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April in the Midwest Garden

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Glendale-gardener on 4/5/2011, 2:27 pm

BBG, if all I have planted in my outside beds are cool weather crops, is it even necessary to cover them at night when it threatens to frost? So far I've covered them each night JIC but we are starting to warm up a bit (well,40's today, but 70's just 2 days ago)

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/5/2011, 2:54 pm

@Glendale-gardener wrote:BBG, if all I have planted in my outside beds are cool weather crops, is it even necessary to cover them at night when it threatens to frost? So far I've covered them each night JIC but we are starting to warm up a bit (well,40's today, but 70's just 2 days ago)

I'm not. But, that's me. I think it depends on your "risk aversion." However, ALWAYS watch the low temps.

I'm taking a page from Boffer; he has told me not to worry about the cool season guys. So, I haven't. I've had one "exposed" frost since. But, I also had a night down to 27 with only the single layer of plastic on while out of town. With that single layer, I only get +1 degree of protection overnight, so I know it was under 32 inside the hoops that night. Everything was fine.

One source says, "In case you're scratching your head in puzzlement, a killing frost is generally considered to be a frost with temperatures at or below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Lighter frosts will kill your summer-loving plants like tomatoes and okra, but fall crops shrug these baby frosts off and keep right on growing. A killing frost, though, tends to take out all but the hardiest of plants."

Forgive the font change. The forum software must've burped on me here...

I prefer this definition, but add "for 4+ hours"

The classification of freeze temperatures is usually based on their effect on plants, with the following commonly accepted categories:
Light freeze:
- 29 degrees F to 32 degrees F
- Tender plants killed, with little destructive effect on other vegetation
Moderate freeze:
- 25 degrees F to 28 degrees F
- Widely destructive effect on most vegetation, with heavy damage to fruit blossoms and tender and semi-hardy plants
Severe freeze:
- 24 degrees F and colder (I'll add.....everything likely dies)


It's the sustained temps that kill. If the temps drop to 25F for 30 minutes, but are only below 32F for 1.5 hours, I don't see much damage occurring. However, if you see temps fall below 29F AND STAY THERE all day long, I suspect you will see much greater damage to your plants. As spring wears on, the days get longer, and the temps rebound faster when the sun starts to peek up in the mornings.....giving you more margin for error.

Remember, "tender" would include seedlings and newly sprouted plants in spring. In the fall, plants are more mature by the time frosts/freezes come along and are more equipped to handle the temporary temperature drops.

Long story shorter....I am not planning on using my plastic anymore. But, MY frost date is Thursday over here. I will not hesitate, though, to pull the plastic back out if we are expecting a hard freeze one night. Frosts aren't making me nervous now......well, not until my tomatoes go outside. Freezes will.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Smartchick on 4/5/2011, 5:03 pm

Well, here is what I have accomplished so far - more than I thought considering Mother Nature has been playing yo-yo with our temps here as well.

I took apart my old 3 boxes (made with landscape timbers) and built new boxes out of 2 x 6 lumber with weedcloth on the bottom this time. I will repurpose the timbers for a compost "enclosure".

I have onions in 1 square and also 24 in an old grill I repurposed and filled with MM so 40 onions total. Peas are just starting to come up as are the radishes. Collards are just peeking up and spinach has seed leaves showing. This weekend I planted lettuce, beets, carrots (saving my nantes for April 15!) and I'm going to plant more spinach and mache (corn salad) tonight.

I'm going to declare my seed starting experiment (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) for spring a failure as my sprouts got leggy and most dampened off. I now have a small flourescent light and a spot in the laundry room and I'm going to try again with tomatoes and try the cruciferous veggies again this fall.

I also bought concrete mesh to replace the nylon netting on my trellises and hoping to get them put together this coming weekend and get the new compost pile started now that I raked leaves this weekend. My goal is to have enough compost to make two more beds this summer/fall (a 2 x 10 and another 4 x 4). I scored a major deal on peat moss (1.93 on clearance at Lowes for the 2.2 cu ft bales) and bought 2 bags of vermiculite to have on hand.

That's pretty much it for me now except succession planting of things already in the ground. I'll plant most stuff after mom's day just to be safe.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/5/2011, 5:21 pm

Rock on, Smartchick!

And, I MUST see a picture of that "onion grill."

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/5/2011, 7:50 pm

the leggy vermiculite has been found cheers seems its been hibernating in a storage container in the shed. along with another container filled with seed starting flats unplanted bulb's, a mini gro light and seeds from who knows from how long ago looks like something got hungry an decided its either starve or eat some fer-get-me-not seeds an live ta see another day. anyhoos all i gots left ta get is the compost an i'm go to go

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/5/2011, 8:06 pm

Yeah for leggy vermiculite. See, it did not go far. Glad you found it.

Go find your compost and get crackin'

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/6/2011, 11:08 pm

after unpacking a storage tub i have enough flats to plant 432 flowers and or veggies other half wants to plant 2 flats (144) impations flowers i'm like ya jus colored your hair brown why in gads name are you haven a blonde moment ??? not ta mention the fact that every flower she ever got never lasted more than a month under her care. Shocked my head hurts jus thinkin bout it :scratch:

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Goosegirl on 4/7/2011, 8:05 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:As for us, we got heavy, heavy rains last night. Temps were 87F yesterday here and were still 77F at midnight! Now, they are 49F and supposed to fall during the day to 32 tonight.

ACK!!!! affraid With those kind of swings how do you know how to dress, much less what to plant & protect?! At least for snow you know to just bundle up!

PS Weather is warming here, no frost forecast for the 10-day, but yesterday TWC said it was 36 and I scraped thick frost off my car.....

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/7/2011, 8:41 am

@boog1 wrote:after unpacking a storage tub i have enough flats to plant 432 flowers and or veggies other half wants to plant 2 flats (144) impations flowers i'm like ya jus colored your hair brown why in gads name are you haven a blonde moment ??? not ta mention the fact that every flower she ever got never lasted more than a month under her care. Shocked my head hurts jus thinkin bout it :scratch:

You didn't think that outloud did you?

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  walshevak on 4/7/2011, 8:50 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:
@boog1 wrote:after unpacking a storage tub i have enough flats to plant 432 flowers and or veggies other half wants to plant 2 flats (144) impations flowers i'm like ya jus colored your hair brown why in gads name are you haven a blonde moment ??? not ta mention the fact that every flower she ever got never lasted more than a month under her care. Shocked my head hurts jus thinkin bout it :scratch:

You didn't think that outloud did you?


Way to go FV

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Smartchick on 4/7/2011, 12:11 pm

As promised, pictures of the "onion grill". Right now I have sweet white in the top and you can see the "top" underneath turned upside down has some tulip bulbs I bought last fall and forgot about. They weren't moldy so I planted them too. The nice thing about the grill is that it already has holes for drainage and the runoff from the top waters the bottom. Very Happy








Last year I planted sweet potatoes in it and thought I was being smart and letting the vines trail down the front - it was a pretty plant but didn't make many potatoes (I have learned my lesson now on sweet potatoes and also filled the grill with MM this year).

In other news, my tomato seeds I got from Wintersown are spouting and under the light. Hopefully they will do better than my first try!

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/7/2011, 5:42 pm

no fv i didnt jus bit my tongue i'm brave jus not THAT brave Rolling Eyes

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/7/2011, 7:04 pm

Good, I was hoping that was not where you got your headache.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/17/2011, 3:25 pm

planted 250+ flower/ veggie seeds taday Shocked mostly the older stuff jus ta see if its any good



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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/17/2011, 6:27 pm

Shocked ok heres some pics of seedlings and the table top boxs i made for the other half



http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/gallery/Personal-album-of-boog1/Personal-album-of-boog1-cat_c211.htm?user_id=2310


the two real tall things are 3 year old bush green bean grew like an inch a day after they broke thru the seed starter Shocked

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/17/2011, 7:14 pm

Now we're talkin'! Good start.

I hope to get some pics up of the progress in my own garden. However, one point to remember, it's gonna look shabby because I am a salad harvesting fool right now. I just destroyed another 9 squares tonight for a salad....and pulled 4 radishes.

I am waiting on another 12 squares of lettuce/spinach to kick in over the next couple weeks to meet the demand.....lol. As violently as my family harvests, I may not need to stagger lettuces. I may be able to just jam them in early and slightly rotate my harvests.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/26/2011, 11:26 pm

Finally got the peppers and tomatoes transplanted. I have a few I raised from seed, but most are bought from a local nursery I wanted to try out last season.

Big beefsteaks, cherries, and yellow, california, and mini bells. Oh boy....it's trellis time!

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Smartchick on 4/27/2011, 11:47 am

Well, my tomatoes aren't in the garden yet, but I'm so proud of them I have to show them off. These were grown from free seeds from Wintersown. Considering my first experiment with growing from seeds was a dismal failure, I think I may be on the right track now. I'm going to harden them off next week and then get them in the garden on Mom's day!



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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/27/2011, 1:41 pm

Those look really good, too! It took me awhile to feel I had the hang of the concept. I have a long way to go, but feel I understand the common perils now and can set myself up for success.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  boog1 on 4/27/2011, 6:57 pm

i found some compost taday atta place thats part greenhouse,part petting zoo,part working farm this stuff has goat,chicken,pony,pig,duck,rabbit,turkey poop in it. she wanted 5 bucks a bag i got her down to 2 if i go back and buy more later in bulk witch i plan on doing.




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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Aub on 4/27/2011, 10:10 pm

Here's my tomatoes. Can they be too big to plant outside? What will happen?


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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/27/2011, 11:46 pm

Rarely can they be "too big" from what little I know. However, when you plant them, plant them deeeeeep. I trim off all but the top leaves and lay them in the ground at an angle, sort of sideways. The tip top pops out of the MM in the middle of my square. If the root ball is in a different square, so be it. I just overlap with my next tomato plant. Most of my tomatoes you will see when I get a pic up don't reside in the square they appear to be growing in....lol. Kind of a tomathoudini approach....optical illusions. (waves hands and says abbracadabbra)

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  Smartchick on 4/28/2011, 5:20 pm

I'm now sitting here trying say the word "tomathoudini" (and being rather unsuccessful I might add)

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/28/2011, 5:27 pm

Tuh-may-thoo-DEE-nee

Try it after a few beers...lol. That's when I came up with the idea of the criss-crossing rootballs.....the one you are looking at was NOT the one you were looking at......lol. Very trippy after a couple beers, fo sho.

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

Post  staf74 on 4/28/2011, 9:49 pm

Very trippy after a couple beers, fo sho.

Now I can think of a few adjectives to describe my experiences with beer but TRIPPY ain't one of 'em.

Creative ideas and trippy = (????? insert blank here Wink )

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Re: April in the Midwest Garden

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