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April 2011 in the PNW

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/7/2011, 3:43 pm

No, not full Italian, just American mutt from successive waves of immigrants to these shores. Called Nonna by grandkids to identify which grandma amongst many in a blended family. Besides, I love Italian food. So, even before choosing the Italian form of grandmother, we already loved the vegetable-centered recipes from Italy and our garden has always catered to this love. Though, now I realize I've over-planted my favorite kale: Tuscan kale. Last year I tried Chiogga squash because it was supposed to be good for gnocchi. Always grow as many tomato plants as possible for Italian-style tomato sauce, etc. I may even try growing my own cannollini beans this year.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/7/2011, 4:38 pm

@boffer wrote:Oh yes, believe! I've got greens planted in several different exposed, but covered areas, and they are all slooooow. Much as I hate them, I even planted in my old school cold frames on the ground. That stuff is doing somewhat better than the exposed, but nothing exciting.

Last year, I measured power consumption, and I figured it ran 10¢ per day.

This has been one of the darkest winters that I've had in a long time; I'm thinking that slowed stuff down too. I've been debating whether to put in a light next year.

Boffer, I can't find the info on your heated boxes Can you go into detail what you used to heat the soil. I thought about heating a bed for peppers and eggplant. Then of course I can use it next spring for early seeding.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/7/2011, 5:46 pm

I never posted details because no one was ever interested! This link shows something similar to what I used. I bought locally.

The cable itself appears to be the same as what I have installed under tile floor installations. The main difference is this has a built-in, waterproof, non-adjustable thermostat set to 70-74*. Adjustable thermostats for in-floor heating cables can get pricey.

I put one inch pink closed cell foam insulation board on the bottom of the box. The pink is a slightly better insulator than the white stuff, slightly more expensive, but it doesn't make nearly the mess that the white stuff does when cut. I then used ¼ bubble wrap that is sandwiched between two foil layers, on top of the foam board and inside of the box walls. It's probably not necessary; I just happened to have some. I tore a bunch of band-aid size strips of duct tape, then taped the cable to the foil. I left some slack in the cable around the thermostat so that it could lay in the middle (vertically) of the MM.

It took me a while to mentally adjust to the numbers. It takes 48 linear feet of cable for 12 sf of growing space. 48 feet is the longest I found; they come in shorter lengths too.

Here's how it evolved for me. When I started, I had a 15 sf box so I bought a 48 foot cable, which is slightly under the recommendation. It has worked fine. This year, I made a box to put two 48 footers in. 4x6 feet. It gives me the option to have half on or off or whatever. What I'm going to like the most, is being able to have a cool crop box and a warm crop box. The box with the nice lettuce in it, I unplugged three weeks ago. The box with the tomato and artichoke starts in it, half is plugged in and also has a red heat lamp for the really cold nights, and the other end where the broccoli is, is unplugged. I guess I should say: next year, I will be putting warm and cool crops in their own boxes...learning curve!

I'm planning on transplanting my broccoli and cauliflower to other boxes when the weather is a little better. I did it with just a half dozen plants last year, and it worked fine. I think it can be an easy way for someone with little inside space for starting seeds to get an early start using existing garden space.

I know starting seeds for some of you is second nature. I've tried it a couple years, but I don't find it to be much fun. Starting seeds outside this way works better for me.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/7/2011, 6:49 pm

That is enough information for me to go looking around to see what I can find here. I'll check out the aquaculture store, they supply some of the less legal seed starting operations and might have what I need.

I searched and some of the seed catalogs have a similar product, of course then you have to add in shipping.

Thanks again

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 12:37 am

It's already just 33*, the stars and moon are out, and I got nervous. I added a little supplemental warmth for my tomato starts.




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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/8/2011, 7:59 am

Spooky wagons..... Still pretty cool.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/8/2011, 7:15 pm

Finally got a dome top on box #1. And will you look at that grid. That is definitely a prominent feature of my box.



Can't wait until the sun gets a bit higher in the sky and my box has more sun. We are still in the process of trimming trees on the South/West side of the yard.

Waiting for the peas, lettuce and beets to germinate (I changed my mind and planted beets instead of radishes) . bounce
The round foot garden on the porch has three varieties of lettuce plus two varieties of spinach that have germinated, but they are still slow. I want salad now

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  boffer on 4/8/2011, 7:20 pm

That's a heck of a hoop house in the background! Is that for RV storage, or is that the bones for a greenhouse you haven't told us about yet?!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/8/2011, 7:42 pm

That was last years raised bed, amended soil, old style 7 X 27 ft SFG with a 2 ft aisle down the middle ( one bed was 2 ft wide, the other 3 feet wide). The hoops held the deer netting but I would like to use it as a greenhouse next winter. Maybe use about half of the length and it will need lots more structure to hold up to our wind.

Those are 20 ft PVC pipes 3/4 inch


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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  laurieann on 4/9/2011, 10:27 am

I love your old style garden! Think this idea would work beautifully for us here on the northern California coast where the temps stay pretty cool year round and the winds can get pretty fierce.

In fact, I'm headed straight back to the drawing board to redesign those beds I was planning to build, fill, and plant this weekend. Thank you!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/9/2011, 1:04 pm

There were a few issues with the layout of the old style garden.

It was wonderful having the hoops so high above my head, but they did require having pvc supports put between the hoops, to create a rib along the top, otherwise the hoops could and did sway from side to side.

I enjoyed just walking thru the "gate" at each end. The "gates" were created by wrapping the deer netting from North to South on the East side and attaching as I went with zip ties. Then I wrapped from South to North on the West side, leaving a 7 foot overlap at each end that was not permanently attached to the hoops. The 7 foot overlap at each end created "gates" which were kept closed with velcro straps. I bought 45 foot rolls of Velcro Plant Ties and cut off pieces about 8 inches long to wrap the loose end of the deer netting to the hoops.

Again a problem because the 7 loose feet of deer netting flopped around while I was in the garden and frequently got caught on the wood supporting the raised bed.

When the bed was divided into 2 ft by 27 ft and then 3 ft by 27 ft beds, the 3 ft bed was really hard to work in because with the deer netting, I could only access the veggies from the inside. 3 feet is just too far to reach from one side.

Also, two feet is not nearly big enough for an aisle as lots of plants spilled over into the aisle.

Having beds 27 ft long also gave you the impression of row gardening. It is very important to use a grid. I used twine and have to admit, it rotted before the season was over. It did allow me to use the one square per crop, and helped so much with the spacing.

I would not do it again for SFGning. 4X4 beds are much easier to work with.

You might consider using the 20 ft pvc pipes to create a hoop ten feet wide, then place your 4X4 directly in the middle, that would give you three feet on all four sides. Additional boxes could be placed three feet apart

I hope to created an unheated greenhouse from the basic structure with much more support, but do not anticipate gardening in that area again.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Dr.Bigfoot on 4/13/2011, 9:48 pm

ahhh...more hail. Grrr! well, my heirloom tomato and sweet bell pepper transplants are happily living in my living room waiting for warmer weather. So can my herbs go out in the wild now?

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/14/2011, 5:13 am

I have rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme outside now, but I am waiting for warm weather to put the basil out. Basil just does not like our cool springs. My fernleaf dill is still in indoor pots too. It is waiting for another table top to be finished with Mel's Mix.

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/14/2011, 9:37 am

@Furbalsmom wrote:I have rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme outside now, but I am waiting for warm weather to put the basil out. Basil just does not like our cool springs. My fernleaf dill is still in indoor pots too. It is waiting for another table top to be finished with Mel's Mix.

+1

My rosemary is a winter survivor, I lost two others this wet winter. This far north (north of Seattle) I would wait, not for warmer weather, but for drier.

Tarragon is coming up but I am going to need more.

I put my rescued parsley sprouts into the herb garden. Those that were safe (or at least safer) from slugs are doing fine.

I am not even going to start my basil for 2 to 4 weeks, never mind putting it into the garden. I do not have a lot of luck transplanting dill, so it is also waiting. I can usually convince dill to survive but it doesn’t thrive like dill planted out where I want it to grow. (does that make sense….do you have a trick or are you just lucky?)

Deborah….luck is good

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April 2011

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/14/2011, 11:09 am

Ah, rosemary, one of my favorite herbs! I've planted around five different varieties over the years, but only the Arp cultiver never died no matter how inclement the winters here in western Oregon. A much younger and tastier cultiver, a trailing rosemary whose name has been forgotten, appears very happy growing at the top of the retaining wall along the driveway. Have you ever cut some long branches from your rosemary, stripped the "needles" from the lower part, and threaded large raw shrimp (which have been marinated a half hour in rosemary/garlic-infused olive oil) on the stems, and grilled 'em? Tasty!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/14/2011, 2:21 pm

Can I have dinner at your house? I I love you rosemary scented shrimp. I use the rosemary stems for chicken too. Nummmmm!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/14/2011, 3:27 pm

Hey, FurbalsMom, if it'd ever stop raining, I'll try some marinated chicken breasts--or do you use thighs?--and grill 'em with the rosemary stems. Mind's running wild with ideas now for turning what was usually a appetizer into a full-meal deal. Come on zucchini!

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Re: April 2011 in the PNW

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