I'm also happy with the Cipollinis And I just re-read the seed packet; I did get a long day variety for those.

Either not shown, or mixed in with the Valencia onions were some Sturon storage onions - I think they are long day, but they did poorly from the start. The seeds were old, and they got too much shade from a very happy collard plant. They also probably didn't get enough water. I had the same problem as some of you with the surface of the MM being wet, but the lower parts having sneakily gone dry in the heat, in some parts of some of my beds.

I'd like bigger shallots next year, I'll have to do some reading to see how I can improve on those. They are long day; I guess I just need to start them sooner, and maybe transplant them out sooner.

Please forgive the fishy mis-spelling of cipollinis on my photo...
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/20/2016, 4:51 pm

This is really interesting, Beetles! In 'The New Victory Garden' book, Bob Thompson's favorite onion and best grower for our area is Stuttgarter Riesen.  I thought the book was so old that I wouldn't be able to find them anymore but it's great to know that they are out there somewhere. I will look for them. Thanks a bunch!

My shallots are always pretty small too but I started them from store-bought so I'm not expecting miracles. Let me know what you find out about making them larger if it's even possible.
CC
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So. Onions.

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/20/2016, 6:51 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:This is really interesting, Beetles! In 'The New Victory Garden' book, Bob Thompson's favorite onion and best grower for our area is Stuttgarter Riesen.  I thought the book was so old that I wouldn't be able to find them anymore but it's great to know that they are out there somewhere. I will look for them. Thanks a bunch!

My shallots are always pretty small too but I started them from store-bought so I'm not expecting miracles. Let me know what you find out about making them larger if it's even possible.
CC
It looks like Bakers Creek had them this year:
http://www.rareseeds.com/stuttgarter-onion/

And I haven't used Uprising Seeds yet/before, but they carry them, too -- and with the Riesen part of the name:
https://uprisingorganics.com/vegetables/onions/stuttgarter-riesen-576.html
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Curcubit breakdown

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/31/2016, 4:09 pm

I'm doing better than last year with the curcubits, but things could be better.

Cucumbers -
Last year: Purchased "Bush Slicer" transplants that quickly became sickly and died early.
This year: Marketmore 76, Poinset 76, Muncher, SMR 58 and Spacemaster.  Started from seed and transplanted.
Plants healthy for quite awhile, was having good yield (missed a few, they got overgrown, probably lost some yield)
Lost all the planter grown cucumbers to disease - probably CMV even though Spacemaster is listed as CMV-resistant.
Lost a SMR 58 and Pointsett 76 to catastrophic wilting. I guess bacterial wilt disease from the cucumber beetles. Wikipedia says wilt-resistance hasn't been developed yet. Over-planting to compensate for some loss seems to be the only option.

Cucumber beetles: striped ones (~3/day) (which probably included some western corn rootworm beetles as well as genuine striped cucumber beetles - I didn't look closely) which is fewer than last year, spotted ones (aka southern corn rootworm) (~12/day) - many more than last year, and a few green ones (<1/day) (aka northern corn rootworms) - didn't see any of these last year.  Hand-picking seems to be working in the main garden. The porch stuff was too close together and I could hardly find the fruits much less check for pests. Spotted cucumber beetles are good swimmers; water must be soapy, or they may crawl out of the bucket.

(Bush) Zucchini:
Both the zucchini I grew last year, Alexandria, and the one I grew this year, Grey, both got hit by PMR, and SVB. I removed the SVB, but found more today. Plant is somehow still alive. I think Alexandria gave me better yield - not sure if it handled the PM better or if it did better because I removed all the SVB on the first try. I'll try another bush variety (or two) next year.

Yellow Crookneck:
I thought SVB season was over and stopped checking part way through August. Evil or Very Mad My crookneck stems are riddled with them. But it looks like the rain that ruined several of the fruits with choanepora rot also caused the stem to root into the mulch, so it's still alive! The crookneck isn't exactly a true vine, but it has enough of a stem to force to a trellis. But this re-rooting thing is useful, so I may stick to growing this in a planter or the landscape bed.

Vining zucchini 'Table Dainty'
A few of the older, lower leaves have a hint of PM -- but nothing like what the bush zucchini and crookneck have. I pulled two SVBs out of a leaf stem today (well before they got to the main since the leaves are huge.) I love the taste and texture of these zucchinis. I love the vigorous vines. SO much easier to check for bugs. Absolutely growing this next year. But I;ll still grow a bush-type, too. These get fat zucchinis, but they don't get very long. There's a few recipes that work best with baseball bat zucchinis (which wouldn't trellis well anyhow.)

Squash bugs:
I'm doing a much better job hand-picking the squash bugs. I killed two broods of eggs, and, a few at a time, two different hatched broods (aka nymphs) that I must have missed the egg patches they came from. I've also taken out fewer than a dozen adults. I think keeping wild cucumber plants away from the garden has helped. Recognizing the nymphs as squash bugs, and not mistaking them for cute, baby-predator-bugs helped, too. Embarassed

Winter squash: Bottom line: Transplant sooner - transplanting was delayed vs originally intended timing, so the plants were larger than they should have been and slightly pot bound/stunted.

  Delicata: Four plants, one fruit has set (I got two squash last year.) They got off to a slow start, and can't really complete with those big vining zucchini leaves. I'll try again next year, and give the vining zucchinis their own trellis.

  Lakota and Tetsukabuto: Tetsukabuto seems to be doing better than Lakota. Again, I don't think these transplanted well. Pulled 3 SVB out of the leaf-stems of a Lakota today. No frass on the main stems. I definitely have one Tetsukabuto set - not sure about the other proto-squash - they look similar when young, and it takes several days before I can be sure pollination happened.

   Burpee's Butterbush: Started very late in the season, but they seem pretty happy. I'm pleased by the number of female blossoms...especially compared with the other three varieties. I don't yet know if pollination has been successful. I'll try these again next year, but earlier, because I'm impressed with how well they've done with what little time they've had so far. Better than the sickly Waltham last year, which gave one small squash.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/31/2016, 4:25 pm

I don't seem to have good luck with Waltham butternut either.  Last year I got 1 squash per plant and this year there's only 1 squash on 9 plants.
Evil or Very Mad
I never knew SVB could be found in the leaf stems only. Shocked I always thought the eggs were laid and the grubs only borrowed into the lower main stem.
CC
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 9/1/2016, 2:38 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Recognizing the nymphs as squash bugs, and not mistaking them for cute, baby-predator-bugs helped, too. Embarassed
They are cute little things!

Burpee's Butterbush: . I don't yet know if pollination has been successful.
Do you ever hand pollinate with an artist's brush?

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 9/1/2016, 7:11 am

@sanderson wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Recognizing the nymphs as squash bugs, and not mistaking them for cute, baby-predator-bugs helped, too. Embarassed
They are cute little things!

Burpee's Butterbush: . I don't yet know if pollination has been successful.
Do you ever hand pollinate with an artist's brush?
I alternate between using the direct method where you break open the male flower, and the method of using the seedhead of a broadheaded plantain weed like a brush because they are abundant and seem to be about the right size and texture (and because it would take two trips into the house to remember that I went in for a brush or q-tip Rolling Eyes ) The anthers have seemed a little light on the pollen sometimes - those bees must get up very early to start hauling it off!
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 9/1/2016, 12:42 pm

My ants love both squash flowers. I have to dislodge all of the ants from the female before I can pollinate. Then dust talc powder all over the outside to keep the ants from returning to steal the pollen.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 9/4/2016, 11:55 pm

The hand-pollinated squash are looking good so far. One has a weird ridge. I took a photograph but haven't had time download/upload.
CC - I took a picture of SVB'd leaf stem, but haven't uploaded that yet either.

The yellow squash is hanging in there. (Bush) zucchini probably won't make it. Vine zucchinis are plowing along. I keep having to redirecting the stems back onto trellises - they keep exploring the airspace without filing flight plans. Harvested another zucchini today, because I kept clunking my head on it.

Friday I harvested the remaining two watermelons and pulled the watermelons out of the Earthbox (EB); no new flowers, no new baby melons, vines slowly dying. Not unhappy with my yield of 4 small watermelons. Way better than last year (I got nothing last year.)

Saturday I totally ignored the garden. Needed a day off.

Tomorrow, the cucumber plants in the City Pickers Planter (CPP, similar to an Earthbox, a little larger) will come out -- they are practically dead, looks like Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) -- probably spread to the watermelons which were less affected, but still not worth letting sit around. The cantaloupe and golden crispy melon plants are looking great either, but I don't think the fruits are ripe yet, so I'll let them do whatever more they can. The pepper plants in the other CPP are doing awesome.

Meanwhile, I've realized that the squash/more-cucumbers bed has settled dramatically. I tried to make compost in it last year, but it didn't work so I just topped off the bed with a few inches of MM this spring. The additional little scoops of compost at crop change over to fill in the holes weren't sufficient. It's an 8" bed, and I think I'm down to 3". The problem with this is that I mindlessly followed my fall-winter plan for the bed, and sowed quite a few root vegetables: turnips, rutabagas, daikon radishes... I stopped myself before I stuck the beets in. They're growing... but 3" isn't going to be enough for root vegetables!

Solution: the EB and CPP that are now available are deep enough for root crops. I sowed two squares of turnip replacements in the EB. The CPP will get the three squares worth of radishes. I don't think the radishes in the bed are going to make it past seedling stage. They are really lanky and nibbled. The rose on my watering can isn't very fine, and they get plastered when I water.  Someone on another thread mentioned extreme temperature swings can lead to the lankiness - thanks for providing that explanation, it makes sense. The beets got switched with the 7th succession arugula seedlings that won't mind a shallow bed.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  Kelejan on 9/6/2016, 11:51 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:- - -
The yellow squash is hanging in there. (Bush) zucchini probably won't make it. Vine zucchinis are plowing along. I keep having to redirecting the stems back onto trellises - they keep exploring the airspace without filing flight plans. Harvested another zucchini today, because I kept clunking my head on it.

- - -
Very Happy
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When meadow mice fly...

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 9/20/2016, 6:36 pm

I just THREW a vole out of my garden. Shocked I emptied my smallest potato-growing laundry basket since the plant was done, noticed an "odd water channel" in the bottom (now obviously it was vole tunnel), knocked the dirt out of its basket shape and affraid VOLE! (A little different than "voilà!") I panicked, somehow scooped the vole up with the laundry basket and tossed the whole shebang (along with a small potato) over my garden fence... this is not something I ever pictured myself doing.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 9/22/2016, 2:07 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I just THREW a vole out of my garden. Shocked I emptied my smallest potato-growing laundry basket since the plant was done, noticed an "odd water channel" in the bottom (now obviously it was vole tunnel), knocked the dirt out of its basket shape and affraid VOLE! (A little different than "voilà!") I panicked, somehow scooped the vole up with the laundry basket and tossed the whole shebang (along with a small potato) over my garden fence... this is not something I ever pictured myself doing.
Razz I think we can all relate

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  trolleydriver on 9/22/2016, 8:27 am

@sanderson wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I just THREW a vole out of my garden. Shocked I emptied my smallest potato-growing laundry basket since the plant was done, noticed an "odd water channel" in the bottom (now obviously it was vole tunnel), knocked the dirt out of its basket shape and affraid VOLE! (A little different than "voilà!") I panicked, somehow scooped the vole up with the laundry basket and tossed the whole shebang (along with a small potato) over my garden fence... this is not something I ever pictured myself doing.
Razz  I think we can all relate
I'm pretty sure we have voles but I've never seen one. After the snow melts in the spring I see their tunnels in the lawn grass that was hidden under the snow.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/25/2016, 9:04 pm

I unfortunately find them unsuccessfully trying to get out of the pool....sucks.  They are always dead, even though there are steps.   Like they could just stand there...but they panic and exhaust themselves and die.  pale
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What's growing on around here

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 12/1/2016, 4:01 pm

Trying to post an update since it's been awhile, but I'm having a heck of a time. First I couldn't get into the image hosting thing, and then it let me in but gave a "syntaxError: JSON.parse: unexpected character at line 1 column 1 of the JSON data", helpfully discards my whole post if I try to just paste the photos, and says my post is too long... so partial update with no photos I guess. Mad

Been awhile since I’ve sent in an update. Here’s some of what’s growing on. My brassica covered-wagon style PVC hoop-houses are still up with Agribon-15 (the light stuff).  Photo of inside one of them 8 weeks ago was going to go here....

I have A50  to switch to, but the width is half the A15, so I’ll apparently need to do some sewing.  20ft of sewing. dangit

Half the kale and collards are covered. Based on last year’s efforts, the broccoli, cauliflower and head cabbage that aren’t under cover will also need protection. The rutabegas have a cold tolerance somewhere between the broccoli and collards. They grew much better last year. I may not get edible roots this year.

The older Brussels sprouts (transplanted late April) may be ready. I haven’t stuck my head in the hoop-house recently. Can't post photo of B-sprout plant from 8 weeks ago...

The younger Brussels sprouts (transplanted late July) and kohlrabi are so small I don’t know it’s worth covering them.  The napa cabbage and bok choy are under cover and far past their theoretical days to maturity, but are clearly not ready to harvest.   Likewise the beets aren’t the size they should be (the tops are tiny, too, it’s not just a bulbing problem.) They were supposed to be ready 9-11 WEEKS ago.  I threw clear fridge drawers over them, but I’m not holding out much hope.

My late-planted replacement winter radishes in a City Picker patio box are doing ok. The leaves suffered some during the latest hard freeze. I could eat them now, but I like my winter radishes BIG. The replacement turnips that managed to germinate (I think the EarthBox was just too hot in the full sun for good germination) are growing. Only one looks happy.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 12/2/2016, 11:31 am

Photo upload is still being inexplicably odd for me, but I think I've gotten it to work
Brussels sprouts 8 weeks ago:

Inside the other hoop house 8 weeks ago:

Turnips:

Winter radishes:
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  countrynaturals on 12/2/2016, 12:52 pm

Oops! That settles it! What I have is broccoli. I guess my Brussels Sprouts didn't make it, so I'll replant them, today. Embarassed
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 12/5/2016, 6:32 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:Oops! That settles it! What I have is broccoli. I guess my Brussels Sprouts didn't make it, so I'll replant them, today. Embarassed
I had the same problem this spring, CN - old seeds. I'm not sure if that's ultimately why my sprouts are so far behind or not.  I took a peek at them today and the sprouts are still less than 1/2" diameter. And also the same  problem of losing labels. Brussels and cabbage have rounder leaves, and the Brussels have longer stems on the leaves. But I've got one in the garden right now that has more oval leaves, but I still don't know if it's a broccoli or cauliflower!

Today I managed to convince myself to garden for a few hours while it was 'warm' (aka above freezing.) There was a heavy dusting of snow this morning, like powdered sugar on fried dough at the fair, but it all melted before sunset. I harvested all my celeriacs because Friday night's forecast has dropped to the teens (17*F=-8*C.)  They are smaller than I hoped, but there are things I can change/improve next year. A woolly bear tried to climb the house by the garden, and got a free ride to elsewhere in the yard once it gave up and started trucking where I was trying to walk back and forth.

I got my Agribon50 cut, but not sewn. And I built cages from wire-cube shelving pieces for some of the scattered broccoli and cabbages around the garden, but haven't covered them yet. I won't have enough A50. I might double up on the A15, or see what other random fabric I have in the basement. I also raised one of my old SFG beds to an ANSFG bed and filled it with MM. I got the grid partially on before it got just too dark.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  trolleydriver on 12/5/2016, 6:38 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
@countrynaturals wrote:Oops! That settles it! What I have is broccoli. I guess my Brussels Sprouts didn't make it, so I'll replant them, today. Embarassed
I had the same problem this spring, CN - old seeds. I'm not sure if that's ultimately why my sprouts are so far behind or not.  I took a peek at them today and the sprouts are still less than 1/2" diameter. And also the same  problem of losing labels. Brussels and cabbage have rounder leaves, and the Brussels have longer stems on the leaves. But I've got one in the garden right now that has more oval leaves, but I still don't know if it's a broccoli or cauliflower!

Today I managed to convince myself to garden for a few hours while it was 'warm' (aka above freezing.) There was a heavy dusting of snow this morning, like powdered sugar on fried dough at the fair, but it all melted before sunset. I harvested all my celeriacs because Friday night's forecast has dropped to the teens (17*F=-8*C.)  They are smaller than I hoped, but there are things I can change/improve next year. A woolly bear tried to climb the house by the garden, and got a free ride to elsewhere in the yard once it gave up and started trucking where I was trying to walk back and forth.

I got my Agribon50 cut, but not sewn. And I built cages from wire-cube shelving pieces for some of the scattered broccoli and cabbages around the garden, but haven't covered them yet. I won't have enough A50. I might double up on the A15, or see what other random fabric I have in the basement. I also raised one of my old SFG beds to an ANSFG bed and filled it with MM. I got the grid partially on before it got just too dark.
A very, very busy Beetles.  Very Happy

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  Scorpio Rising on 12/5/2016, 10:21 pm

I need to figure out the covering issue....for extended season and protection from  the white butterflies!
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 12/9/2016, 9:25 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:I need to figure out the covering issue....for extended season and protection from  the white butterflies!
I don't think there's a single good answer that does both of those. I used Agribon15 for the white butterflies this year, but it theoretically doesn't protect against frost to any degree - or perhaps so minor as to not count for season extension. It also is somewhat prone to tearing, especially with the winds where I am. I've picked up tulle for next year, for the white butterflies. I expect that the tulle will decrease my problems with slugs, since the Agribon holds humidity in.

For season extension, I accidentally lied above. It's NOT Agribon50, it's Agribon30. I did get it sewn together, and up over my wagon hoop-house frames. I was originally planning to do some cold frames, I had the planting all sketched out of my garden map. I even have windows waiting in the garage... but the more I read, the less enthusiastic I was about cold frames -- and the more interested I was in winter gardening. Before you build cold frames, read this!:
   http://www.motherofahubbard.com/10-reasons-low-tunnels-are-better-than-cold-frames/
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  AtlantaMarie on 12/10/2016, 7:20 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
@Scorpio Rising wrote:I need to figure out the covering issue....for extended season and protection from  the white butterflies!
I don't think there's a single good answer that does both of those. I used Agribon15 for the white butterflies this year, but it theoretically doesn't protect against frost to any degree - or perhaps so minor as to not count for season extension. It also is somewhat prone to tearing, especially with the winds where I am. I've picked up tulle for next year, for the white butterflies. I expect that the tulle will decrease my problems with slugs, since the Agribon holds humidity in.

For season extension, I accidentally lied above. It's NOT Agribon50, it's Agribon30. I did get it sewn together, and up over my wagon hoop-house frames. I was originally planning to do some cold frames, I had the planting all sketched out of my garden map. I even have windows waiting in the garage... but the more I read, the less enthusiastic I was about cold frames -- and the more interested I was in winter gardening. Before you build cold frames, read this!:
   http://www.motherofahubbard.com/10-reasons-low-tunnels-are-better-than-cold-frames/

Very interesting article! And I've got everything except the Agribon. Just haven't installed it yet...

I had also looked at cold frames, but just haven't been thrilled with them. So this definitely helped set my mind.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

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