Experiments, observations, and lessons learned

jbosmith

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Just an observation, regarding plant behavior. Quite a few plants appear to respond to shortening day length; beans stop flowering & abort younger pods, and some squashes & gourds begin to form female flowers in large numbers. Perhaps responding to a memory of the short days in their tropical origins?

This response is especially interesting. 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.

They self-seed everywhere, and I allow some plants to grow wherever they will be out of the way. They will germinate in small numbers all summer. But I've noticed a major difference in the Spring-germinated plants, and those which come up in late Summer / early Fall:
View attachment 52046 View attachment 52047
"Zebrina" mallow, Spring habit. Small relatively sparse leaves, numerous flowers

View attachment 52048
"Zebrina" mallow, Fall habit (hand in photo for scale). Very large leaves, dense foliage.

The earlier plants will set seed, and most will die soon. The later, larger plants will not flower until very close to the equinox; they will survive the first few frosts, and be one of the few remaining food sources for bees. They will even survive light freezes, and remain in bloom until the temp gets down to 27-28 F. degrees. All mallows are supposedly edible... I'm tempted to sample these large-leafed plants. (I'm assuming they would be similar to okra leaves, to which they are related.)

I'd be curious if anyone else has observed such widely different growth habit, driven only by the date/season germination occurred?
I admittedly haven't read this whole thread, but the Zebrina pic caught my attention. I have the same plants in my home garden and have observed the same things. At this point I mostly just let the late ones survive that come up after garlic harvest disturbs the soil.
 

flowerbug

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I admittedly haven't read this whole thread, but the Zebrina pic caught my attention. I have the same plants in my home garden and have observed the same things. At this point I mostly just let the late ones survive that come up after garlic harvest disturbs the soil.

they're really hard to get rid of once they've been introduced. we have the light and dark kinds here but since i found out they were attracting the groundhogs inside the fenced gardens i've been trying to get rid of them in a garden. years after letting them go to flower and drop seeds and still many come up each year.
 

jbosmith

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they're really hard to get rid of once they've been introduced. we have the light and dark kinds here but since i found out they were attracting the groundhogs inside the fenced gardens i've been trying to get rid of them in a garden. years after letting them go to flower and drop seeds and still many come up each year.
Mulch suppresses it pretty well. They rarely come up in my garden rows until I harvest and leave a bunch of bare rows. The most invasive weed in that garden is June-bearing strawberries which have developed the survival tactic of providing just enough fruit that I get yelled at if I kill too many.
 

Zeedman

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Mulch suppresses it pretty well. They rarely come up in my garden rows until I harvest and leave a bunch of bare rows. The most invasive weed in that garden is June-bearing strawberries which have developed the survival tactic of providing just enough fruit that I get yelled at if I kill too many.
Earlier this year, I discovered a clump of wild strawberries in one of my perennial onion beds. Although there were only a few ripe, I enjoyed snacking on them. Weeks later, there were more - these wild strawberries were everbearing! They were sending out numerous long runners too; so with that many good traits, I let them grow. If they want to become a weed in my vegetable garden, that's fine with me... I love edible "weeds". I may spread some of the rooted runners to my back lot, to replace the languishing wild strawberries already there (which show no tendency to spread).
 

flowerbug

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while we often see large wild strawberry blooms it is very unusual for me to ever be able to eat them. the animals seem to find them before i do. we've been mowing back there in recent years and that has knocked back the wild strawberry population.

cultivated strawberries are the other reason the deer have taken to our yard as a place to hang out. i used to have four large strawberry patches but once the deer discovered them the unfenced patches have been eaten back to very few plants and lucky if those plants ever get enough leaves to fruit. the patch inside the fence needs some renovation and amendments to get back into shape - ran out of time this year with other projects being more critical.
 

Phaedra

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@Phaedra Geiermann what type of lights do you use in your green house? I used to use 4’ fluorescent shop lights with good results. Then I got a upright small green house with zippered cover, installed LED grow lights and those lights didn’t do as well. What works best for you?
I used this kind of LED.
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However, one is too weak so I used at least two for each layer. Another thing is the plants should not be too far away from the light, or they might become leggy. When they are tiny seedlings, I will put the trays on wooden fruit boxes so they will be pretty close to the light. As they grow up, the fruit boxes will be taken away at a certain point.
646.jpg
 

Dahlia

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The latest experiment I am working on is turning part of my garden into a tea garden. I love fresh tea. Does anyone have any recommendations on where I can buy quality seeds? Or have any thoughts on the matter?
The only plants I have grown for tea are peppermint and chamomile. Both wonderful! I just got my seeds at a Lowes. My favorite tea, however, is fresh ginger tea! I never tried growing ginger though.
 

Phaedra

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I probably had the plants too far from the lights. When I set it up again, I’ll rig it up to put the trays closer to the lights.

My settings are like this - when the seedlings are tiny.
img (1).jpg

When they grow up
So the layers of my shelves have different height
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When they become too big (but outside it is still cold). XD - that's why I need different heights
img (2).jpg
 

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