Experiments, observations, and lessons learned

Cosmo spring garden

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Or take off holding food as heavy as themselves? They must take flying lessons from the bumblebees. :lol:

I don't grow any crucifers because the cabbage loopers are active all summer, and the level of intervention required to combat them is more than I'm willing to take on. I would either need to cover the plants all summer, or spray every two weeks. However, I'm thinking about trying broccoli near the yardlongs next year, to see if the wasps will keep it caterpillar free.
Thank you for posting your observation! I will have to try this next year. Cabbage loopers are horrible and made my broccoli harvest inedible this year. So many loopers in the water I was washing the broccoli.
 

digitS'

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As we were picking about 6 gallons of green beans this afternoon, I was thinking how the late planting comes on so strong.

They aren't hardy. Most any level of frost will harm the plant but they seem to just continue to pump energy into those pods right up until the plants succumb to the cold. I've had some uncomfortable times, rescuing the crop during those final days.

The nearest online weather volunteer to the distant garden had a morning temp of 38°f (3°C). This coldest-yet-this-Summer isn't what prompted this growth but some recent mid-40's might have. And, they sure didn't slow it down.

Steve
who has seen wasps knock down and carry off honey bees. ... predators, ya know.
 

flowerbug

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As we were picking about 6 gallons of green beans this afternoon, I was thinking how the late planting comes on so strong.

They aren't hardy. Most any level of frost will harm the plant but they seem to just continue to pump energy into those pods right up until the plants succumb to the cold. I've had some uncomfortable times, rescuing the crop during those final days.

whatever can be rescued is great because otherwise it is such a shame to have all that hard work and time go to waste. i have a crop of lima beans that may not be good at all, but we'll see how things go - perhaps we'll get another week or two and enough sunshine to plump them up enough for them to be good as shellies. the mystery continues. :)


The nearest online weather volunteer to the distant garden had a morning temp of 38°f (3°C). This coldest-yet-this-Summer isn't what prompted this growth but some recent mid-40's might have. And, they sure didn't slow it down.

Steve
who has seen wasps knock down and carry off honey bees. ... predators, ya know.

i think the bee farmer removed his hives from out back. the birdbaths have largely been left alone the past week or so and they were out there last weekend making noise and using the hi-low so perhaps they took them all away.
 

ducks4you

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"I've allowed Malva sylvestris "Zebrina" to naturalize in my vegetable gardens, to attract pollinators, act as a trap crop for Japanese beetles, and introduce some random beauty into the vegetable garden. They also have very deep tap roots, and will punch holes deep into the subsoil wherever allowed to grow."
I have grown Purple Malva (as the packaging says) before but I will Now try it in my vegetable garden.
Tomatoes have done ok--my success bar is very high--and I am glad that I planted extra, with some germinated Cherokee Purple, Roma, and Amish Paste sprawling. I found one Cherokee Purple rotting this morning, so I added it to the other 2, rinsed the seeds and I will attempt to cure them. Interesting, in pouring the liquid through a sieve I noticed that the non viable seeds floated and were tossed, and the viable, heavier ones, sat at the bottom of the bowl.
Success, I hope, and I will probably try again after the first freeze.
The 2nd planting of green beans is coming on strong, and I have harvested 5 small cucumbers from my July planting. I planted pickling cucumbers, so I am trying to find them small. I feel like all of the bumblebees on the street are out feeding from my beans and cucumber flowers AND the squash that I planted as company for my sweet potatoes.
SPEAKING of That bed (below) I have found I think, a couple of hubbard squash and one white pumpkin. The plants are vining outside of the bed. I don't walk in this bed. It was SUPPOSED to be for sweet potatoes to vine and fill it up, but we have had a bad drought this year. They were starting to die from little watering, so I sloppy planted every squash seed I could find to help shade them. I don't intend to walk there or dig around, but I will wait until the first real frost and pull it apart to see what I actually grew. In That bed and close to it I have had volunteer turnip greens from a planting 3 years ago. I transplanted iffy cabbage and the turnips were taking the hit for them, so I have become a fan.
I have dabbled in beans before...maybe 1/2 a dozen in a hard to reach area, and I got 2 meals out of them. This year I have been thoroughly enjoying growing beans! I know that many on YouTube have told me that every gardener should grow beans, (I guess unless you don't like them) bc they really love you back. I almost feel sorry for my purple bush bean plants. They have been eaten on, gotten dried out, and they have baked in the sun, but they are still producing. Once they Really slow down I think I will stop picking and let them dry out seed pods.
Both the sweet potato bed and the plethora mass of beans and mass of cucumbers has worked bc they haven't needed watering. In fact, I had to pick off an inch long cucumber that was rotting this morning. They must have good roots. They are growing right next to and INTO the Junipers and Arbor Vitae that I inadvertantly transplanted when small, then I kept Meaning to move them, then DH liked how they block the street view to my firepit, so I HAVE to keep them now. Here is where a cucumber vine was hanging fruit from the tree. Finally, somehow I planted a cantaloupe...in the totally wrong place, just inside the south pasture. 3 are growing, as of this morning the biggest is still 1/2 green, but when it turns I will let the horses back on this pasture. Finally I didn't have the heart to pull this volunteer tomato. I am saving the seeds bc many were softball sized fruits. We'll see if it is the result of a hybrid, or if it reproduces true. I certainly have NOT had to water it to keep it producing.
 

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Phaedra Geiermann

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I once want to open a similar thread, thanks @Zeedman!

This year, I tried to remove the main stems and even sub stems of most of the Dahlias to:

1. reduce the size of the flower, especially the dinnerplate varieties like Cafe au Lait - quite successful, the flowers are half smaller and much more suitable for the cut flower purpose. Besides, as I planted most of my Dahlias in the 10 Liter pots, having multiple smaller flowers makes the overall look and feel better than a single gigantic monster flower. The plant is more balanced and stable, too.

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2. delay the flowering time - I won't say it's fully successful; after all, it's still the first try. But, it could be a practical workaround. For example, the plastic planter area - where is a small tulip garden in spring.

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After tulips were lifted from mid-June, I planted the small (but sprouted) Dahlia tubers here, while the bigger/fatter tubers were transplanted directly to the 10 Liter pots.

My original idea is to use these planters to grow the tubers (it's part of my small business, like tulip bulbs). If they flower, that's fine; if they don't, that's also good - the nutrition will be fully stored without consuming energy to flower.

So far, the foliages from the tiny, single tubers are growing nicely. I kept removing the main/sub stems until mid-August. It delays the potential blooming time and encourages more side shoots and foliage, which is good for producing nutrition.

Now, almost every plant forms some little flower heads. If our first frost arrives on time or later, say after Oct-15, I might still have a chance to see some lovely Dahlia flowers.

However, if the frost arrives earlier, well, then my harvest would be the tubers, nothing to lose.
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Another lesson from this plastic planter area is that even container gardening can create multiple crops from spring to autumn.

The first crop for all planters: tulip

The second crop for half planters (which I lifted tulip bulbs earlier): carrots, beetroots, potatoes, sweet potatoes (for leaves), and scallions. After carrots and beetroots were harvested, the third crop, mini Chinese cabbage plug plants, checked in. They will check out by November, and the new tulip bulbs will be the next residents until next June/July.
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For the other half planters whose second crop is tiny Dahlia tubers, I will put in the new tulip bulbs right after the first frost in Oct, cover them with a thick layer of compost, and then plug in young lamp lettuce on the top.

So, those plastic planters always have something growing inside, whether it's tulips-root veggies-leafy greens-tulips or tulips-dahlia-lamp lettuce-tulips.

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Phaedra Geiermann

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Another experiment I have been doing recently is changing the lawn.

I have no love for the stereotypical and monotoned lawn. The dry summer caused pretty serious damage to the lawn (especially the grass), so I sowed many different seeds about two weeks ago (as I know from the forecast that we would have about 10-days rain), including grass, clover, alfalfa, oilseed radish.

I prefer a lawn that can offer food for our pollinators, quails, and chickens.
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After those rainy days, the seeds germinate nicely. I will keep doing so. Although autumn is already here, I can't wait to see a new and lovely scene next spring.

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meadow

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Last year we had borage growing between a row of tomatoes and a row of beans. Winter squash was just on the other side of the tomatoes. For the first time ever, we had very poor pollination on the winter squash. The bees loved the borage and couldn't care less about the rest of the garden. We had other flowers around for them too, but the borage was their big draw.

This year I placed a large saucer of water in each garden: one a glass plate (large) from a long forgotten/discarded microwave oven placed on the ground near the volunteer borage; the other a serving platter from our first set of dishes, placed on top of an old concrete birdbath base shaped like a twisted trunk (the bowl broken long ago). Both with stones strategically placed to prevent bee drownings.

Within two days of placing the water, the bees were everywhere in the borage garden. Also in the other garden, but really thick in the borage garden. Bumble bees laden with pollen, spilling clumps as they bob along. 🥰 The snakes are happy there too!

Birds and hornets favored the other saucer.

Lesson learned: flowers are great for attracting pollinators, but they really thrive and settle in if they have water.
 

Zeedman

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Lesson learned: flowers are great for attracting pollinators, but they really thrive and settle in if they have water.
I've seen wasps drinking from shallow puddles on my picnic table. They probably get most of their drinking water from dew though; that persists into late morning most days.
 

ducks4you

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I was wondering about providing them with water. Great idea!
I see bumblebees EVERY DAY pollinating my cucumber masses.
They have also been living in my sweet potato bed, that is Really now a squash bed.
THIS is what I have been trying to find the time to establish along my pasture fencelines--spreading squashes. First success was HERE, but I really don't care in the future if I plant squashes along pasture fencing and if my horses feast on them. I only want to suppress the weeds bc every weed LOVES to sprout right alongside a fencepost where it's very difficult to pull them and you often end up poisoning them there. First photo is from the beginning of August and my sweet potatoes were drying up. 2nd is earlier this week and the squashes and pumpkins have taken over. There are hardly Any weeds, don't have to water it, and they are spilling out of the bed. I have a white pumpkin plant that is growing an 8 inch tall (so far) fruit hiding in the corner and growing two more outside of the bed.
I expected NO harvest from any of them. Too late planting for that, I Thought.
I need to study up when exactly to plant and avoid the squash vine borer. I lost a zucchini from one of those. I pulled the plant, found the worm and squished it.
I can't avoid the squash bugs, but, with a little bit of effort I can control them enough not to kill the squashes.
Once a vine borer grows the squash is a goner.
I DO expect to get a sweet potato harvest from this bed. They are there, just have to hunt for them.
I am leaving all of these plants alone until after the first few frosts, then I will take a peek and start cleaning it up.
After Halloween there are Many friends who don't want their fancy pumpkins anymore, and I can harvest seeds from those.
 

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