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Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 2/23/2017, 3:18 am

You have been busy! No wonder you're sore. Shocked

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/23/2017, 3:48 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:The weather has been too nice for too many consecutive days. I caved and direct sowed some seeds. I put in: a square each of KN-Bravo radish, Alpine radish, Green-in-Snow mustard, Red Giant mustard, Osaka Purple mustard, Red Samurai carrot, Joi Choi bok choy, mache, Manoa lettuce, rocket, and Dazzling Blue kale, and half squares of Hungarian Winter Pink lettuce and Hyper Red Rumple Waved lettuce.

No kidding!?  I can't wait to see what happens!
hyper
Covered? If so, with plastic or agribon?
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 2/23/2017, 6:54 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:The weather has been too nice for too many consecutive days. I caved and direct sowed some seeds. I put in: a square each of KN-Bravo radish, Alpine radish, Green-in-Snow mustard, Red Giant mustard, Osaka Purple mustard, Red Samurai carrot, Joi Choi bok choy, mache, Manoa lettuce, rocket, and Dazzling Blue kale, and half squares of Hungarian Winter Pink lettuce and Hyper Red Rumple Waved lettuce.

No kidding!?  I can't wait to see what happens!
hyper
Covered?  If so, with plastic or agribon?
I'm curious, too! It got up to 70*F today. First open windows of the year! In February. Shocked

So today I sowed more to expand the experiment - the Dwarf Blue Curled Vates Kale from you, winter cress, komatsuna, edible chrysanthemum, Evergreen bunching onion, Purple Sun carrots, and garnet-stemmed dandelion (which is actually a chicory like endive, escarole, and radicchio rather than being a type of lawn dandelion)  ...and I have cilantro, spinach, and beet seeds soaking. The beds I'm using both got a jumpstart on warming by having had plastic on them during some days that were both warm and sunny - hopefully I didn't solarize too many of my microbes.

I am going to cover with plastic late Friday afternoon because of this forecast:
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/dangerous-potentially-damaging-storms-to-threaten-midwestern-and-northeastern-us/70000928
I don't want downpours washing my seeds away.

Besides that, I haven't really thought this through all the way! The favas and peas (not yet sown) have dibs on the remaining agribon. 
I believe many of my selections have direct sow instructions indicating a number of weeks before the expected last frost. Example, lettuce, here: http://www.harvesttotable.com/2009/02/how_to_grow_lettuce/
" Direct sow lettuce in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date."
Ergo, they must be able to tolerate at least light frosts. So I only have to consider nights below 28*F - I'll probably try to do more research to find out which might be okay below that. On the one hand I want to know which will survive without protection. On the other hand I want them to succeed, even if I need to do more work, so I can eat them.

The long range forecast (which isn't highly accurate but is still useful) expects all future days to get above freezing - lowest daytime high listed are two 37*Fs during the second week of March. At this rate the last frost is likely to be several weeks early. Not enough to risk the peppers and eggplants (nights will still be cool for their liking anyhow), but maybe I can get some other things hardened off and out sooner, and have a less crowded grow shelf this year. bounce
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 2/24/2017, 2:32 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
" Direct sow lettuce in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date."
Ergo, they must be able to tolerate at least light frosts. So I only have to consider nights below 28*F - I'll probably try to do more research to find out which might be okay below that. On the one hand I want to know which will survive without protection. On the other hand I want them to succeed, even if I need to do more work, so I can eat them.


Two or three yrs ago I let my lettuce box go to seed to see what would come up the following year, if anything. They did! What a Face Red and green ones, maybe Lolla Rosa and Grand Rapids. But not any of the spotted or striped or variegated ones. I guess the latter are special and just too fussy.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 2/25/2017, 6:12 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
" Direct sow lettuce in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date."
Ergo, they must be able to tolerate at least light frosts. So I only have to consider nights below 28*F - I'll probably try to do more research to find out which might be okay below that. On the one hand I want to know which will survive without protection. On the other hand I want them to succeed, even if I need to do more work, so I can eat them.

Two or three yrs ago I let my lettuce box go to seed to see what would come up the following year, if anything.  They did! What a Face  Red and green ones, maybe Lolla Rosa and Grand Rapids.  But not any of the spotted or striped or variegated ones.  I guess the latter are special and just too fussy.    
Interesting. I love the spotty ones. I had a volunteer lettuce in my front landscape bed last year.
---
The expected storms have come and gone. It wasn't as bad as I expected - no thunder, but between this and the rain next week my dirt will be too soggy again. I checked it yesterday morning and it was awesome, not mucky, so I dug a replacement (previous got converted to ANSFG) 4x4 OSFG out of the lawn at the back of the garden, mixed in some compost, and finally got my Jerusalem artichokes re-planted! It got up to 74*F. Crazy. I'm sore again, lots of clay and rocks...and my plan still has a new/replacement 11x3 left to dig. It makes me grateful for raised beds.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/1/2017, 9:48 pm

I dug out another OSFG replacement section yesterday. The soil texture was marginal, just barely dry enough. I was making good time until I hit a rock. A big rock. It was about 11"x14"x8" like a slightly toppled column, and the damp clay was creating some suction in addition to the raw weight. I (carefully!) kept at it, and finally managed to get it out using two shovels as levers, and some of my tomato trellis rope around the rock so I had something I could get my hands on/around without worrying about smashing my hands. uphill and win I tried to fill the hole with broken twigs, but the resulting section is still a little lower than it should be. 

A cold snap is coming in, so today I put the straw mulch back on the garlic. I had taken it off so that the garlic  and the MM could get sun. The main section that I briefly had plastic on have about an inch of garlic shoot showing. The supplemental section that I did not plastic does not yet have visible shoots. I put plastic bins, bags, and sheeting on/back on most of the surviving plants. I covered the seed-sown bed with plastic sheeting, leaving one of my hoop houses with just its Agribon30. I'm not worried about the collard that's in there, the kale will probably be fine, but I'm not sure if I should try to give the cabbage some additional protection.

Of the seeds I sowed last week, only the lettuces have germinated, just barely - they haven't even unfurled their seed leaves. I put fridge drawers upside-down over them this evening. The forecast: the temperature will drop to just above freezing tonight, rise a few degrees tomorrow, then drop below freezing from Thursday night until late Sunday morning, with lows of 23*F, 14*F, and 17*F. Will the un-germinated(?) seeds and seedlings make it?
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/3/2017, 9:52 pm

I looked outside this afternoon to see that my other hoop house had 'popped' due to the wind. I bundled up and put it back up again, and a blinding snow squall hit 3 minutes after I went back inside -- the squall caused 3 interstate crashes, 65 vehicles (no deaths reported, so I think just injuries.)

Tonight I got my cauliflower, Romanesco, and one of my kales sown indoors, along with the re-do of my Crimson Forest Bunching Onion (I got a replacement packet after the first one gave me no germination twice last year -- and again this year with everything else in the tray germinating.) I up-potted my broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts to small pots from the cell trays they were in. The celeriac have germinated just fine, and the onions and leeks are coming along. I have beet, parsley, and parsley root seeds soaking for sowing inside tomorrow.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/5/2017, 3:16 pm

It got down to 8*F last night (-13*C.)
I couldn't help myself (too curious) and peeked in on the lettuce seedlings under their fridge drawers this afternoon. They look alive!
I'll wait until Monday to check on the other squares since I want to leave the plastic in place overnight tonight (23*F low expected) and I'm lazy and don't like moving it back and forth.

I'm thinking about sowing/planting (germinated) peas, chickpeas and fava beans on the 17th, and I'm liking how the forecast looks for that.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/6/2017, 6:39 pm

I took the plastic off everything for now because it got warm enough today. The forecast keeps changing. I'm not sure if the butterflies are being extra flappy in the Himalayan Mtns, or if the changes just seem more dramatic than they are because they are bouncing between numbers that matter vs what actions I take next. No snow ... 10" snow ...3" snow...
 
Here's what germinated outside (soil pre-warmed with plastic): lettuce, komatsuna, mustards, kales, chrysanthemum, pak choy
Here's what hasn't (yet?): rocket, radishes, scallions, beets, carrots, 'dandelion'(chicory), mache, winter cress, cilantro
The indoor-sown kale is also up, but none of the other recently sown seeds.
Friday night is looking cold, but no colder than what these babies already survived (with protection.)
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/6/2017, 6:50 pm

Hmmmm.  Too labile here, plus my protection is per seedling, little cloches with 20oz bottles.  

Keep us posted!
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/15/2017, 5:12 pm

The big storm (Stella) dropped 7" of snow by yesterday morning. I brushed/shook off my wagon hoop-houses, low tunnel, and the plastic on the garlic and on the bed I sowed. But it snowed more after that, somewhere between another 1-3" I'd guess. The wind today has had 35mph gusts and is throwing the snow all over Why did I bother to try to shovel the walk and parking pad yesterday? I'm not going out to brush off more snow from the plastic in the garden today, the wind will just put it back. Plus it's mostly sliding off the hoops because it's cold enough now that the snow isn't 'sticky.'

Instead, I'm staying inside and starting my kales, half my collards (waiting on a seed trade for part II), my first round of lettuce, escarole, and endive, and most of my tomatoes (the ones I have enough WallOWaters for.)
The beet, parsley root, cauliflower and romanesco seeds I started inside have mostly germinated.

The time for hardening off the broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts is approaching, but the weather doesn't look very suitable. A document from Penn State suggests that just having them at 55*F (a little warmer than my basement currently is...) for a week works better than more severe hardening off so I may go that route (plus milk jug cloches) instead.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/16/2017, 1:16 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote: A document from Penn State suggests that just having them at 55*F (a little warmer than my basement currently is...) for a week works better than more severe hardening off so I may go that route (plus milk jug cloches) instead.

Really? That's great news! The temp right next to the window where my broccoli, greens and lettuces currently sit gets down into the low 50's at night. But up to hi 70's when sunny out. Did the doc say anything about fluctuations and hardening off?
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/16/2017, 3:01 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote: A document from Penn State suggests that just having them at 55*F (a little warmer than my basement currently is...) for a week works better than more severe hardening off so I may go that route (plus milk jug cloches) instead.

Really?  That's great news!  The temp right next to the window where my broccoli, greens and lettuces currently sit gets down into the low 50's at night.  But up to hi 70's when sunny out.  Did the doc say anything about fluctuations and hardening off?
I believe they mean without getting warmer during the day; the quote is "Plants 4–6 weeks old, slightly hardened (held at 55°F for a week with minimal  but adequate watering), with 4–5 true leaves resume growth faster and usually outyield larger, older, or severely hardened plants."
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 3/28/2017, 11:09 pm

Where I'm at indoors:
Onions and leeks need a hair cut, and probably a little organic fertilizer since they are in rather small cells in non-so-nutritious seed starting mix. Re-re-started Crimson Forest Bunching Onions (got replacement seeds, but used the same cells for the first re-try and I think the soil got a bit crusty for them to break through.)
First set of brassicas is a little hardened off. Second set just got their first true leaves.
First beets are up, have some true leaves, but are a bit lanky; second succession sown.
Parsley root seedlings are up and have a few leaves.
Most of the first lettuces, endive, and escarole have a few true leaves.
Minutina has this far had very low germination. Oops, maybe I was supposed to cold-stratify these.
First set of tomatoes is mostly up - three didn't germinate, re-sowed.
Peppers and eggplants sown. Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers) sown.
Cold-moist stratification started for the shiso, stinging nettle, asters, milkweed, jewelweed, and some others.
Celeriac seedlings potted up from the Jiffy pods.
Peas (5 kinds), favas, and chickpeas are humidifying to germinate them before sowing.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday night) will get to freezing or so, so I'll hold off seeding anything outside tomorrow.
Thursday I think I'll put in more mustard seeds, and maybe some of the carrots.
6 weeks before last frost is coming up fast, and it looks like I have a quite the to-do list for that!

The seeds I direct-sowed earlier - those that germinated, mostly survived. A few didn't - I can't tell if it's damping off, cold damage, or whether precipitation whacked them too hard on their tender little stems. The survivors aren't past seed leaves, however. This makes sense, because it's been mostly below 45*F for most of the time since they sprouted. I think I'd try early direct sowing again with a row cover that stays on, rather than plastic that has to go on and come off.

The greens over-wintered under row cover (and sometimes plastic on top) are doing quite well. But the claytonia are crowding out the mache, and the komatsuna is bolting. I plan to expand that effort this coming winter. I don't know if the kale will survive to make seed (for microgreens), but the collards are likely to bolt successfully so I can grow their offspring. I'm worried they'd both flower at once anyhow and contaminate each other, and I'd rather save these awesome collards.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 3/29/2017, 2:59 pm

You've been busy!!

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/2/2017, 6:55 pm

Yesterday was too cold to plant peas. Not too cold for the peas, just too cold to make my fingers work right for long enough. I did get help moving the cold frame out of the garden to make way for the peas. Today was much nicer - and so it was another busy day! I planted the favas, the chickpeas, and most of the peas. This year, to carefully grab the slippery, fragile, tangled, sprouted peas, I used something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Bamboo-Wood-Toast-Tong-Variable/dp/B001V9RFHA
SO MUCH EASIER THAN TRYING TO GRAB THEM WITH MY FINGERS. cheers

I also sowed basils, ground cherries, tomatillos, more tomatoes, and the next set of lettuce.
Half the peppers and eggplants are up. The cilantro I sowed in the garden is sprouting, and I think some of the "dandelion"(chicory) out there have germinated. I transplanted claytonia volunteers, and I think I found some volunteer mache seedlings that can transplant and thus skip sowing.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/5/2017, 12:13 am

Yesterday I sowed mustard seeds and transplanted my cabbages and broccoli out. I totally messed up where I wanted which cabbages because I sowed them before I bought labels for the year. Rolling Eyes If I'm lucky I didn't mix up the broccoli and Brussels sprouts with the cabbages.

Today I up-potted my kales and collards and took a census of what's germinated/not. My Siberian kale and my cauliflower seedlings are very lanky. I guess I'm going to need to start these sooner next year, so that they don't overlap so much with turning the thermostat up for the ground cherries.

Inside: 2 of my tomato varieties, 2 of my eggplant varieties, and 3 of my pepper varieties haven't germinated yet. Thursday will be 2 weeks; I'm tempted to resow those. The minutina has had a few more germinate. The early greens seedlings are doing well. The onions, scallions, and leeks are growing much differently than last year: much straighter and stiffer - and larger. bounce  

Outside: I'm missing sprouts for 3 garlics, and found another missing one had rotted. A few of my pea seedlings have poked through the surface - including some volunteers where I dumped what I thought were just dry empty pods! The carrots, beets, scallions and wintercress that I planted late February have in fact had some germination, but not 100%. The mustards, kales, komatsuna, pak choi, and edible chrysanthemum squares that I sowed in late February are doing well - some losses, and un-even growth. I underestimated the few crosnes tubers that I inevitably ended up missing: they are coming up through the 8" of MM, plus whatever depth of dirt that hid them from my view when I harvested them.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  ralitaco on 4/5/2017, 12:58 am

Beetles, I just read your thread...wow, you are busy, busy, busy!

I would love to see some pictures of your setups.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/6/2017, 9:55 am

@ralitaco wrote:Beetles, I just read your thread...wow, you are busy, busy, busy!

I would love to see some pictures of your setups.
I think I'll wait to take photos until this weekend - I have a lot of things covered for today/Friday (maybe heavy rain, followed by maybe snow and two nights maybe just below freezing) either because I haven't gotten around to uncovering from the winter or because the recent transplants are a little shy of having been properly hardened off. I also have plastic sheeting tarp-style across the back corner of the garden that will become old-style SFG once it's dry enough to dig. I'm sure everyone wants to see the plants instead of all the plastic trash treasures currently strewn across my garden.

I scored some sawdust/wood chips off freecycle on Tuesday! Now my paths temporarily look nice again, and I'm not slipping in the mud. Smile

The onions,leeks, parsley root, and beets got their first dose of sunlight yesterday. The beets were a little traumatized, but I'm sure they'll be fine. Most of my second set of tomatoes and my basils popped up sometime yesterday. I can just make out little white rootlets emerging from some of my tomatillo and ground cherry seeds (surface-sown on Jiffy pods under a clear cover for really high humidity, and heat retention.)
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/10/2017, 5:33 pm

Great daytime weather the past few days. Crazy high of 77*F today! But I lost out on Sunday due to pickling my brain Saturday night. Went to a birthday celebration and too many friends bought me drinks. I wasn't sick, and didn't have a headache, but I couldn't think well enough for most of Sunday to accomplish complicated tasks like planting tiny things in the correct squares.

But between Friday and today: lots of indoor sowing (herbs, more greens, more brassicas), lots of outdoor sowing (spinach, mustard, radishes), plenty of this and that (hardening off plants, slug removal, watering.) The cabbage butterfly is out and about. I had an eggplant seed from 2009 hatch, and I think I finally got two of the tomatoes that were being stubborn - they still have their seed hats on, but at least they germinated. Still fighting with some peppers and eggplants from 2016/2017 seed packets. The ground cherries are all up, and at least half the tomatillos, all of the basils.

Still have plastic and other junk strewn all over the garden, but I took a photo anyhow. It's getting hard to fit it all in one shot. There's a collard and an over-wintered cabbage obscured by the closer hoop-house.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  ralitaco on 4/11/2017, 12:39 am

Wow! that is great. You have quite a lot of boxes to maintain. I can hardly keep up with my 3. And look at that dark green grass!!!!


@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:they still have their seed hats on
lol!
I saw that on my pumpkin seedlings
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  Banned Member on 4/11/2017, 7:35 am

A very well-planned garden like that makes me very hungry.  Can you come help organize our garden to look like that?

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 4/12/2017, 3:31 am

Beetles, Please post your very first photo of the garden area for comparison. You have done an amazing job expanding and raising the beds.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/28/2017, 11:01 pm

My grandma passed away on Thursday. Sad  She was 99. I'm sad, but I have a lot of good memories. I went to the viewing and funeral, and tried to help my mom, so I've been out of town for nearly a week.
I haven't had a good chance to figure out exactly where I'm at with all my plantings (besides likely behind). A quick walk-through suggests that the garden did fine without me, even the last minute transplants. Even the seedlings indoors did well- the tomatoes were a little wilted, and some of the seedlings went lanky and might need to just be replaced, but no losses.

(I'll get back to that photo comparison soon, Sanderson.)
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  trolleydriver on 4/28/2017, 11:24 pm

Sorry to hear of your loss Beetles. I'm still dealing with the passing of my Mom on March 16. Like you I have the good memories.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

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