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The 2014 Garden Thread

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posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 03:09 AM
Hi, haven't seen one so I thought I would start one. We just had 5 days of over 39C/102F to 45C/113F. Fortunately it rained a few nights ago and we got about 7 mm or 1/4 inch, this helped a lot. I wanted to share how I kept my garden alive during the last week. I live in a Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and hot dry summers.

Firstly I got a huge roll of low grade hay for $30 and spread that over all the bare soil. This was for the benefit of the soil as being exposed to that much sun without moisture tends to sterilise it and make it hydrophobic. I had been meaning to do that at the start of summer anyway but was too busy but when I saw the forecast heat wave I made it a priority. I have large areas of bare soil as I have ploughed it with a small tractor but haven't planted all my trees or enough vegies yet.

I usually water every morning, and I have been fertilized with urea 3 times since late spring. So I had a lot of fresh, lush growth. The first day of the heatwave it got to 39 and I only watered in the morning. I usually water in the morning and let them rehydrate over night from the available soil moisture. The next morning it was going to get to 43 so I got out there to give it a good watering but instead of the plants all being hydrated they were suffering the droops already. I gave them as much as I could but they were droopy all day, never were able to catch up. I got out there at 4pm and gave them another water. The next morning they were rehydrated and it was forecast to get to 44. So I got a large old piece of shadecloth and covered half of my 50 tomato plants with that and some of the zucchini and pumpkins with another old piece. The plants that were covered were still okay at 4pm. The ones that weren't were all wilted, the cucurbits had their leaf stalks ridged still but their leaf blades were completely limp and hanging down. I watered twice a day for the following 3 days at 9am and 4pm.

The tomatoes have all recovered and are fine, the pumpkins and zucchini are back to their normal selves too. The younger plants like the smaller tomatoes and chicory I planted late fared better too. I lost all production during those 4 days as the flowers seemed to stop opening up and being pollinated so no zucchini (I have enough anyway) or new tomatoes, though the few that were already there have hung on - just no growth. Anyway it seems all I lost were a few shoots from my gherkins and the leaves of the two squash plants are pale.

So you can protect your crops for a few days (in this case 6 days) of extreme weather if you have a good mulch and shade cloth over them and water twice.


The 2013 Garden Thread
edit on Sat Jan 18 2014 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 03:59 AM
I'm having a problem with my heirloom tomatoes. They bloom but too often the blooms die. They are in pots. I fertilize them with a tomato fertilizer every three months. The plants seem ok but the blooms don't and I should have more yield. Also my apple tree is in bloom right now with all this warm weather in California lately. My nectarine is budding and peach tree is starting to bud. My blueberries don't seem too happy though with all this heat. Any advice?

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 04:44 AM
reply to post by missvicky

I feed my tomatoes once a week when they start to flower, I think they're really hungry plants. They dry out quickly too, so keep them well watered. Sometimes buds dropping is a sign of too little water, although it mainly happens to me after a bad night of frost. Well, not me, my plants, but you know what I mean.
If you pinch out the growing tip you can get a better yield, since the plant will put it's energy into fruiting rather than growing higher.

Have you thought about potting your blueberry bush and moving it into the shade? It's one of the fruits that grows well for me, but I'm on the west coast of Scotland so we get mild, wet weather a lot. Maybe it doesn't like too much sun, all the time?

If any one has any advice on how to grow potatoes in damp, clay, acid soil I'd love to hear it. I tried them in sacks last year, and they were hopeless.

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 05:25 AM
reply to post by missvicky

Possibly a lack of calcium, check the formulation of the tomato fertilizer to see if there is any calcium in it. It is an unusual deficiency so maybe there isn't any in it. A handful of lime or dolomite or gypsum should fix it if it is. Also once every 3 months seems a very long time between feeds.

Try shadecloth on the blueberry when it is hot, they are cold climate plants. I don't know what you call shade cloth in other countries, just google it.

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 10:13 AM
reply to post by Cinrad

Why must you start this thread in mid-January?!? Taunting me!

In northern Wisconsin right now we have a zillion feet of snow.

Polar Bears are prowling outside my window.

A glacier is bulldozing my barn down the valley.

Spring is a loooooooong way away yet.

My heart and soul can only take so much planning and no action.

edit on AM7186AMRCST2014 by ABNARTY because: spgr

edit on AM7196AMRCST2014 by ABNARTY because: same

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 01:36 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I will do them. Poor you in Wisconsin! Here in California we are having a heat wave and severe drought. The plants and trees think it's spring or summer even. I have a nasturtium coming up!! In January????

posted on Jan, 18 2014 @ 11:54 PM
reply to post by missvicky

We will get to the warm weather eventually. Planting for most stuff I can do in May. Maybe a little earlier for cold weather crops. The last place I lived was down south. It was amazing. You could grow stuff for all but a couple of months in the "winter".

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 12:48 AM
reply to post by ABNARTY

Ohhh, I'm sorry.

Polar Bears, really?!?

Ha ha, I know that is like us having a jab at you guys by saying that kangaroos hop down our streets.

I fertilized the vegies with some potassium (K) yesterday, hoping that will get them vigorously flowering again. This week I might plant some more vegies as a second crop this summer and see what I get, if summer lingers then it could be well worth it.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by Cinrad

OK, maybe not quite on the Polar Bears

I am still envious of being able to go out and garden right now.

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 07:13 AM
reply to post by Cinrad

Hey Cinrad,

I'll just add to this thread again, with my 5 favourite emergency gardening tips. Some of you will know these, but they might be helpful to someone:

1) The emergency cloche. Gardening here in Scotland brings it's own challenges, not least sudden gales, snow, rain (mostly rain!) and hot sun. These are great, since they keep tender seedlings dry, frost-free or safe from wind. If it's too hot and dry outside, just spray water inside the cloche and you'll create a nice, humid atmosphere. I should add, these are just coke bottles with the bottom cut off.

2) Paper pots. If you run out of plant pots, or the ground's not quite ready for planting out but you need to get a crop growing, start them in rolled up newspaper. Then you can just plant the whole thing out when the ground is in better shape, and the paper will rot away.

3) Gutter salads. Not as disgusting as they sound. Just nail some clean gutter pipes to the side of a shed or fence, and you can grow year round salad crops.

4) Similar idea if you're short on space is the herb wall box.

5) And finally make sure you include loads of bee-favourite flowers to keep fruit trees pollinated.

B x

edit on 20-1-2014 by beansidhe because: Explanation

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 05:29 AM
reply to post by beansidhe

They are fantastic ideas! I cant star for some reason but I would give you five if I could. I need a herb wall and gutter salad at my place. I tis too far to go to the vegie patch to pick some herbs so I often don't bother and just use dried ones. But I could put these just outside my back door. This is a great idea! Thanks beansidhe.
edit on 21/1/14 by Cinrad because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 05:48 AM
reply to post by Cinrad

Glad you like!

I have to grow salads like this, as the deer and bunnies seem to have set up residence next door to my garden. The herb box is brilliant (I wish I had invented it) because my soil gets so wet, loads of the mediterranean herbs just drown if I plant them out. Not any more!

I'm loving this thread, I'll keep my eye on it

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 06:41 AM
The planned addition to my garden this spring.

underground greenhouse

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 07:09 AM
reply to post by villagesmithie

That is genius! Love it!

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by missvicky

I used to have the same issue.
Last season I came across a tip for it, toss a couple of calcium antacids into the water that you give them, once a week or so. They perked right up and the problem stopped. It was a handy cheap fix.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 03:39 AM
I've been using an organic fertilizer called Mater Magic for my tomatoes and it does have calcium. I fed them today and have been watering them everyday as well. We had a cooler day today too so I'm hoping they will improve. Will also start saving my eggshells and remember that ant-acid tip! Thanks everyone!

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 04:32 AM
Replying to keep in my feed. Too cold to do much here, but can start planning.....

and dream!

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 07:26 AM
Thanks for this thread - looks like it will be really beneficial to many of us. Don't have time to read all now- so just making this comment so I can easily find you later. I lost over 50 tomato plants and all my green beans to blight last year - so will be very interested to see how others are coping with it.

posted on Feb, 1 2014 @ 05:41 AM
Another heat wave, 5 days over 39, very dry air, strong light. My garden just got over the last one 2 weeks ago and started producing again
, this is breaking my heart ARRGH! Back out there watering twice a day and misting the leaves in the middle of the day. My zucchini, squash and pumpkin leaves that are not covered by shadecloth are bleached and bleaching, I wonder if this is from the strong light. I remember from uni that strong sunlight can damage plants.

I remember when I spent a summer in McLaren Vale wine district, it was the second hottest summer on record. The white grapes are usualy ready a month before the reds. This year they were ready at the same time. What happens is that the vines shut down when it gets over 37 and go in to shock for about 3 days. The whites are less able to cope with the heat than the reds and so the white grapes stopped ripening a lot whilst the reds continued at higher temperatures.
edit on 1/2/14 by Cinrad because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 1 2014 @ 08:28 AM

reply to post by villagesmithie

That is genius! Love it!

How do you keep from growing super resistant fungus in that ground.

Nitrosomonas-Rhizoctonia both would infect the ground and become toxic within a year or so without radical fumigation. I didn't see anything about that in the article.

The very early Vikings/whoever built cold frames like this and rotated them on a yearly basis to kill the fungus. I saw some ruins in Sweden in which there were dozens of these-or looked like these.

They had funky risers built with stones-kind of like shelves-the guide said they never figured out why-however they always ran along the elliptic like a sundial-the same way the early settlers in America did. Amazing.

That ground is going to get contaminated without wind flow and temperature variation.

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