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Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/21/2017, 8:49 am

There was no hail, but a square of lettuce got damaged - I think the tree that's partly over the garden is responsible for creating some sort of forceful dripping. (I know, you shouldn't have a tree near the garden, but it was still the best location for what I have to work with.)

Here's my new OSFG box, made only because I snagged some curb-side lumber that could be used to form a box without cutting. It's not an even number of feet in either direction, but I decided I wanted growing space more than integers. There are two bamboo tripods for the 4 tomatoes in the bed. The tripods aren't teepee style, the middle pole for each tripod goes all the way across the bed. I may drop twine from the tips of the poles rather than than tying the tomatoes directly to the poles. I have to decide soon - I forgot how fast tomatoes grow when the temperatures are right! There's also basil in the bed, and celeriac between the tomatoes. The tomatoes will make it hard to access the center of the bed, but the celeriac won't need much tending since they won't be harvested until late fall.



It looks like weeds to the left because it is - it's one of two flower beds. It has asters, Queen Anne's Lace, wild chicory, cardinal flower, hyssop, agastache, penstemon, and I sowed nasturtiums on the edge that I need to check on and possibly resow. It's been very wet, and since the flower beds are minimally amended, it doesn't drain well and my seeds could have rotted.  The colored wire grid to the right I tossed over some edible weeds and volunteers to keep the lawn service from 'helping me.'
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/25/2017, 9:27 pm

Got a ladder (I may need it for picking beans!) Finally put up solar light on the gutters. ....Learned why there have been so many more mosquitoes in the garden this year.  pale Unclogged gutters.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 6/27/2017, 10:33 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've harvested . . . two fistfuls of volunteer parsley (rearranged my plan to leave 2 squares because a swallowtail laid an egg on it right in front of me)
Only a SFG gardener would do this. Very Happy

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  countrynaturals on 6/27/2017, 11:49 am

@sanderson wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've harvested . . . two fistfuls of volunteer parsley (rearranged my plan to leave 2 squares because a swallowtail laid an egg on it right in front of me)
Only a SFG gardener would do this. Very Happy
Ooo, that would make my day. I love you We haven't seen a single egg-laying butterfly yet this year (except cabbage whites in my veggie plants  Evil or Very Mad ).
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/27/2017, 1:20 pm

Plenty of cabbage white butterflies here. In addition to picking off the eggs and tiny caterpillars (and rarely larger ones since I inevitably miss some), I've started catching the adults. So far I've apprehended 20 of them. hiddenID
I know I should just get my tulle up; I'm already hitting my head on the PVC frame anyhow.

Other butterflies that have made an appearance this year: a red admiral, a fritillary, tiger swallowtails, and several white-spotted skippers.

Someone (e.g. Me, me, or maybe ME.) left the garden gate open for most of the day.  Evil or Very Mad And something that likes lettuce, radicchio, carrots tops, parsnip tops, and garnet-stemmed dandelions had a small feast. I've also found 5 holes inside the garden - 3 in the OSFG, and 2 in the ANSFG beds. I've removed one vole thus far.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/28/2017, 9:10 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@sanderson wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I've harvested . . . two fistfuls of volunteer parsley (rearranged my plan to leave 2 squares because a swallowtail laid an egg on it right in front of me)
Only a SFG gardener would do this. Very Happy
Ooo, that would make my day. I love you We haven't seen a single egg-laying butterfly yet this year (except cabbage whites in my veggie plants  Evil or Very Mad ).
This warms my heart.....truly.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/30/2017, 8:33 am

The swallowtails don't seem to eat that much of the parsley. The cabbage butterflies caterpillars eat too much and do too much damage (and they're messy poopers!) Removing the adults did cut down on the eggs I was finding.

But now I have a different problem. I thought I'd let something large in the garden, but the damage is ongoing. The lettuce loss was mostly just annoying... but now my poor poor parsnips have no leaves.  Sad  Sadly, this means war.

There are no big rabbit/groundhog holes in the garden and I don't think a groundhog could climb my non-taut deer netting fence without making it obvious. I added higher poles to the only clear landing spot for deer. I don't think a baby rabbit could go unnoticed for several days. So it has to be the voles. The damage is higher on the plants, but maybe they climb or just reach up and pull the stalks down to nibble the leaves off the top. They seem to be climbing up into the beds rather than tunneling from underneath, so not having hardware cloth under the beds isn't the problem.

Building some Eliot Coleman style vole trap boxes is on the schedule this weekend. Twisted Evil
scroll to the bottom: http://www.mofga.org/Default.aspx?tabid=844

Other than the lettuces, parsnips, carrots, orach, radicchio, and garnet-stemmed dandelion being in bad shape due to the ?voles, the garden is doing ok. The tomatoes look good, no blight yet. I want to try to spray them with aspirin this year, but I'm guessing it won't work well if the rain washes it off hours later.  The ANSFG eggplants, peppers, and squash aren't doing well. Too cool (it got down to 40*F the other night Mad), plus not enough sun, plus slug damage, and maybe also slightly too alkaline MM. The beans are so-so. I was late getting them in, and I have to resow quite a few. The front porch sub-irrigated planter herd, hosting okra, tomatoes, peppers, butternuts, melons, and watermelons, looks good, but crowded. The fava beans have rust. The chickpeas have unripe pods, and planting at 9 per square instead of 4 did not prevent them from flopping. 

With the oddly cool nights, the cabbages, kale, collards ('cept the one the voles trimmed) and all the peas are doing well. Some of my other cool season crops aren't getting enough sun, like the turnips and kohlrabi. The romanesco may yet yield, but the regular cauliflower seems stuck. My conclusion is that transplanting the broccoli/cabbages, etc early is just as important as starting them indoors on time.

I think I have beets out there. The celeriac are plugging along - thus far spared by the voles. The snap-dragons are beautiful, but successfully over-wintering them was an accident and they are in the way. The onions are ...there. They seem smaller than I expected for this time of year, but they have time yet. The leeks and green onions have some losses from the garlic leaf miner and I'll need to cull some of them. The garlic looks about right, except for two varieties. My Spanish Roja and Translvanian garlics have yellow streaking on the leaves that I fear is viral. I should probably not plant back any of those two this fall. ...And if I'm smart I'll mark them with yarn since once the leaves die back I won't be able to tell which ones were affected.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/1/2017, 9:43 pm

What exactly looks like viral stripes on garlic?  My garlic has browning tips, I think that is normal maybe?  Scapes came off 2 weeks ago...

Sounds like you r garden is going really well for the most part!  My one Romanesco is shading out a square of carrots and a pepper.   I broke a couple leaves to see if it will let some sun shine in!  Honestly, I will probably have plenty of peppers....I went overboard this year.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/2/2017, 6:42 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:What exactly looks like viral stripes on garlic?  My garlic has browning tips, I think that is normal maybe?  Scapes came off 2 weeks ago...

Sounds like you r garden is going really well for the most part!  My one Romanesco is shading out a square of carrots and a pepper.   I broke a couple leaves to see if it will let some sun shine in!  Honestly, I will probably have plenty of peppers....I went overboard this year.
Brown tips sounds normal as they leaves start to die back, starting with the lowest ones. I put a photo of my striped garlic leaves over in the Mary, Mary quite contrary thread.

For the most part, yes, it's going well. But the vole(s) took out half my soy bean seedlings in the middle of the day yesterday! I spent a few hours trimming the tall grass at the back of the garden, and around my half of the tree by the garden. They are supposed to hate losing cover, but I can't tell if it had any effect on them. Maybe it made nighttime travel too risky (more easily seen by owls with no tall grass to hide under), hence the daytime raid.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/3/2017, 7:39 am

Groundhog. I heard rustling as I was doing stuff outside the garden, saw the weed wildflower bed inside the garden wiggle, came around to see - and there it was. I made what can best be described as an infuriated noise at it (it wasn't a yell or a scream, but it was a very odd sound to hear come out of myself.) And watched it bounce off the fence three times before teleporting through it. It did not climb the fence. It was simply suddenly on the other side. I thought, Aha! I found a hole in my fence, but no! I checked the fence where it barrelled through. The biggest gap was no more than 2".  I have no idea where it's coming in -- it's climbing up somewhere. But if it can also teleport, how am I going to stop it?
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  countrynaturals on 7/3/2017, 11:50 am

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote: But if it can also teleport, how am I going to stop it?
Name it Scotty and move on.  rofl (My garden friend is a skunk. affraid )
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/3/2017, 6:30 pm

My garden 'pet' is a turkey that eats my broccoli. Her 8 chicks eat the lettuce. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/3/2017, 7:21 pm

I think Scotty will be finding a shuttlecraft soon. (The kind baited with something like cantaloupe, with a door that shuts behind him, and gets tractor-beamed to a larger spacecraft that then dumps his furry rump on another planet.)
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  countrynaturals on 7/3/2017, 9:22 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:I think Scotty will be finding a shuttlecraft soon. (The kind baited with something like cantaloupe, with a door that shuts behind him, and gets tractor-beamed to a larger spacecraft that then dumps his furry rump on another planet.)
Phasers on stun! darn funny
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/4/2017, 1:28 pm

funny post
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/7/2017, 8:24 am

No sign Scotty has been back, but I'll probably borrow the HavAHeart shuttlecraft this weekend.

Meanwhile, look what's hiding in the middle of my Romanesco plant:


Here's the yellow squash and two zucchinis in an Earthbox thrown into the landscape bed. I was hoping they'd lean more towards the neat trellis thing I found on someone's curb*, but it's a least keeping them from flopping that direction. I harvested my first small zucchini yesterday.

*Yes, I'm being facetious, I know it's a rebounder for practicing some sort of sport.

And here's the SIP (sub-irrigated planter) colony on the front porch, from left to right): melons, watermelons, mini butternuts, dwarf okra at the center back, tomatoes, tomatoes, peppers, determinate tomatoes.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  countrynaturals on 7/7/2017, 11:30 am

Awesome, Beetles! What a happy garden! BIG hug
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  trolleydriver on 7/7/2017, 11:35 am

@countrynaturals wrote:Awesome, Beetles! What a happy garden! BIG hug
+1 ... fabulous

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 7/8/2017, 1:31 am

+2

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/10/2017, 10:21 pm

Thanks for the compliments!

I've got a wilting tomato, no idea why. The adjacent tomatoes are fine. I fear it's verticullum or fusarium, but there are no signs of yellowing.

Today's theme is apparently visitors.
CLICKY!

Likely a bad guy (well, her kids at least probably are), but I moved her to the other end of the yard instead of killing her.

Here's a snake I found while moving the click beetle - it's a Northern Water Snake - non-venomous, great to have in the yard even though I'd prefer it not eat my frogs. 


Young praying mantis camouflaged on my zucchini. I hope he's eating pests, but pollinators are just as likely.


I went to remove a cabbage butterfly caterpillar from my kale and saw it had little black dots on it. A closer look made me think brachonid wasps were laying their eggs into it  There's a wasp in the foreground, and another visible on the back end of the caterpillar in the background. I looked up the wasp and it's not a brachonid, but it is a parasite. It's likely Pteromalus puparum. It attacks pupae and caterpillars that are about to pupate. I'll leave the stricken caterpillar so I can get more tiny parasites. 
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/11/2017, 3:57 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:

I went to remove a cabbage butterfly caterpillar from my kale and saw it had little black dots on it. A closer look made me think brachonid wasps were laying their eggs into it  There's a wasp in the foreground, and another visible on the back end of the caterpillar in the background. I looked up the wasp and it's not a brachonid, but it is a parasite. It's likely Pteromalus puparum. It attacks pupae and caterpillars that are about to pupate. I'll leave the stricken caterpillar so I can get more tiny parasites. 

ALL these photos are fantastic, Beetles! But this one is amazing. It really shows just how small that wasp is in comparison to the caterpillar it's on.

Thanks for these!
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/19/2017, 8:31 pm

My mysteriously wilting tomato completely recovered just as mysteriously. hiddenID

Scotty hasn't been back in the garden. I accidentally left the gate open today  but didn't find anything noshed, so I guess we have a truce.  I give up! (But I'll keep the gate closed!)

I'm delighted at how easily my compost tumbler rotates even when nearly full on one side. It's too wet but I'm worried that adding the amount of 'browns' needed to dry it out will change my C:N ratio too much.

I took out the shell peas and snow peas since they were pretty much done. The Alaska peas were dry so I took them out, too. But the Swedish Red peas haven't dried down yet. I though putting them in earlier would make them done sooner, but that doesn't seem to be the case. But maybe I got a higher yield instead?

I harvested my fava beans. I'm disappointed: I think I averaged one pod per plant. That doesn't seem right, but I don't know what I did wrong. I think I'm supposed to take them out now, but the plants have rust. I don't know whether my hot compost is hot enough to kill rust and I can't find any data. thinking

I've gotten my first cuke, a few 'Healthy' peppers, a few okra, and the first ground cherries. The zucchinis are rolling in, but something's off with the crookneck, some of the newer leaves have a strange texture and coloration. There are plenty of green tomatoes about, but nary a blush of pink. The lettuce is doing pretty well in the shade.

The container eggplants are looking good, but the False Colorado Beetle that visited apparently left behind eggs. Alas, her babies were not permitted to stay. The ANSFG eggplants have flea beetles, as usual. The square I treated with acidifier has a plant that looks significantly better than the half-treated and non-treated eggplant squares - more and bigger leaves, and a better color. I need to recheck the pH before proceeding to fully treat the other squares.

Last year the melon plants were happy. This year they are going crazy. They are on the front porch in a SIP, and I'm worried they will tendril over the doorknob during the night. 

I harvested some of the garlic the other day, but since I watered everything but the garlic this morning, there was of course a downpour this afternoon, and now everything is too wet to work with - and the garlic I was drying got drenched because I wasn't home silly me
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/20/2017, 9:27 am

A silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), one of many pollinators attracted to my dogbane patch in the front landscape bed.


I found slimy globs of eggs nested in the lower leaves on some of my cabbages and lettuces. Pretty sure they were snail eggs, especially since baby snails are now appearing in the garden.


A brachonid wasp (Cotesia glomerata) freshly emerged from one of the yellow cocoons - see the flipped hatch door? The wasp larvae made this mass of cocoons after they emerged from a cabbage butterfly caterpillar. The adjacent exhausted caterpillar husk they bored out of fell away some time ago.

ff
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/20/2017, 4:15 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
A brachonid wasp (Cotesia glomerata) freshly emerged from one of the yellow cocoons - see the flipped hatch door? The wasp larvae made this mass of cocoons after they emerged from a cabbage butterfly caterpillar. The adjacent exhausted caterpillar husk they bored out of fell away some time ago.

ff

Amazing photography and info, Beetles! Thanks.
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania, 3rd year SFG

Post  sanderson on 7/21/2017, 7:50 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
A brachonid wasp (Cotesia glomerata) freshly emerged from one of the yellow cocoons - see the flipped hatch door? The wasp larvae made this mass of cocoons after they emerged from a cabbage butterfly caterpillar. The adjacent exhausted caterpillar husk they bored out of fell away some time ago.

ff

Amazing photography and info, Beetles!  Thanks.
Very much so. +1

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