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BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011

Stilly River Sage 07 Jan 11 - 12:41 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 07 Jan 11 - 02:12 PM
Bettynh 07 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM
Bettynh 07 Jan 11 - 03:16 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 03:46 PM
EBarnacle 07 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jan 11 - 06:19 PM
Janie 07 Jan 11 - 09:45 PM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Jan 11 - 08:05 AM
Bobert 08 Jan 11 - 09:21 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 08 Jan 11 - 09:35 AM
s&r 08 Jan 11 - 09:45 AM
EBarnacle 08 Jan 11 - 10:18 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM
EBarnacle 08 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 08 Jan 11 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Jan 11 - 02:43 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 08 Jan 11 - 02:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 11 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 08 Jan 11 - 05:08 PM
maeve 08 Jan 11 - 05:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 11 - 06:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 11 - 07:20 PM
GUEST,Eliza 09 Jan 11 - 06:22 AM
maeve 09 Jan 11 - 07:05 AM
Janie 09 Jan 11 - 11:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 11 - 12:02 AM
mouldy 10 Jan 11 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Jan 11 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 11 - 06:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 11 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Jan 11 - 11:53 AM
EBarnacle 10 Jan 11 - 12:23 PM
Bobert 10 Jan 11 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 11 - 01:10 PM
mouldy 10 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Jon 10 Jan 11 - 03:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 11 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Jan 11 - 06:56 PM
Janie 10 Jan 11 - 10:32 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 11 Jan 11 - 07:12 AM
MMario 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 11 Jan 11 - 09:01 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Jan 11 - 11:11 AM
mouldy 12 Jan 11 - 02:47 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 12 Jan 11 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 12:41 PM

If you answer, you let him hijack the thread, Bobert.

Have you heard any more about closing on the new place? And will you be able to evict the horse from the garden spot gently enough to negotiate to get the droppings for future compost from where the neighbors move it?

There's a horse in the neighborhood, but I don't know what arrangements they make about the manure. I should stop by the house and ask them one of these days. Would you use horse, or do you prefer chicken?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 02:12 PM

I'm not trying to "hijack the thread", SRS, and do, rather, take an interest in other comments, such as on composting - but, yes, I hope more people consider Native Gardening...

And Bobert: all the exotics growing on the Isles of Scilly, e.g., are not there from "bees and birds", but from humans with a because-we-can attitude - and it's such native fauna that thereby suffers from a lack of native flora/habitat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bettynh
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM

The term "native" can be a bit tricky. Horses are native to North America if you consider 12,000 years ago the time of purity of our fauna. So are mastodons. No matter what we do things change. The non-native species that sends me into a dream state is the earthworm. Yep, there have been no native earthworms in the northern forests since the advance of the glaciers many thousands of years ago. There's evidence that there is a return, and the leading edge of that change is about here, in the middle of New England. The gardeners' friend and fish bait types probably originated in another part of the world, but there's a slow incursion of southern species moving north. When I'm digging around in the garden and turn up worms, I think about it for awhile. And I think about whoever studies and knows these things.
There's a discussion here


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bettynh
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 03:16 PM

Aside from dreaming about worms, I'm in a downsizing mode for my garden. Roger Swain called it "editing the landscape," and it's more about cutting down everything except a few things that I want to keep. it's been heartbreaking when I can't find another gardener who'll take bulbs and perfectly good perennials. I can't keep up, and the lawnmower will win in several spots.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 03:46 PM

Well, Magz... We are still in a holding pattern... We hope to hear somethin' within the next week...

Then life will get interesting as it looks to me that the only place that gets enough sun to grow good veggies is where the horses are... The other area is around the pond on two sides... Not too sure that would be too attractive but I'm keepin' my mind open... It looks as if we'll be able to grow some stuff closer to the house... Like mostly greens that don't need as much sun...

Right ow it would be nice to just hear somethin'...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: EBarnacle
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM

OK, all you Old World types. Get rid of the potatoes, tomatoes and other related plants. Jamaica, get rid of your coffee industry. Native plants only. Africa, get rid of cacao plants, that's New World. Pepper, that comes from southeast Asia.

This whole thing gets silly very quickly. The really important thing about non-native plants is whether they can spread madly, like kudzu, or whether they can be controlled so they do not get too pushy, taking over from other plants we wish to keep around for any of a variety of reasons.

Meanwhile, enjoy your own garden and try not to be too invasive to others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM

Actually, EBarn, we are raisin' quite a few beautiful, non-invasive hybrid azaleas which, of course, originally came from Japan... For shame... They are very well behaved and suited quite nicely to our landscapes... And had potatoes fir breakfast so I guess between those two we are eternally damned...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:19 PM

One of our friends in Oz was laughing that I would voluntarily plant lantana in my yard. It's lovely and dies back every winter. Apparently it is a wild weed down under.

Last summer I let some of the sunflowers that sprung from birdseed grow in my garden. There are lots of native sunflowers, I'm not sure where these come from, they're huge. But they were beneficial in that they attracted some of the pests away from the produce plants. Lace bugs are a problem in my eggplant most years, for example, but last year I found them happily munching sunflowers instead. Perhaps I should say "thank you, Tuscany."

Every summer I pick mustang grapes that grow wild in a copse of hackberry trees across the road from my house. If not this variety, it was another American grape root stock that literally saved the European wine industry after a disease wiped out the native Euro plants. I think the Euro grapes are grafted onto the American roots.

Gardeners who pay attention to their own gardens, make good plant choices, and pay attention to the research (I'm an organic gardener, and there is a LOT of research) are doing just fine.

Enough said.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:45 PM

Thanks, maeve.   I just needed to hear from someone who had actually pruned severely to have the nerve to do it.

Maggie, smooth hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens) is native to the eastern USA. As maeve noted, they bloom on new wood.   The blooms are a creamy white, and the cultivar I have does not have the huge blooms characteristic of Annabelle. I think smooth hydrangea is a graceful shrub, with natural variability to it's growth habit that I find very pleasing. Wild smooth hydrangea is fairly common along the woodland edges of country roads in the North Carolina mountains. It is beautiful in there in summer.

I'm guessing the hydrangeas your Dad grew were mopheads (hydrangea macrophylla.) I have them also. They are native to Japan. Lacecaps are are also h. macrophylla. I planted a couple of lace caps (tiny, in 4" pots,) the year before I moved, but couldn't stay on top of the watering during that year of the worst drought ever, so they died. I love lace caps, though, and hope to try again some day. H. macrophylla blooms on old wood. I do prune mine to keep them from getting too big for their britches, but do that by thinning out from the ground. I find them uninteresting in the garden when they get big and round - big round bush with big round flowers that flop and splay in the rain. Boring. Once established, I try to thin out a third of the old wood stems each spring. That keeps the plants at about 2 1/2 to 3' tall and keeps the over-all shape of the shrub more spikey and angular, in contrast to the blooms. It does mean fewer blooms, but I think the foliage is also lovely, and the blooms have more impact against the foliage and the shape of the shrub if the whole shrub is not covered with large balls of flowers. Except for some more recent cultivars that attempt to maintain a reddish or pinkish hue regardless of ph, the ph of the soil determines the color of the blooms. At the old house, my mop-heads were an emphatic blue. I layered them, and brought the results here to plant, next to the foundation. The ph must be mixed or neutral, because I get pink, blue and shades in between, all on the same plant here.

A friend gave me a start of an oak leaf hydrangea (h. quercifolia) last spring. I almost let it die during the dryness of late summer, but I think I rescued it. They are native to the southeast USA. I love their bark. A good understory shrub, and once established, more tolerant of dry conditions than other hydrangeas. I hope to be more attentive to this young plant in the coming year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 08:05 AM

A bit of sun today, so had a short stroll round the garden to see what's been going on. (Still shaky from the flu) Amazingly, quite a bit seems to have weathered the terrible winter conditions. I didn't 'cut back' much last autumn but left dead and dying twigs & branches in place, which has protected the new growth. Put in some flax plants last season, (gorgeous china blue delicate flowers) and I can see they're still alive and kicking under the dead stems. Ditto the Achillea and various strappy grasses. This year I want to plant Gaura (so delicate and wavy in the breeze), nepeta (ditto) and WHITE nerine bulbs. I can't stand the chewing gum pink varieties, but the white ones are unusual and rather nice. Trouble is, nerines are moody things, they either like you or they don't! Hope they will like me! Any info on best planting positions for them? ie shade or sun, drained or moist etc?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bobert
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 09:21 AM

We have about a dozen hydrangeas cultivars and plan on takin' at least one of each... The Annabelles we prune back in late winter to about 8 inches... The oak leak we just let go... Pias aren't all that big so we let it go...

I'm not much of an authority on 'um but the P-Vine seems to know them purdy well...

A little dustin' of snow today makes everything look nice... Right outside the window is a false cypris that we bought outta Merrifield's "scratch and dent" (lol) section a couple years ago and I love the way the snow sits on it...

Garden catalogs comin' in in batches... Two or three a day for the last week... Haven't so much as opened on yet... Guess we need to order some seed just because it's that time of year... We still have lots of seed from last year so they aren't gonna get rich off us this year...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 09:35 AM

"OK, all you Old World types. Get rid of the potatoes, tomatoes and other related plants. Jamaica, get rid of your coffee industry. Native plants only. Africa, get rid of cacao plants, that's New World. Pepper, that comes from southeast Asia" (EBarnacle)...please note the exemption (to limit food miles, etc.) of "vegetables plus other consumables" above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: s&r
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 09:45 AM

My God David do you really thik for one frigging minute that anyone, ever will adhere to you bizarre lists of what you would allow in your Orwellian Zoo?

We shall never have little cages full of ethnically pure fruits, vegetables, birds beasts and humans.

You are as we all are, a mongrel resulting from interbreeding over aeons.
Get over it and practise your singing


Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: EBarnacle
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 10:18 AM

WAV, if you are going to quote me quote me correctly and, in this case, include the fact that I thought [and still think] the whole argument was silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM

Today is nice, but tomorrow is supposed to be cold and snowy, so today I will head by the garden center at Home Depot and buy several bags of top soil and humate (at 40 lbs per bag, 10 bags at $1.25 each is a modest investment that helps keep the truck on the ground in the ice). I'll let it ride around back there till spring, when it will go into the garden. I have several places I've been slowly building up with imported soil, and since I don't know where it comes from, I make sure to mix in soil amendments (lava sand, greensand, decomposed granite, sometimes worm castings if I have them) and some of my back yard compost. This helps with the micro-nutrients in the soil and the compost helps establish the biological activity of the rest of the garden.

I'll buy more "Southwest Blend" bird seed at the same time. The little buggers can empty a feeder in a day. It introduces a lot of weed seed for next spring, but they are delightful to watch. Once again they're acclimated to me filling the feeder - they used to disappear for hours when I started filling them, but now I'm barely back to the kitchen window and the scouts are already knocking seeds out of the little trays.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: EBarnacle
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM

A weed is a flower out of place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 01:00 PM

...the promotion of exotic plants has, over the centuries, sadly, included terming some natives "weeds."


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:43 PM

Stilly River Sage, I'm with you on your replenishing soil and adding compost ideas. I try to run a smallish compost heap, and also add bags of soil-conditioning products when I can. It makes a great difference. We moved here last summer, and the garden hadn't been replenished enough. I'm hoping to rectify that this year. Also, this is a relatively dry area, so any moisture-holding tricks are favourite, eg mulching. Like you, I have many bird customers for the feeders, it can be a bit expensive but I feel we've saved their lives this winter, and it's such a pleasure to watch their antics. No-one who gardens can avoid having to make decisions about weeds. You can't just let anything and everything go mad. And I feel I have the right to decide which plants please me and which I want to eradicate. Otherwise, you'd end up with a bit of derelict land!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:58 PM

...but do you agree, Eliza, that it's good to leave an unkept overgrown patch, with rotting logs and/or branches, etc., for the benefit of insects and, thereby, birds, etc?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 03:42 PM

A healthy garden has insect pests like any garden, but the difference is that stronger plants can withstand their assault better and if you play your cards right, you attract the natural enemies of the pests. Having praying mantis, ladybugs, lacewings, etc, takes care of a lot of pests. Compost if it is active has a lot of insect larva in there along with the microorganisms that the birds can suss out.

I don't need to leave any of the yard fallow intentionally because it is a very large yard and I garden on a few hundred square feet of it. I live on a creek with a riparian zone, and the woods across the road extend on for miles along urban and rural creeks, so we have lots of birds and wildlife.

When I go into the garden I examine the plants closely, and I wear gloves so the easiest way to deal with a lot of pests is to simply pick them off or pinch them dead right there. This is preferable to simply spraying insecticides the moment an insect is detected.

My yard has a lot of wildlife, and I try to do the gardening in a way that doesn't disturb the things that have burrowed in and not emerged yet. I have a tarantula colony in the turf (the spider holes are distinctive) and I have lots of snakes and lizards and toads that live around the house. An organic approach has not only allowed them to thrive, it may have created more healthy zones for them than simply through benign neglect or leaving an area fallow.

If WAV is going to keep yanking chains and you're going to keep responding to him, then this is going to be one boring thread. I hope we'll be able to get back to simply discussing our gardens without feeling the need to justify our existence and methods to this FLAKE who would like to dictate to all his screwy ideas about the natural world.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM

Oh yes, I've always had a policy of little corners for wild things to shelter. In my last garden I dug out a deep pond, had a 'woodland' garden with native ferns in total shade, kept a wild ditch, and piles of old rotting logs and stones. It was surprising what creatures came to live there, newts, dragonflies, water boatmen etc. Even a quite large grass snake called Hissing Sid, and several slow worms. I had deer and foxes visit, a big old heron, woodpeckers. But this new garden is smaller, and not wide open to the countryside. I can still leave odd corners for small creatures though. I don't much like insecticides or weedkillers. I use a small trowel to remove weeds and like Stilly River Sage I pick off naughty things by hand. If you do it regularly, they don't become too much of a problem. Why do some people on this site get so unpleasant to eachother? It gets quite vicious and abusive sometimes, it's rather upsetting to the rest who only want to chat and discuss ideas etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 05:08 PM

I once rented a flat where I was allowed to work the small garden - I covered an area with ivy and planted a bucket, which came to be use by water boatmen and a frog, at least; or in verse - http://walkaboutsverse.webs.com/#112


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: maeve
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 05:46 PM

Welcome to the Mudcat Gardeners thread, Guest Eliza. This is usually a very friendly and supportive thread, in addition to it being a good source of information, experience, and opinion. A person who has a history of obstructive posting behavior has worn the patience of many on Mudcat, and it is that repeated behavior that informs some of the hostility you are observing.

I was in the new yurt this afternoon while a neighbor talked with TL about our plans there. It occurred to me that once we have crossed the current set of hurdles to readying it for moving out of the camper and into our new home, we'll have a few new options for gardening inside and out. One advantage to the slow process of finishing the interior is that we'll have time to contemplate what we want to grow inside, where we want to move the greenhouses, and how to plan for handling our fruit and vegetable harvest this year.

One of our baby apple trees in the young orchard produced several apples for the first time last year, and others should follow suit this year or next. We'll be needing to plan for processing and storing such fruits. We've planned for a real root cellar this time, so as we handle the lumber left from the yurt construction we can put aside that which will be best suited to that project.

We'll be moving most of our farm outbuildings and changing several gardens, so this otherwise frustrating time of slower progress can be useful in thinking through our revised needs and goals. I had picked up a nice handmade plant starting table with lighting fixture a month or so before the fire. I'm thinking it won't be long before I move it out of the shed that kept it from burning up, and into the yurt for selective seed starting. A number of my favorite plants do well germinating in a cold greenhouse, so the yurt will work well as a beginning place for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 06:28 PM

It was so warm today, it hardly seems real that tomorrow it might snow. I have a little pile of daffodils bulbs I forgot to plant sprouting on my front porch. I'll go poke them in the dirt before this next cold spell.

I was going to load dirt in the truck, but I found an antique dresser for free at the recycle yard before I got to Home Depot, so have to unload it first then go get dirt. ;-) (Another indoor job for bad weather - I think I'll clean up then lacquer this dresser, sans the mirror).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 07:20 PM

maeve or Bobert, have you ever used floating row cover? I'm thinking about how I might use that to keep the birds away from my strawberries in the spring. They really clobbered them last year. I got about 1/3 of the crop, the birds the rest.

The thing about the birds is that while I wish they'd leave the berries alone, it's really rather amusing watching them approach the patch, cock an eye to find the berries, then pounce. It's like trying to not laugh out loud the first time your toddler says "Shit!" in a perfect imitation of the way you do. You're kind of pleased at the same time you're kind of dismayed.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 06:22 AM

Thank you for your welcome Maeve. I was most interested in your posting. What type of apples have you in your orchard, cookers or eaters? Our one apple tree is a Bramley, with wonderful and enormous cooking apples. I made dozens of rhubarb and apple crumbles last autumn for the freezer! I have now got a greenhouse. I had one many years ago, and it will be super to have one again. My husband likes spicy food, and I'm hoping to research growing various peppers and chillis, also aubergines. It sounds as if you have a very large plot of land there. I will miss my little ride-on tractor/mower, but this garden is too small to need it. Another thing I'll miss is lighting bonfires in the chilly autumn evenings, and roasting potatoes in the embers. I don't think the neighbours would appreciate that here, it's too close to their boundaries. Stilly. what is 'floating row cover' please? Is raised netting a possibility? Or even a polytunnel?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: maeve
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 07:05 AM

Row cover- We've used different weights of floating and hoop supported row cover to protect plants from excessively hot or cold temperatures, and to block damage from undesirable insect pests. Because our strawberries continue to bloom and thus need pollinators even during harvest, I prefer to use a simple framework with bird netting extending well beyond the edges of the strawberry plants. Row covers can retain a considerable amount of heat so if you try a floating cover where you are, Stilly, you'll probably want the lightest fabric possible.
Floating Row Cover

There is some discussion of this issue at these 2 links:
http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb1641/eb1641.html

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/sqfoot/msg0613250124975.html

Eliza, we have a small farmstead. Nothing fancy; we've been reclaiming the land for nearly 13 years. We've planted many fruit trees, including a young apple orchard with varieties for cooking, eating, and cider.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Janie
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 11:20 PM

Not sure if all my plants in pots look as they do because of the cold or because I have not watered them. Been relying on rain and snow, and it may not have been sufficient.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:02 AM

I'll have to look into bird netting - you're right, pollination needs to happen for the strawberries, and row cover would cook them if it was too close over them.

I grow peppers and aubergine (eggplant) here, and they're a couple of my favorite crops. Last year I grew sweet banana peppers, poblano peppers (a well-flavored mildly hot pepper, as long as you remove the seeds) and green bell peppers. I've also grown jalapeno peppers, and would like to grow the Anahiem peppers (the sort that are the Hatch chiles in New Mexico).

I always grow the Black Beauty eggplant here, but have the Japanese variety. If you grow tomatoes and eggplant, I've been told that it's best not to have them too close together, but every year my tomatoes seem to sprawl all over the eggplants before the season is finished. It might be that you're not supposed to grow them where the other was grown the year before. Any of the rest of our gardeners hear anything about that, or is it an old wive's tale?

Last year I accidentally had sunflowers as companion plants, and I noticed they attracted a few of the pests that normally bother my eggplant (lace bug, in particular). Nice discovery! The sunflowers came from seeds that sprouted from the bird feeder up over the winter.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: mouldy
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:07 AM

Can I come in?
I am considering making a first foray today into the little back garden I took on a couple of months ago - the snow has gone,and I think the ground may have defrosted a bit.

It's small, mainly grass, with shrubs in need of pruning at one end. There are also a couple of small evergreen leylandii types that I want to get rid of. There is a Buddleia to be cut back, Californian Lilac and Choysia. Also an Elephant Grass in the lawn, which HAS to go. I have brought a dwarf apple tree with me to go there. I have also got a Fenton's Special rhubarb, and a young gooseberry, which is a seedling from the rampant fruit machine I used to have at the last house.

I have a raised bed along the front of the house (which is possibly nearly 200 years old). When I moved in I put some little winter flowering pansies, cyclamen and some spring bulbs in there. (They look a little flat, but seemed to have survived the snow falling off the roof on top of them). There's a dead Potentilla and what looks like a distant cousin of holly in there, which are going. There are also Pot Marigolds, which I like. It is west-facing, but gets light from late morning, and I have a rose to go in there - I'll probably plant more. I am a fan of the David Austin English roses: old style, perfumed floribunda sorts, but repeat flowering. They also sell the really old stuff like the Apothecary Rose, and Rosa Mundi.

I want to make a raised bed for veg on the yard at the back, but as serious building work may happen this year, I will have to wait until it's all gone. Anyway, an upside is that I have been told that the soil here is very fertile. It's volcanic, I think.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:23 AM

Stilly, your nice list of different peppers interested me very much. My husband will probably know them, but by African names! I think peppers are decorative as well as tasty. I'm intending to grow my tomatoes just outside the greenhouse on the south side. I've had some success in the past with outdoor varieties before. So that will leave the inside of the greenhouse for the peppers and aubergines. I think I heard that they don't mix with tomatoes because of their different requirements for humidity. Andrea, I think your new garden resembles mine in many ways, quite a bit to remove before planning new things. I dug out several plants/shrubs which aren't to my taste. But before putting in your little apple tree, I wonder if you'll need to replenish the soil a great deal if elephant grass previously grew there? David Austin roses are ACE, as you say, repeat flowering but with all the charm of the Old Roses (including stunning perfume) Your design plans sound beautifully cottagey and picturesque, just the style I like! Can't wait for Spring to come, and I can get delving!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:36 AM

We are going to try ferline as the outdoor variety this year. It is supposed to have very good blight resistance.

I'm not sure where we are going with other tomatoes and peppers, etc. The plan was to get a lean to greenhouse and put the alicante and ailsa craig in that leaving the existing greenhouse at least mostly (I was going to try a plum tomato in there) free for other things. The watering/feeding thing was not disconnected/drained before I was in hospital though and I'm unsure as yet how much we will be spending on repairs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM

Eliza, these peppers are probably native to North America, so I don't know what they'd be called elsewhere, but later today I'll post links to photos and find scientific names so there is some translation. And if you'd like, I can mail some seed packets.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:55 AM

I can find all seeds for the peppers and the aubergine mentioned by SRS in the UK from Nicky's Nursery


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM

Made a mess of the link above... Nicky's Nursery


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:53 AM

How VERY kind of you both, Stilly and Guest Jon, to help me find these fascinating chillis and peppers. I have just looked at Nicky's Nursery and seen lots of different peppers seeds to order. I just can't wait to get started on this, as it's a new thing for me. My husband is thrilled, as he keeps rather wistfully describing different peppers his mum used in Ivory Coast, and of course I keep serving up steak and kidney pie or beef casserole, which just don't hit the spot. When I visit his family next time, I'll get some lessons on spicy cookery from his mum and sisters. I love to have a new project each year, and this is definitely The One for 2011. Thank you both again!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:23 PM

Mouldy, the important question we need answered before we can comment is: roughly where in the world are you located. It sounds temperate but what sort of rainfall do you get?

Welcome!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:37 PM

No, Magz, I don't use any plant row covers... Maybe I should, I donno... I've just always used straw as mulch and it does an excellent job of not only holding moisture in the ground and keepin' weeds down but also is a good protector against frosts... When I put in my seed for cold crops I mulch lightly with straw (1 inch) over the entire bed and then as stuff pokes up I continue to add straw up to about 65 inches...

But, unlike Maine where maeve lives, we have cheap straw... I've bought it for as little as $2.75 bale and the beauty of it is that once the season it gets plowed right into the garden and becomes wonderful organic material...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 01:10 PM

I noticed they had a lot of different ones, Eliza but we just settled for some sweet peppers - Rainbow mixed. Growing these and the tomatoes from seed will be a first for us this year. We've always used small plants/ seedlings in the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: mouldy
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 03:06 PM

I'm in the UK, in Northern Northumberland, about 2-3 miles inland from the North Sea, and level with South West Scotland.

I cut back the buddleia, cotoneaster, ceanothus and choysia. There was also a Spanish Gorse, which was totally in the wrong place! My garden faces east, but is surrounded on N/E/S by 5-6 foot stone walls, and is sheltered by buildings from the west. These shrubs were planted on the south side, but under the lee of a wall, which creates shade. The gorse was evicted, and the choysia and cotoneaster are doomed. The thriving ceanothus has had the bottom branches removed. Where the grass has been killed off by the overhand of the above, I am going to extend the bed outwards.

Rain stopped play after about an hour, so I took a break and hit my old copy of the David Austin catalogue. The order (8 plants) will be delivered in 3-5 weeks. I then went out front when the rain stopped and removed the scraggy potentilla and the other straggly shrub from the west facing raised bed. I had a little rose ready to plant, which I recently bought locally. The plan is to make a rose garden out front. The house is plain and grey, so it will bring a good bit of colour.

Yes, the soil will have to be replenished before the apple goes in. however, it may be a while, as I could have a bit of bother getting the clump of Elephant Grass out. It's not the biggest, but my back and shoulders aren't in the best of condition. Also, I need to clear the stuff I've cut off and dug out so far. The nearest recycling place is 15 miles away.

Hopefully I'll be able to get rid of the first lot tomorrow, and also get hold of a compost bin for the small stuff. I've inherited a pile of old prunings in a corner, so maybe an incinerator might be an idea.

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 03:23 PM

I think 2 of the roses here came from David Austin - Paul's Hymalayan Musk and Rambling Rector. My mother did have some of his English roses when we lived in Wales but someone nicked them - there were other roses in the garden that were left so I think whoever did it knew what was what.

Re fruit trees. We planted an Oullins Gage at the end of last year. I hope it proves to be (and it is supposed to be easier) more a more reliable cropper than the Old Gage tree that was planted maybe 5 years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:17 PM

Eliza, this should get you started: Poblano peppers. The peppers in this photo are like what I see in the grocery store (and they can get a bit larger). When you use these peppers often times people will roast them to remove the outer skin, but I found with the poblanos in my garden, a variety that never got larger than 4 inches long, that I didn't need to remove the skin. I took out the seeds and then for one dish (a casserole that ends up tasting like the chile relleno described on the page) I blanched them for 3 or 4 minutes, then dried them and put them in my baking dish. You could simply slice or chop them for fried dishes, no need to blanch or peel.

If I could only grow one pepper variety, I'd probably choose these. I use bell peppers a lot, they're easy to grow (they can grow in partial shade and they don't like the super hot weather of summer as much as the mild temperature of fall) but where the bell peppers have good flavor, the poblano have great flavor. (My preference, anyway.)

If you want to add bulk to a dish and want a mild pepper flavor, a good one is the sweet banana pepper. It's smaller and slim, and is like a sweeter bell pepper. I see other places refer to this as the Tuscan pepper and the wax pepper. "Banana" describes only the shape and color, no flavor cognate. Sometimes when I make a dish like chicken fajitas, I slice a lot of onions and banana peppers and will have at least half of the bulk of the dish as the vegetables, the rest chicken.

Hatch chiles are also called Anaheim chiles, and I think the Hatch variety partly get their flavor from where they are grown. Those are always roasted and skinned before they're eaten, and the aroma from roasting is heavenly. They're grown as both mild and hot (mild does have heat, a bit more perhaps that poblano, but it isn't uncomfortably hot). I buy these in bulk, already roasted, then freeze them in 1 pound bags. I pull a few out of the bag and use them in quesadillas (tortillas with a bit of cheese and maybe chicken or beef or peppers, a slim filling and it sticks to itself because of the cheese). I add them to a mix of hamburger, onions, seasoning, etc. that I use in tacos or burritos. I know if you're not from the US these dishes may take some translation (many have origins in Mexico or the desert Southwest, but there are some we think are Mexican that the Mexicans had never heard of!)

There are lots of other types of peppers, like the tiny little red chiles and such; I haven't grown any of those. The best way to distinguish them is that I use the bigger fleshy vegetable type more than the small hot or dry seasoning type. I have a few dishes where I use ground red pepper, but I bought it that way, I didn't grow and grind it.

Hope this helps!

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:56 PM

How fascinating, all these new ideas for peppers and chillis, and those recipes sound absolutely delicious! Thank you so much SRS. I do like spicy food, but my husband likes sauces and chillis which burn unbearably, even if you put a tiny piece in your mouth. He must have an asbestos tongue, his eyes don't even water. He finds European food very bland and flavourless. He'll even chew a chilli raw, just as a snack. (ie those ones called Scotch Bonnets) I expect he'll be in charge of the greenhouse, and go in there to browse and munch. I think I'll get a selection of different seeds, so there'll be some hot ones and some sweeter ones. Mexican recipes are something new to me, and I might try some, as it's very healthy food. I've read that the peppers and chilli seeds need a long germination time and quite high temperatures. No doubt I'll learn as I go along.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Janie
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:32 PM

Stilly, I've used row cover pretty much for the same purposes as maeve, and second all of her remarks.

I'm not a big consumer of peppers and have not tried to grow many varieties, but have also not had real good success growing either them or eggplant. Seems they are not very tolerant of moderate neglect, and since I don't have a big demand for them, I tended to give them short shift when prioritizing what got my limited time and attention in the veggie garden.

Hi mouldy, and welcome!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 07:12 AM

God knows, I present my arguments, such as the above one, reasonably politely - it's the likes of you and SRS who, sadly, attack the "person" (Maeve).


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: MMario
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM

tomato/aubergines/potatoes are all reasonably closely related. It's reccomended that you not grow them where one of the others grew the year before to help prevent spread of diseases and pests.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 09:01 AM

Well, I may get down to some gardening this year but there is still too much to be done to the house first to allow much to happen.
As for native species, on my land that is grass, reeds and rabbits!

I have about an acre enclosed from the sheep but will have to build rasied beds with wire netting support to keep the vegetables safe, and that implies a level of planning that has not yet been reached.

I do have a budlia which attracts the butterflies, but it will insist on growing in the wrong direction and bloking the path!

My main effort should be tree and bush planting to create some wind breaks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 11:11 AM

Black Belt,

Every so often someone calls into the Dirt Doctor program on Sunday mornings here in Dallas (Radio access online) and tells about an epiphany and how they transformed acreage that seemed exhausted or marginal to begin with. They seem to have farm implements handy (or neighbors with them) and will describe tilling in hay and compost and then adding soil amendments, broadcast at whatever rate per acre, and it's interesting how quickly they can turn around this property. Generally this is somewhere in the Texas prairie they're describing, but it could happen anywhere.

The thing Garrett has learned over the years is that it isn't just the fertilizer aspect you get in organic material breaking down, in the addition of sugars (he uses dry molasses or molasses mixed into a sprayer slurry of compost tea).

If you don't have farm equipment, perhaps you can rent or borrow a tiller and work on one area to start a garden, and work outward from there. Howard Garrett isn't the only one who does this, but all of his information is right there online and is free - I find the permaculture process developed in Australia very interesting, but there is rarely much about it online because it is the subject of very expensive and rather exclusive classes, and has a terrifically expensive text book to describe it. Several hundred dollars is out of the reach of most hobby gardeners. Get it through the library if you're interested and take a look, but there is interesting work to claim or reclaim land that is not robust enough to support a garden as it is now.

If all of that is too much, then think about starting very small and put in raised beds with imported soil, and over time, expand those and always integrate the native soil in with the import, to get the benefit of the existing microorganisms in the soil.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: mouldy
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 02:47 AM

As one or two may know, I have moved into a listed house that needs some serious work. The main job is the demolition and rebuilding (bigger) of a 2 storey extension out the back. I bought plans with permissions with the house, and I just noticed I have to undergo an archaeological survey before work starts, and also make room on site for a materials compound. That could mean losing the back garden this year, if the work goes ahead.

However, work will continue on the front flower bed, and the plans will still be laid in my head!!!

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners report - 2011
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 07:43 AM

I just found out that although the area around me is now devoted to sheep farming with a few head of cattle and several horse-riding centres, the people who moved into the farm in 1910 bought it with the intention of using it for market gardening.


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