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Couple quick questions..

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Couple quick questions..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/3/2011, 3:52 pm

Thanks for all the help so far, guys. But, here are a couple other questions I've thought of during my pricing mission today at local hardware stores.

What am I specifically looking for in the nylon netting? I am finding some items that are close, but the holes are way too small to be weaving plants in and out of. And, if it can't be found at Lowes/HD/ACE where might I try? Smaller nurseries? And, would soccer netting be similar at a Sports Authority?

What types of plastic sheeting do you use on your hoop houses/cold frames, soil warming plastic, etc? I am finding different sizes, and would like some help in determining the logic. Obviously, the thicker, the more durable. But, also the heavier and possibly the less light will pass through? I am seeing .7mm, 1mm, 3mm, 6mm, etc. I am just wondering if you prefer a specific thickness for a specific reason.

As for black plastic, do you just lay it directly on the soil and anchor with bricks? Or do you drape it over a frame. I have no experience with this, so I don't know if the heat hits the soil directly or if there needs to be some cushion of air to actually heat up. (Yes, I overthink things in the winters...lol.)

Seeds? Cheaper online or in a store that bought tons of quantities? I saw 2g packets of a Nantes variety of carrot the other day at an ACE Hardware for $1.65. I was seeing $1.85/g at the cheapest online. Again, just curious.

Mel's book mentions watering Cukes weekly, twice weekly in hot weather. But, he never mentions frequencies of other veggies like tomatoes, peas, lettuce....just says don't let it dry out. So......how often are you guys watering? Again, overthinking because I know when the soil is losing moisture, and that it's totally climate dependent. Just wondering because it seems daily or at least 3X/wk is more like it, much more often in August. I can't imagine Cucumbers being "the highest water content" veggie and only needing water once a week. Thought it would be more. (Obv, I have never grown cukes.)

There. You now have a little sumppin sumppin to chew on during winter. Thanks in advance for the comments/help.

BBG


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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Squat_Johnson on 1/3/2011, 4:35 pm

re: Netting, what are you thinking of using it for?
I have used the black net with half-inch openings. I only use it to keep rabbits out of the perimeter, and as a row cover to keep cabbage moths from laying eggs on broccoli and cabbage. I just cover the entire box, and remove to weed etc.

I think the 6mil plastic is what I used on my little 4x4 cold frame. No preference, it is just all I have tried.

Seeds? I normally get common things from Lowes or wal-mart. Trying some odd things online this year, but haven't ordered yet.

Haven't covered with black plastic. Maybe I should...

As for watering, I use soaker hoses. Best investment since Mel's mix... One spigot branches into 3 big beds (4' x 24' each). In each bed there is a canvas soaker that goes "long ways" down at 1', back up at 2' and back down at 3'. I have the soakers connected via chopped up hoses and hose repair female and male ends. If it's dry, I will run these for an hour twice a week average, more for August... These hoses are for the plants with established roots. I will also water new plants and things like lettuce with a spray hose.

I have used rubber soakers in the past, and they rot/kink easily. I am on my third year with the canvas.

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Megan on 1/3/2011, 4:38 pm

Hey BBG...

I won't touch on the nylon or plastic questions as I have no experience with those. I think a good first try would be "whatever works", though! Smile

Seeds? Cheaper online or in a store that bought tons of quantities? I saw 2g packets of a Nantes variety of carrot the other day at an ACE Hardware for $1.65. I was seeing $1.85/g at the cheapest online. Again, just curious.

I bought from Baker Creek because I like to support family businesses and like that they are heirloom. That being said, I also have seeds from a few big box stores, too.

Mel's book mentions watering Cukes weekly, twice weekly in hot weather. But, he never mentions frequencies of other veggies like tomatoes, peas, lettuce....just says don't let it dry out. So......how often are you guys watering? Again, overthinking because I know when the soil is losing moisture, and that it's totally climate dependent. Just wondering because it seems daily or at least 3X/wk is more like it, much more often in August. I can't imagine Cucumbers being "the highest water content" veggie and only needing water once a week. Thought it would be more. (Obv, I have never grown cukes.)

You have it right in one, I think. You are overthinking. Smile If the ground is dry and cracked and your plants are begging for water, you'll know it. Or stick your fingers in the soil. If it's nice and pliable and a little moist down by your fingertips, you should be okay.

If you have the ability and the funds to water, go for it. Try to use a low-flow system if you can. Some farmers aren't so lucky and can only pray for rain. I varied between watering not a all (when it rained), to a few times when I was watering (lightly) 3x a day when it was super-hot. (I watered possibly a little more than I should have, because in the heat of late summer, the local bird population figured out I was giving free baths and would look at me VERY petulantly when I didn't turn the misters on on-time!!!) Laughing I tried to keep the moisture at least somewhat consistent. Plants like tomatoes and cukes get grouchy if water is inconsistent when they are setting fruit. Most of my tomatoes had crack marks to prove it, not so much from my watering, I think, as from the torrential rains we got in late summer.

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re: cukes....take it with a grain of salt

Post  acara on 1/3/2011, 5:28 pm

Mel's book mentions watering Cukes weekly, twice weekly in hot weather. But, he never mentions frequencies of other veggies like tomatoes, peas, lettuce....just says don't let it dry out. So......how often are you guys watering? Again, overthinking because I know when the soil is losing moisture, and that it's totally climate dependent. Just wondering because it seems daily or at least 3X/wk is more like it, much more often in August. I can't imagine Cucumbers being "the highest water content" veggie and only needing water once a week. Thought it would be more. (Obv, I have never grown cukes.)


Almost anything you read on gardening is a general guideline that's dependent on the variety and the enviromental conditions. If I waited more than a day to water my cukes, there wouldn't be a plant to come back to.

You can kind of "play it by ear" until you see cukes, but in my climate & with the burpless varieties ... it's "as much as they can handle, as often as they can handle it", as soon as the cukes start developing. I put 1.25 gal per plant/per day on mine.... and that was with a 2" layer of sphagnum moss or coir mulch (and thats on top of having 12" deep boxes that are 100% MM).

The Mel's Mix helps a lot ..... very hard to overwater if you have the vermiculite mix correct & your box drains well.

I can give you one piece of advice though ... whatever you determine the correct amount for your plant ... KEEP IT CONSISTENT, especially with the cukes and tomatoes. Both of these plants suffer catastrophic effects to the fruit (cukes = bitter & tomato = splitting) if you don't keep the watering consistent. If they do happen to dry out on you, rehydrate them gradually over a longer period of time, as opposed to just saturating the soil immediately.


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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/3/2011, 5:44 pm

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:Thanks for all the help so far, guys. But, here are a couple other questions I've thought of during my pricing mission today at local hardware stores.

What am I specifically looking for in the nylon netting? I am finding some items that are close, but the holes are way too small to be weaving plants in and out of. And, if it can't be found at Lowes/HD/ACE where might I try? Smaller nurseries? And, would soccer netting be similar at a Sports Authority?

You are looking for trellis netting with 7 inch holes so you can put your hand in and harvest produce. I found mine at a Grange store and also at a nursery. I think I also saw some at Wal-Mart, but our Wal-Mart does not have any garden items out yet. Sorry, I do not know about soccer netting. If it is nylon so it will hold up well, and if the holes are 7 inches, it might do. My nylon trellis netting held up very well for peas and beans. The cucumbers were well supported by the trellis netting until they suffered premature death.

BBG wrote:What types of plastic sheeting do you use on your hoop houses/cold frames, soil warming plastic, etc? I am finding different sizes, and would like some help in determining the logic. Obviously, the thicker, the more durable. But, also the heavier and possibly the less light will pass through? I am seeing .7mm, 1mm, 3mm, 6mm, etc. I am just wondering if you prefer a specific thickness for a specific reason.

6mm seems to hold up better for a hoop/covered wagon top. You will want the clear, which is really kind of milky looking.

BBG wrote:As for black plastic, do you just lay it directly on the soil and anchor with bricks? Or do you drape it over a frame. I have no experience with this, so I don't know if the heat hits the soil directly or if there needs to be some cushion of air to actually heat up. (Yes, I overthink things in the winters...lol.)

Sorry, I have not used black plastic to warm the soil. What I have seen in the community garden is the black plastic directly on the soil with bricks/rocks/boards holding it down.

BBG wrote:Seeds? Cheaper online or in a store that bought tons of quantities? I saw 2g packets of a Nantes variety of carrot the other day at an ACE Hardware for $1.65. I was seeing $1.85/g at the cheapest online. Again, just curious.

Often they are cheaper in a big box store, but I seem to like the specialty selections available on-line where they indicate in their catalog what is suitable for the cool damp PNW.

BBG wrote:Mel's book mentions watering Cukes weekly, twice weekly in hot weather. But, he never mentions frequencies of other veggies like tomatoes, peas, lettuce....just says don't let it dry out. So......how often are you guys watering? Again, overthinking because I know when the soil is losing moisture, and that it's totally climate dependent. Just wondering because it seems daily or at least 3X/wk is more like it, much more often in August. I can't imagine Cucumbers being "the highest water content" veggie and only needing water once a week. Thought it would be more. (Obv, I have never grown cukes.)

You know when the soil is losing moisture, so use that as your guide.


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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  GardenZen on 1/3/2011, 6:15 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:
@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:Thanks for all the help so far, guys. But, here are a couple other questions I've thought of during my pricing mission today at local hardware stores.

What am I specifically looking for in the nylon netting? I am finding some items that are close, but the holes are way too small to be weaving plants in and out of. And, if it can't be found at Lowes/HD/ACE where might I try? Smaller nurseries? And, would soccer netting be similar at a Sports Authority?

You are looking for trellis netting with 7 inch holes so you can put your hand in and harvest produce. I found mine at a Grange store and also at a nursery. I think I also saw some at Wal-Mart, but our Wal-Mart does not have any garden items out yet. Sorry, I do not know about soccer netting. If it is nylon so it will hold up well, and if the holes are 7 inches, it might do. My nylon trellis netting held up very well for peas and beans. The cucumbers were well supported by the trellis netting until they suffered premature death.

Hey BBG, I have been debating what to use for a trellis as well. I have an acquaintance that told me how well he grew cucumbers using cattle panels (there are some posts here and photos of that..forgot who it was). Obviously that is not 7" and is very rigid compared to nylon. I did find this site that has 7" nylon trellis at just over 4' wide and plenty long at a very affordable price.

Is this type of material you are talking about furbalsmom?



Last edited by GardenZen on 1/3/2011, 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : mess up :P)

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/3/2011, 6:32 pm

GardenZen, that is exactly what I used last year. It worked really well.

I also am planning on using cattle panels or something similar to make trellises that arch between my 4X4 Table Tops.

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Megan on 1/3/2011, 7:08 pm

I got my trellis netting at HD last year, it was about $3.50 a net if I recall correctly. The holes were a little smaller than 7" but still easy to reach through. I don't know yet if it lasted through the winter, but no reason why it shouldn't.

I am glad I got a flexible (thread-like) netting. I'm sure if I'd had a cattle panel I would have adapted to it, but it was nice to be able to bend the netting instead of the plant, in some situations.

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/3/2011, 7:35 pm

@Megan wrote:I got my trellis netting at HD last year, it was about $3.50 a net if I recall correctly. The holes were a little smaller than 7" but still easy to reach through. I don't know yet if it lasted through the winter, but no reason why it shouldn't.

I am glad I got a flexible (thread-like) netting. I'm sure if I'd had a cattle panel I would have adapted to it, but it was nice to be able to bend the netting instead of the plant, in some situations.

So, this is the same thing as Mel talks of?

The link provided looks exactly like what I'm looking for. Thank you, Zen. If I read Mel right, he says it's Japanese something or other that we should look for. Either way, that link will do. (Immediately bookmarked!) I just wondered if anyone knew of a place that also sold it so I didn't have to wait on shipping. Although, I am not making mix for awhile no matter what I do, so I may as well ship it.

Awesome tip, too, acara. The very last sentence was worth it's weight in ....... cucumbers.

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Nylon Net Available at SFG Foundation

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/3/2011, 8:16 pm

SFG Foundation also has the nylon net, see the link below

NYLON NET

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  boffer on 1/3/2011, 8:52 pm

My 2¢ on watering.

Mel says you can't overwater MM, and I took him at his word. I've got a dozen TTs with porous bottoms (weedblock). The porous bottom gives me immediate feedback about my watering technique. Too much water, too fast-it runs straight out the bottom. A dryer MM can be tricky to hydrate the entire depth of the box. That's why Mel recommends wetting the MM as you're initially filling the box. I have found that watering a box every couple hours 4 or 5 times throughout a day works best to get it saturated. Then I keep it saturated by watering once a day, every day. That keeps water available to the roots whenever they want it without looking for it=less stress on the plant.

SFG is a type of intensive gardening. You'll find that the root systems of plants grown in SFGs are smaller than those in row gardens because they don't have to look as hard to find nutrition and water.

For beginners, I recommend leaving one square vacant just so you can stick your hand into the MM all the way to the bottom of the box just to see how well you're watering. The 'finger poked into the top inch or two test' doesn't work.

If any newcomers want to make an interesting contribution to the forum, you could measure the amount of water it takes to thoroughly saturate the MM as you are filling the box for the first time. That would help us settle once and for all how much a full, saturated SFG box weighs. The volume of necessary water is the unknown weight. I'm thinking we will all be surprised at the amount.


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Netting?

Post  ander217 on 1/3/2011, 10:41 pm

BBG, are you talking about netting for trellises, or to keep insects off your plants?

For trellis netting I went back to Mel's first book and tied string from the top of the conduit to the top of the hog panel fence that surrounds our garden. I tied one string per plant. We sort of wove the plants through the hog panels until they reached the top of the fence, and then we trained them to single strings attached to the conduit trellises. It worked fine, even for butternut squash. They branched out and I just wove the branches onto other nearby strings.

For plant protection from insects, I plan to use tulle fabric this year. We happened to have some left over from one of the girls' weddings and I'm glad to finally find a use for it.

Regarding seeds - I've bought seeds from the ten-cent rack before that grew just fine, but there isn't much variety to choose from usually. I buy most of my seeds online in order to get the varieties I want, including heirlooms, non-GMO varieties, a few organics, exotics, etc. I buy a few packets off the racks at Wal-Mart, Lowes, or the local feed store, too, if I see something I want. I search first for variety, and then for price. But if I waited until planting time and tried to buy everything on the seed racks in local stores, it would be too late to order online if they are sold out or didn't carry the variety I want. If you aren't picky about variety, then I would look for the cheapest seeds you can find.


Last edited by ander217 on 1/3/2011, 10:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/3/2011, 10:51 pm

Ander, you are just too smart. Tulle for insect protection. silly me
I have yards and yards, If I do my covered wagons, I could just put that on top and not worry about those darned old cabbage worms and squash vine borers. Of course I would have to take them off to hand pollinate some of the plants.

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Tulle

Post  ander217 on 1/3/2011, 10:58 pm

I can't take credit for thinking of that, Furbalsmom. I think it was Boffer or maybe someone else who recommended it.

I know, it's one of those, "Duh," things.

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  miinva on 1/3/2011, 11:04 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:Of course I would have to take them off to hand pollinate some of the plants.

That might be worth it, I suspect it's the only way our garden would survive the squash bugs!

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/4/2011, 12:36 am

Good idea about keeping an empty square for water testing, Boffer. I don't know that I will be careful enough to test the volume to saturate the box, though.

Ander, I was talking about trellises, not buggies. I just need to get the trellis built when I put together the initial garden or I will never complete the job. I will just cage my maters and call it good. Do it the first time or it won't get done, ya know?

I will likely buy big box seeds this go round because I won't likely branch out into varieties just yet. But, someday, I have no doubt I will be looking for very specific things.

And, Boffer, "TT" is? All I am seeing is turf-toe and I know that ain't it.

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  middlemamma on 1/4/2011, 1:11 am

TT= Table Top SFG Smile (if I know boffer....I actually didn't go back and read, hope I don't embarrass myself here) Embarassed

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Re: Couple quick questions..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 1/4/2011, 8:37 am

@middlemamma wrote:TT= Table Top SFG Smile (if I know boffer....I actually didn't go back and read, hope I don't embarrass myself here) Embarassed

I knew it was obvious. And, I know already what an advocate of them he is. Should've put 2 and 2 together there. Embarassed

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Re: Couple quick questions..

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