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Prepping the Fall Garden..

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  AprilakaCCIL on 8/22/2011, 10:07 pm

@trukrebew wrote:BBG, thanks for telling it straight! (And for keeping it all in one neat place, lol!) You've inspired me to fire up my seed starting area again. It sort of worked last year, but I only have a 12" single tube light under the cabinet in my garage. I think raising the tray and using foil will help a lot.

And, like you, just 4 leaf lettuce plants per square is not enough. I had 8 squares with 4 plants each and the box looked like polka dots in the MM this spring. It's 9 per square for this fall!

Coudn't find the beer drinker, so I hope you like vino! (Or sangria!)



April, any pet store should carry a heat mat. They are sold to put under reptile tanks and come in a few sizes. From what I remember they aren't exactly cheap, though. But like BBG says, it's best to try to mimic Mother Nature's patterns and fluctuations.

Thanx... Very Happy

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/28/2011, 6:32 pm

August 28th, 2011

Of course, things are once again on hold because of another heat wave of sorts. Not brutal heat, but enough that the garden won't get going with cooler veggies.

Lettuces are struggling. In fact, I've lost a few squares that just seemed to disappear after sprouting. Carrots won't germinate and the ones that did are barely putting out true leaves. Broccoli seems to be doing ok, but slow. Cauliflower and spinach? Fuggetaboutit! Too warm to germinate.

But, folks, here is the lesson learned. It isn't the MM. It isn't SFG. It isn't even me. It's the weather, and I am pushing the limits. The time isn't right......yet. Well, I suppose that means it is me...lol.

How could I avoid this? Well, next summer, I plan to allow some cover crops like chard and beans.....maybe leftoever peas allowed to climb the hoop netting.....to give the garden some shade. It's likely the intense sunshine that is making things difficult. With dappled shade, like I had in my previous home's yard, I was able to plant lettuce and carrots any time of year. In this house, it will take strategically planting other taller plants to give some shade.

Remember, I only moved about a mile down the road about this time last year. Can you say micorclimate? I knew you could.

My theory on NFL coaches is the same as moving into a new location. IT TAKES THREE YEARS! The first season is acclimating to a new environment. The second is the adjustment phase. By the third, you "should" have things figured out.

So, newbies, don't get discouraged. By the time I have my own yard figured out, I will be in my 6th year of SFG. Don't put so much pressure on yourself in your first year.

Happy Gardening!

BackyardBirdGardner

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  sherryeo on 8/28/2011, 7:23 pm

I have gathered my 5 different composts (cow manure, hen manure, mushroom compost, cotton burr compost and worm castings) and have a bit of homemade compost, also. I plan to add 3 new 4X4s for my fall garden. I also need to replenish the 2 4X4s I've had my summer garden in.

I'm pretty close to the lady who's son has the worm farm that produced the worm castings - really great folks. I think the castings are great - black, rich looking and in probably about 30 pound bags. They were $9 a bag. I don't think that's too bad for that much worm castings, is it?

I'm chomping at the bit to get the boxes ready and PLANT something, already!!! I had actually planned to get the boxes set up today, but it is still in the mid to higher 90s here almost every day. I think it would be much more sensible to wait a bit longer. And I really don't want to get the MM prepared and in the beds too far ahead of time - don't want any of the nutrients to get washed away when it rains before I can plant. So I will wait and see how the temps go week by week before I decide to proceed.

Oh - happy 41st wedding anniversary to me!!! And that's 41 years with the SAME man!!!

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  boffer on 8/28/2011, 7:39 pm

@sherryeo wrote:Oh - happy 41st wedding anniversary to me!!! And that's 41 years with the SAME man!!!

Congratulations to you for having found such a great guy...
Give him my condolences.

j/k it takes two, working hard, to last that long. Good on you two!

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  sherryeo on 8/28/2011, 7:42 pm

Yea, Boff, I will give him your most sincere & heartfelt condolences - he will absolutely LOVE that! Ha ha. It's also his birthday!

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  Furbalsmom on 8/28/2011, 7:52 pm

Congratulations Sherryeo,

41 years is a wonderful accomplishment. cheers It does take two to make a strong marriage that lasts like that.

And I am sure he never forgets the date since it is also his birthday. Smile

Happiness and Joy to you both.

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/29/2011, 8:53 am

@sherryeo wrote:Yea, Boff, I will give him your most sincere & heartfelt condolences - he will absolutely LOVE that! Ha ha. It's also his birthday!

When it rains, it pours! Congratulations to you both. Very admirable.

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  madnicmom on 8/29/2011, 11:20 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
I would say to plant away. If mine sprouted, yours will, too, especially if you live north of me....which most of you in our region do.



Thank you! Carrots are showing themselves,only found 1 beet thus far,Kohlrabi is up,Broccoli has tripled/quadrupled in size but have slug problem ( sorry, I'm about to waste a beer tonight on them. LOL) Brussel sprouts have doubled in size. We have had low to mid 80's temps for the past week and everything has been kept moist. It's looking to be a good fall crop , fingers crossed this weather continues.

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/25/2011, 1:58 pm

This has been a long time coming....and it's still coming. I am having the darndest time with the critters. They are undermining everything I can do to get my fall stuff started.

My hoop house is going to have to be converted...hence the delay in the topic. I plan to put an adjustable cage over the SFGs and integrate a double hoop system for a cushion of air. I am working out the "accessibility" issue to get inside and check the crops easily. And, I'm working out a budget.

You can build simple PVC hoops over a 4x12 garden for about $30. This is going to be a bit more because of the elbows and "T" connectors for the PVC lengths.

But, if you have the critter problems, I apparently have, it's worth the additional investment.

Hold tight. I'll get there.

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  Mamachibi on 9/26/2011, 7:00 am

I am really loving fall gardening. My cool weather crops (lettuce and radishes most notably) are growing so fast I can barely keep up. If all the flowers on my sugar snap peas fruit, I'll have a good harvest. The carrots are very slow, as are the beets, and the kale is barely past its seed leaves after 8 weeks, but I never have to water and I'm not seeing any bugs to speak of.

I've planted giant curled mustard four times now and I just can't get it to take. With those tiny seeds, I'm barely covering them, so I wonder if the birds are having spicy treats when I'm not looking!

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/27/2011, 9:11 am

I am really experiencing some obstacles this fall...lol. A new challenge popped up last night that may really crush me.

We put our autistic son in a Cub Scout pack to see how he likes hanging with his peers. There are only two other boys in there, but when they get together it's a wild ride! With autistic kiddos, there are almost no rules in the beginning because you just hope they acclimate to their new surroundings and don't throw gigantic temper fits.

So, I was away playing basketball on my usual Monday night. My wife tells me they were jumping on the couch (which actually is a no-no, even with them over). The mom's were trying to get the boys registered and talk over a couple of points introducing scouting.

They sent the boys outside to play with the dog, and while not being watched, they treated the SFG like a sandbox. So light and fluffy! And, of course, they worked in the third I had planted with broccoli, cauliflower, and my carrots. Total destruction.

All the feet packed down the MM. All the plants either squashed or uprooted. All in 5 minutes. It's not the boys' faults. I can't get upset at them. They have a hard enough time following directions with their language barriers anyway. Besides, getting them all together at the same time is a recipe for disaster no matter when it happens and how many parents are watching them.

Three things, on the positive, came out of this:

1- It gave me an unbelievable opportunity to share the techniques of SFG (since even the parents didn't know you can't step in the stuff). I will be meeting next week with a couple of other gardening dads....apparently. I had no idea these friends were into gardening.

2- I finally have the motivation to assemble the trampoline for Matthew in the backyard. We had one at our other house, and he would just jump and jump on it for hours....burning all that energy out. A trampoline would have likely distracted, and saved, "the sandbox."

3- I also have renewed motivation to put the fencing around the garden. (No, Boffer, I'm still not doing TT's.) I thought I could wait until spring, but I likely can't if I want ANY fall crops. The critters, of all shapes and sizes, are really winning the war...

But, I don't give up easily. I emerge victorious almost every time. WAR TO THE CRITTERS!! I WILL WIN, I TELL YOU! (shaking fist in air)

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Prepping the Fall Garden

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/27/2011, 1:07 pm

BackyardBirdGardener,

If you are the Cub Scout leader, you showed great leadership skills to turn your "troubles" to a positive solution by sharing with the Cub parents.

We had a trampoline and for safety reasons, we added the enclosure to prevent the kids from "flying" off.

I have a question about adding compost to a previously used SFG box. Do I add the amount the root removed or a little more won't matter? And since I used medium vermiculite, can I now add the coarse which I now have in the same amount as I add the compost?
Does it get mixed up with what is there or just left on the root hole?

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 9/27/2011, 3:50 pm

Thanks for the compliment, but, no, I'm not the leader of this den....I'm helping with my other son. I just tend to see the positive in things most of the time......most of the time....lol. And, our new tramp has the enclosure as well.

Adding compost is just "a trowel full." Try not to overthink it. Just grab some with your trowel and drop it in the square. Can you use more? Probably. Can you get by with less? Probably. Just get close.

However, I think mixing it in is pretty critical. If you just drop it in the root hole, you have an overconcentration of compost/nutrients in one area and a lack of it in the rest of the square. I tend to "refluff" my squares every time I replant them. I drop the trowel full in the center of the square and just dig in with my hands and just mix it around as best I can. I tend to do this with several squares next to each other, too. But, I'm a little boy at heart. I really like to make a mess of things when no one is watching over me... Wink Honestly, I think it matters to mix it around, though.

If you have a one third mix of vermiculite, you don't need more. Adding a ton more will throw off your third/third/third mix in the long run. However, if you add a little bit, I don't know that it matters which type you add. I know people that need to add vermiculite over time because of cost/budget issues. If that's the case, I hope they know how much they skimped the first time around. But, adding coarse to medium shouldn't be an issue. The issue is throwing off the mix and taking space away from the compost by having too much of the materials that don't decompose. And, again, whatever you add, just use your hands/trowel to mix it in well.

Getting an even mixture is pretty key.....and a whole lot of fun, too.


ps...fwiw, I think I figured out what is causing some of the slow growth to my fall garden. I spread fertilizer a couple of weeks ago. Yard fertilizer has a lot of soluble salts in it. Just one of those granules landing next to a seedling can cause it to wilt away. I obviously got too close to the SFG with the spreader and flung a good bit in there. Sad

Maybe those kiddos were a blessing in disguise? I may have been on the road to restarting the garden anyway. (This will go in a future post, too.)

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Re: Prepping the Fall Garden..

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