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okiedawn1

March 2017 Planting/Conversation Thread

It's a new month. Hello, March!

For many of us, March came roaring in like a lion overnight/early this morning as the cold front finally pushed its way through the state. The wind here roared as the cold front rolled through our area around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. I could hear the wind long before I could feel the change in the air temperature, which suddenly dropped like a rock after staying abnormally warm most of the night. Now, that's the March weather we're all familiar with--fiercely windy, and a bit chilly.

Here's the Max Wind Gust map, showing each Mesonet station's strongest gust since midnight:


Max Wind Gust Since Midnight


Largely because of the wind, but also in combination with other conditions, Fire Danger is ramping up. The Fire Danger Graphic on the NWS-Norman webpage shows fire danger is either Elevated or Near Critical each day for the next seven days. This graphic updates, often multiple times per day, and may change. Just a reminder that the same conditions that contribute to higher fire danger (strong wind, lower relative humidity and, often, warm temperatures) also are hard on young plant seedlings so remember to take that into account when hardening off seedlings. It often is the wind as much as the sunlight itself that can cause damage to young seedlings raised indoors as we harden them off in preparation for their transition into the ground or outdoor containers.

I use the Relative Greenness map from the OKFire portion of the mesonet to track improvement in our greenness (or the lack of such) during fire season. The relative greenness numbers update weekly. I'll use my county as an example since it is the location I've been watching. A couple of weeks ago, our Relative Greenness was only 19%, which is not shocking since we still were in the midst of winter. Last week, it went up to 29%, which was a nice improvement for one week and it did reflect the increasing green I was seeing visually around me. This week it just went up to 41%, another nice improvement. We are seeing a lot more green in the fields, but it isn't enough yet to stop any grass fires that start from raging through grassland pretty fast. We're usually not green enough to slow down or stop the fires until April.

Here's the Relative Greenness Map for OK this week:


Relative Greenness Map

The next couple of weeks look nice and mild, and mostly warm, overall, so it looks like a terrific time to be planting the last of the cool season plants over the next week or two, and to begin making semi-firm plans to start planting the warm-season plants after that.

Here's the 8-14 day temperature outlook:

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

The prospect of warm temperatures seems nice right---they please a gardener's soul.

For the same forecast period, the precipitation forecast is more neutral for most of the state, but decidedly dry for the OK panhandle and far NW OK:


8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook

I sort of like the precipitation outlook. I'd rather have the weather a bit on the dry side while planting the root crops, since it is no fun mudding in the potatoes. Hopefully we still will get enough rain, even in small batches, to help the seeds we sow germinate without much irrigation.

I'm hoping the March weather roller coaster smooths out a little more and doesn't send us and our plans ricocheting from cold to hot and back to cold again quite as much as February's weather did.


Dawn

Comments (394)

  • Melissa
    5 years ago

    Dawn, not quiet yet. Thankfully dh made it home before he got caught in the middle of it. That and he keeps me in line from getting too anxious lol. You mentioned in another thread about men watching the storms and that is him. He used to stand out on the porch in Fairland just watching the storms roll through even when it got close. Not me, I pace.

    The weathermen are saying they have measured winds at 68 to 70 mph with dime, nickel, and quarter sized hail. Still hoping the hail dies out a bit, but idk. They are now putting out flood advisories moving to flood watches. I hope this rain doesn't wash away my onions and lettuce.

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    It's coming down now! Those onions are getting moisture for sure. I'm fairly certain I've underwatered them, which goes along with your theory of being to dry to break free of the brown wrapping, Dawn.

    Our Direct TV just went out, so it's possible our net is out too, so maybe this won't even post. Did move the tomatoes in tonight. I"m being careful to water the ones still in the small pots twice a day. I really, really, want to plant them sometime between Saturday and Monday.

    Nancy, I like your deck and your shaved kitty.

    I just had a bad thought that Charlotte was still out and jumped up to yell for her, but she's inside. I"m having dog issues that doesn't involve the weather, but that's a story for another day.

    I like the rain, but am having flashback to May 2015, when I could actually feel my plants drowning and dying. Wondering how the broccoli and cabbage are doing...

    Maybe I should go to bed. I like to sleep during thunderstorms. Find it soothing if I'm not worrying about the plants.

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    Amy, I avoided the kitchen all I could this weekend because of the heat. We either ate cold meals, ate out, or cooked on the grill outdoors. It is too hot to can, but I'll be doing it this morning anyway. At least the weather today won't be quite as hot. My purple pole beans still are producing too, but I'm tired of picking them (because, you know, then I have to process them or cook them for dinner, lol) so I am going to let the ones still on the plant dry for seed. Nancy, The cooler air is just so nice, even without rain. Rebecca, I cannot believe how hard the squirrels have come back after the tomatoes after they figured out they still could get to them despite the stockings covering them. It is too bad you aren't rural and couldn't let a neighbor just shoot the little furry rodents. That would solve the problem. For what it is worth, I've been watering the zinnias 2 or 3 times a week, and they still manage to wilt and twist and look bad every afternoon. 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The danger in doing that is that the surviving squash bugs might move to the muskmelon and watermelon plants in order to survive, so maybe I'll take out the squash plants one by one---maybe one per day---so I can continue to harvest melons for as long as possible before the bugs move to those plants. There are times (and this is one of them) when I wish I could just not care about being organic and instead just go nuts and spray all the squash plants with a synthetic pesticide to kill the squash bugs, but as much as I fantasize about doing it, I'm just not willing to use those chemicals in my garden. Sometimes peppers are slow in the heat and then produce very heavily in the autumn. Since yours haven't done much yet, I'm assuming they're saving themselves for the cooler fall weather. Sometimes putting out shallow pans of water for the birds will deter them from eating the tomatoes since what they're really after is water. 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Spraying the plants in general with Bt might help. Ground cherries are edible, but I found myself unimpressed by them the year I grew them and never bothered growing them again. YMMV. Jerry, I bet it was all the rain that affected your watermelon flavor. I have had heavy rainfall do that to mine some years. I hope the watermelon jelly gels, but even if it doesn't, you'll have yummy watermelon juice to drink. My garden is burning up right along with yours. I could keep watering and maybe keep it going, but there's no point in this heat. I'm going to focus on keeping the peppers, the flower border and the fall tomatoes alive and let everything else go. In a few weeks, I'll plant stuff for fall......if it seems like it might rain again some day. I'm not big on trying to start a fall garden in vicious heat if there's no rain, so reserve the right to change my mind about fall plantings. Really, with lots of canning done, tons of potatoes and onions in dry storage, and the freezers just about full, I can walk away from the garden and know we have had a really productive year despite the weather. We did have 1/3 of an inch of rain yesterday evening. It was nice, but I'm not overly excited about it---today's sunshine probably will suck up all that moisture right out of the ground before the sun sets today. In the overall scheme of things, 0.33" isn't enough to get excited about. Now, if we'd had 1 or 2 or 3" I'd be deliriously happy, but that didn't happen and it almost never happens in July or August, so I'm not getting my hopes up. We've been dry all year and, while that 3" of rain that fell in early July helped a lot, it is long gone and the soil is dry and cracked and parched and it is going to take a lot of rain over a prolonged period of time to turn things around. I just don't see that happening in July or August. So, thinking about how dry we've been most months of the year just made me wonder what things look like statewide in terms of year-to-date rainfall...you know....who's had above average rainfall (Jerry? Nancy? anyone?)....who's had below average rainfall (Me? Amy? Melissa? Eileen? anyone else?).....is anyone sitting right at average rainfall? So, I'm going to go get the average rainfall maps and post them here and we can all look at them and ponder why the weather does what it does. Here's the year-to-date rainfall in inches: OKMesonet Year To Date Rainfall in Inches Of course, the rainfall map in inches is more meaningful if you know how much rain each area receives because there is a huge variation in average rainfall totals across the state. So, here's the map that shows rainfall as a percentage of average rainfall for the same time frame: Year To Date Rainfall As A Percentage of Average The numbers on the above map surprised me. Even folks who have had plentiful rainfall at times aren't doing that well overall. So, one final measurement is the map that shows how large of a rainfall deficit (or surplus) there is at each Mesonet station compared to what would be average rainfall for the same period. Here's that map: Year To Date Rainfall Departure From Average The above map is pretty self-explanatory. Blue is great, orange is awful, and everything else in between could be considered various shades of good or bad. And, really, for our gardens, what matters most is what has happened in the last month, but it has been so dry, I refuse to look at those maps because it would be too depressing. July is the hardest month. Dawn
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  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Hazel--yes, I will not soon forget May and June of 2015, my first year here, when I drowned the 9 bark, 3 Russian sages, a Shasta daisy, and stunted the black elder. Water water everywhere. (Only one place in our yard, however, that the water goes to--right where I'd put those plants. LOL). . . I love the deck, too, TY. i'm out here as I'm reading and looking online at yet more lovely plants I forgot to buy or plant. . . this is sick. :)

    Lady's mantle!!! I forgot lady's mantle! Any of you growing that? It did great up north--looks like it should do fine here, and especially in my 1-2 hr morning sun/then heavily dappled shade and full shade afternoons, I'm thinkin'. ?

    Daff gets shaved of necessity. She has a genetic flaw! Her tongue is not rough like all cats' tongue are, Combined with that thick very long and fine fur, her bathing is an exercise in futility. PLUS, she was a feral kitten when I got her, and to this day, NO one can touch her hindquarters or belly. I can comb her back and shoulders and chest, but not the sides, belly or hindquarters. I have on occasion held her down under my leg while picking out small mats or brushing her a bit. I think it's harder on me than it is her! And with her being outdoors exploring during the warm days, she also is a weed, bur and flea magnet. (We do use flea and tick treatment on her, which is pretty effective.) And so she now gets a yearly shave at the end of March, and sometimes in September. We have to take her to the vet, as she has to be sedated for them to do it. She's far more trouble than she's worth, but hey, she's family. What's a person gonna do.

    Next cat(s)--short hair mandatory.

    Just was reading about the three fine folks killed in accident, Dawn. So sad. . any day here could be our last; life is precious.

    Wind has kicked into high gear here, but no rain yet; however, checking the radar, looks like we'll get a short heavy burst after a while. And we'll take it. I put off watering a bunch of new plants I put in late this afternoon because of the rain I was sure we'd get (hahaha--should know better); it was fairly moist. . . We finally got the two big beds done with newspaper, leaves, dirt mix. Now just have to get my 25 bags of compost sprinkled around. Bet I have to go get more. . .

    So happy I have tons of echinacea to plant. . . . those little seeds performed like champs and are growing like weeds; same with the milkweed ones. Yay!




  • jlhart76
    5 years ago

    Everything is sprouting, but slow growing. Hopefully the warmer weather will get things going. i noticed the lemon balm, tansy, and walking onions i got from the fling last year came back, along with the one canna seed I planted lady year. It's now three shoots on a huge bulb. And one of the iris (either from the fling or from a lady on the facebook group) is almost ready to bloom.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Good Morning, Fellow Gardeners and Fellowing Gardening Maniacs! (I'll let each of you decide which one you are---a gardener or a gardening maniac. I know which one I am.)

    I tried to watch the radar last night as all the storms were moving through Oklahoma...because of the way they moved from SW to NE across the state in the beginning, a lot of y'all got them a very long time before they arrived here, which was sometime after 3:30 a.m. We only hadnoise and rain and maybe a little wind, and not too much of any of them. I understand there's tons of damage, again, in the DFW metro area. Chris was at work last night and said the storms rolled in earlier down here than up here and that they didn't sleep any after that. I know there were the standard power outages, trees and fences down, shed blown down/rolled over/torn apart, etc. I expect some folks will have tons of landscaping and gardening damage to clean up down ther.

    Has anyone heard what happened at the El Reno Mesonet station? If they had a Tornado Warning in that area, I missed it (which is possible) but I saw the station recorded a 95 mph wind gust. Hopefully that was a fairly localized gust and not a sign that a widespread and damaging wind event was occurring.

    Denise, It sounds like y'all got tons and tons accomplished ahead of the rain. I hope the rain watered everything in nicely. I haven't had much luck with butterfly bush down here in southern OK. It doesn't same to take our hot, dry (most years) summers well at all, so I grow chaste tree instead, and the butterflies love it.

    Nancy, That poor kitty. I've never heard of one not having the little rough sandpaper tongue. I can see where it would be really hard for a cat to groom itself without that feature.

    The thing with the storm chasers is heartbreaking. I don't know much about the third one, Corbin, but his FB page showed an obvious love of chasing storms as well. The two who were contractors for TWC are guys I've followed for years, and I really liked their TWC show 'Storm Wranglers'. On one episode they featured Kelley's wife and she talked some about the danger of it all---something that sticks in my mind now. People in the storm chasing community knew immediately who it was and discussed it among themselves but tried to keep it off public social media accounts and out of the TV news until the names were officially released after family members had been notified. I just felt sick sitting here for several hours watching the weather and the news and waiting for official confirmation. My son, who chases storms occasionally, already had confirmed it was them and told me, but I wanted for all that news to be some horrible mistake and to be wrong.

    In a peculiar twist, Chris was chasing in El Reno on the day the three storm chasers died in 2013. He knew the weather was turning nasty and called me because he was starting to feel trapped by the storm. I tried to guide him off that road (yes the same road where the deaths occurred) and get him safely out of the path of the storms roughly during the same time the deaths occurred. I had him headed first west and then south and he was driving in blinding rain. I just kept telling him to trust me, that I had maps and radar and could see things he couldn't. He did have radar in his vehicle, but it cut out when the storm took that wicked little turn. By the time he was safely home 2 or 3 hours later, we already knew about The Weather Channel's vehicle rolling over, and we knew three storm chasers were dead, though I don't think we knew who it was at that point. Since then, when he goes chasing, I am pretty much a nervous wreck, but he doesn't go often. I'm hoping after yesterday's tragedy that he'll go even less. If experienced people like those three chasers can't stay safe out there, then who can?

    Anyone/everyone here in OK will tell you, correctly, that there's too many chasers out there now and too many tornado tourist tours on the roads and it is just a matter of time before a much larger disaster occurs. I still feel like we all should be home in our shelters following the guidance of the NWS offices that cover our area, not out on the roads in these things. My opinion is not popular with my son or husband, who want to be out in it, watching it, etc. Tornadoes are a fact of life here, so I know we just have to deal with them, but I want to deal with them by hiding undergound.

    I feel so much better now that all of us have had at least some rain. We need a lot more, but it does seem like a real pattern shift has occurred and that regular chances for rainfall now are at least a part of the conversation. Doesn't the cool moisture-filled air feel so much more pleasant now than that hot dry air we had too much of last week and the week before? I'm sure all our plants are enjoying it too. Hopefully the rain increases the rate of greenup enough to help bring the winter storm season to an end. Sometimes it lasts well into April when we are in drought, like it did in 2009, but sometimes it ends pretty quickly once rain starts falling.

    Even the timing of the repeated rain storms is good. I was worn out from all the work I did trying to get ahead of the rain, so being forced by abundant mud and standing puddles to stay out of the garden will let my tired, old body heal a little bit. The house also will appreciate having some more intense cleaning instead of my rushed 'lick and a promise' type efforts it gets during planting season, weeding season, harvesting season and canning season. I already found one lost garden item while cleaning, so that's a benefit of spending more time indoors and less time outdoors, at least for a couple of days.

    Oooh, the sun just came out from behind the clouds. I wonder what the chances are that it will stay out long enough to dry up all the massive puddles outside? Probably not good. On the other hand, I won't have to make a puddle of water for Augustus the tom turkey to stand in so he can cool off in the heat. We're lacking heat, have tons of puddles and also one happy turkey.

    Have a good day everyone!

    Dawn



  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    I lost my lettuce seeds! I had them in the garden the day I planted carrots. I have others, but these were favorites. Soooo, I wandered over to SESE and ordered some more, and 2 new ones to try, because, SEEDS, and while I was there I ordered some bush beans (I WAS out of these) and southern peas, since that may be all that grows this summer.

    We only got 1/2" of rain last night, but I have 3" deep puddles in the yard. I only remember where the low spots are when we have spring rains. The ground must have been saturated from the 2" we had the last time it rained (which was way more than the closest Mesonet station or the airport).

    The comfrey has recovered from chickens and is about to bloom. The peas are coming up WHEREVER the chickens kicked them. Including way away from the trellis. The snow peas finally came up. My onions did have trouble with papery skin, I pulled a few loose today. They look better today, like they are going to grow. I took the burlap off the carrots. Something is sprouting there, though it may be weeds. The Asian greens have sprouted in the asparagus bed, but I didn't see any lettuce. There are a few spinach sprouts coming up. Some of the brassica from the chicken massacre may survive, but it is set back now, so may not be worth waiting for.

    Hahahaha, I just found my seeds.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I am laughing that you just found your seeds. That always happens to me too, but only after I order replacement seeds. Oh well, you needed bush beans and southern peas anyhow. It sounds like the garden is recovering pretty well from the chicken massacre.

    It is the same here with the low spots. Sometimes we buy a few bags of that nasty, crappy clay topsoil and try to fill in the low spots (that crap soil matches the crappy clay around our house in texture/density if not in color), but then rain always washes it out at some point so I've about given up on trying to fill in the low spots. I try to just think of those low spots as puddles for Augustus, the frogs, the bunnies and the wild birds.

    I just killed a mosquito inside the house. Who did it think it was infiltrating our home? Well, I know what that mosquito is now---squashed.

    With the sunshine and mild temperatures I so want to be outdoors. I may go out for a while later. It probably is too wet to weed grade-level soil, but I might be able to weed the taller raised beds since they drain so well. It's just a matter of whether or not I want to get muddy--or maybe it just is how muddy I want to get.

  • luvncannin
    5 years ago

    I am so excited. I have 22 Dewako eggplant up out of 36. I had to bring them in the house to get warm. I may get more but so far so good. I may keep them in here at night since I am not heating the greenhouse anymore.

  • chickencoupe
    5 years ago

    Nice!


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Haha re finding your seeds. I hate it when I do that (and I'm pretty good at doing it.) I was out of sorts today. It was too damp and windy to weed for very long; didn't want to plant as it's going to be so cool tomorrow. So I wandered around picking out a weed and Bermuda grass here and there from the edges of the beds.

    Kim, your garden (farm?) must be enormous. I'm picturing Dawn's like that, too--do the rest of you have similar giant gardens?

    I DID do ONE thing. This monster yucca was in a little tiered section at the south end of the house. WAY too big for that 4x6 foot section, Now it's my first official plant for proposed rock garden, behind the shop, veggie beds. This is the area where getting the shovel into the ground is total nonsense. After several stabs her and there, I found this one little space where I could get a 7-8" deep oval about a foot long dug. And then carted over 3 full wheelbarrows of dirt. I put a rock wall barrier around the plant to prevent the dirt from washing away and then just piled bunches of dirt around the base of it. They're pretty tough, so I am optimistic about its survival, even though I had a hefty part of the root left behind.

    And I walked around counting how many iris were forming flowers (I'm guessing we'll start seeing them by Friday). I was beside myself--Last year was their second spring, and I think there were about sixteen flowers (out of maybe 80 plants) Today I counted 49. Woo-hoo! Can hardly wait to see how many colors are there (besides purple). We got this pickup load of iris from an abandoned and condemned property behind one of our neighbors' property. They had told us to come get it because they heard the city was going to be in doing some work/demolition.

    I've been psyching myself up to tackle major housecleaning tomorrow. Know it's going to be cool, and no fun for gardening.

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Y'all! A girl at the FB Oklahoma Gardening knew what my mysterious horseradish is! It's rhubarb! I looked up pictures of rhubarb and that is totally what it is! What does one do with rhubarb and how?!

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Stems are cooked (with lots of sugar and probably strawberries) where upon it can be pie, cobbler, jam or whatever else you would make with fruit. It is VERY tart and I was dared as a child to eat it raw. Will make your mouth pucker. If you didn't plant it, where did you get it? Did you buy a bare root?

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    DUH!!! Yes, Hazel!!! Dagnabbit, I had rhubarb in Wyoming and Minnesota. . . I should have remembered. Still, as soon as you said it, I recognized that as correct! I only got those flowers(?) once or twice (probably because I always cut it down), and it is weird that you have them now. But then again, I am upside down with gardening in OK!! LOL Too funny!!! And I was thinking, from what I'd read, that rhubarb probably wouldn't do well here, so I am tickled pink to see this. . . now I must give it a try because I LOVE rhubarb.

  • Melissa
    5 years ago

    Oh rhubarb!! You just reminded me I have some roots out in the garage that I need to plant. I use frozen rhubarb in smoothies and I've heard of rhubarb pie although I've never tried it.

    I was so afraid to look at my onions this morning, but I peeked out anyway and they. are. fine!!! Thank goodness. All that wind!! Good thing I had planted them in a somewhat sheltered space. The lettuce still looks good too as well as the strawberry patch. My seedlings are coming along very nicely and I need to get them in the ground instead of potting them up into bigger containers like I usually do. Well, with the exception of the tomato plants that are still not big enough to put in the ground yet. Ya, I'm going to baby them a bit longer.

    The weather doesn't show rain tomorrow or Friday so I am going to get busy getting my cucumbers and zucchini in the ground. Oh and I bought a couple of cute teal colored planters for my youngest dd, so she can plant her patio tomatoes in. She's excited to take care of them herself. She doesn't like tomatoes, but loves to grow them.

    I also bought some hosta as well that I need to get in the ground, although I need to build up the area I want to plant them in first. I think I'm going to be dreaming of gardening tonight even though I need to be finishing the floors. I got the third shipment of flooring and by gosh if it's damaged you all might hear me scream from all corners of Oklahoma, lol.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE looking out my window and seeing little seedlings. Makes me so happy and when I need a real breather I know I can go out and just sit with them.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Amy, I can vouch for that. In Minnesota, my darling granddaughter did weekend sleepovers with me and we did lots and lots of flower gardening. When she was 3, we were out gardening on Saturday. Sunday morning we got up and the poor little thing was broken out in a rash all over her little body. I was freaked out because her parents were coming to get her that afternoon, and I knew I was going to be in big trouble. We ran to the drug store and I bought Calamine lotion, got back home and stuck her in the tub and gently soaped her down, rinsed, toweled her off and smeared her with Calamine. And all the while I was laughing about it but consoling her and I knew my son was going to be SOOO mad at me. (And they were NOT happy, but granddaughter thought it was funny cuz Grandma thought it was funny, not really, but I put on a good show for her, so all turned out fine. ROTFL)

  • luvncannin
    5 years ago

    I used to eat lots of rhubarb pie as a child. The story is I told my mom I like the neighbors better than hers. Last time I ever said that.

    My yard garden is big. I keep meaning to draw the property and my planting areas. So far I have

    20' x 65' veggies
    110' x 65' veggies
    orchard area
    12' tank for herbs
    25'x 20ish friendship garden
    4' x 24' flowers
    I also have alot of extra space with bad soil rocks and gravel. I have another area I want to develop and plant but the dog has that . Someday this will be massive interconnected gardens over the whole acre. Its a good thing its not a section lol

  • Melissa
    5 years ago

    Kim, that sounds glorious!! :)

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    My very favorite pie in the world is rhubarb custard. Stewed rhubarb is DELISH. Just rhubarb in a sauce pan with lots of sugar. . . it turns to a kind of sauce, and is delicious alone, or as an ice cream topping. Yep, ice cream topping. Maybe rhubarb is the northern equivalent of okra. LOLOLOL

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Okay. I know what I'M bringing to the SF!!!

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Okay, Kim, yeah, in MY mind that qualifies as a farm. You blow my mind!!! On ONE acre??????

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    AND, by the way, in 4-H when I was 12 or so, I got a purple ribbon for my rhubarb for the freezer exhibit.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Rhubarb custard pie recipe (my Dad's favorite, and mine): http://www.marthastewart.com/1146970/rhubarb-custard-pie

    There are many recipes for it, but the one above is the one I have used. . . . give it a try. . . :)

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Melissa. . . I'm adaptable. When I got down here to this particular place, I realized I would likely have to let go of my hosta fondness (previously I had accumulated 18 different ones) because of the deer (and rabbits, and maybe woodchucks). But I caved last year and got one of the big ones, and 2-3 days later it was nibbled to the ground. Well it showed up the other day with 4 different leaves coming up, so I am going to move it to a place (where the yucca was inappropriately planted) where the deer and rabbits most likely won't get to. Having said that, there won't be 18 different hosta varieties planted around the yard!!)

    I loved your post. . . yes, dreaming about plants and seedlings and, this is just sick. I check on my little veggies and flowers 3 times a day to see how much they're growing, or whether seeds have popped up yet. . .

    Having said that. . . I have a question. Although I've been growing cleomes for 15 or so years, I do not know what reseeded cleome seedlings look like. I always bought them as plants. I KNOW they reseed, but I don't know what they look like. I fear weeding this year, as I had them planted in three different beds, and I go look, and recognize some obnoxious weeds, so get them out, but I don't know what I'm looking for with the cleome seedlings! Meanwhile, I have cleome seeds, and will sew, just in case I've pulled up cleome seedlings accidentally. I know zinnias, marigolds, morning glories of course. But this brings about another question. When one has heavily planted with reseeding flowers, how does one treat a bed? Weeds are growing left and right, how does one tend the bed with the sprouting weeds vs flowers? I've never had to deal with these great reseeding annuals before, and am not sure how to proceed.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Kim, That's a really good germination rate for eggplant this early since they're fairly picky and like really, really warm conditions. They germinate best (i.e. highest percentage of seeds in the shortest time frame) in soil temperatures from the high 70s to the mid 80s, so you might see continued emergence of more plants under warm conditions.

    Nancy, My front garden has been shrinking and becoming smaller and smaller every year as nearby trees send shade encroaching into it, so even if it seemed large once upon a time, it doesn't now. At the rate we're going, I'm not going to have much if any sunny garden space left in the front garden 5-10 years from now. I knew when we broke ground and planted in 1999 that someday the shade from the surrounding woodland would overtake it, and I guess that someday has been arriving for some time now. I'd no longer classifiy the front garden as big, especially compared to folks who have open, sunny flat-land and can plant vast long rows. We are on a serious slope and each succeeding raised bed is lower in elevation than the one above it so I think it doesn't really look big. It looks compact and very heavily planted and there's lots of shade loving flowers on the northern and western edges where I once grew many veggies in sunlight. I used to have a big garden. Now I have a not-so-big garden. However, I employ every trick in the book (biointensive planting John Jeavons' style, growing all I can vertically on trellises, and using constant succession cropping) to get a huge harvest from an ever-shrinking space. You really don't have to have a huge garden space to get a great harvest. Well, Kim might, because she is raising a commercial market garden, but I don't have to have a huge space for our family garden. I just have to have a highly productive space. It does mean constant succession planting, but I did that even back before the shade became such a big problem.

    Hazel, Well, rhubarb would explain why the leaves and flower didn't look like horseradish! I have grown rhubarb on and off since moving here, but it is a struggle in our summertime heat and drought, so I've had the best success with it in containers, where it will live for 3 or 4 years before some summer gets too hot and too dry and it dies. I've never let it flower and always remove the flower stalks the minute it tries to send them up. You can find a million rhubarb recipes on the internet, and I have a cookbook called something like "The Joy of Rhubarb" that has dozens and dozens of recipes in it. Tim likes strawberry-rhubarb pie or plain rhubarb pie. I'm not a fan of rhubarb myself, so my attempts at growing rhubarb in our heat have been for him. I think it is a gazillion times easier to just go to Central Market and buy him organic rhubarb and make him an occasional pie. I did buy him rhubarb jam or preserves or something similar at Atwood's last year, so if our rhubarb doesn't come back this year (it hasn't appeared yet, so I suspect it died last fall after I abandoned the garden), I'm done with it. It cannot survive my summers in the ground due to persistent drought. It cannot survive the very rainy years like 2015 (24" of rain in May alone, 12" of that in one day) because it doesn't like very slow-draining, wet clay). It cannot survive very cold, very wet winters. It can survive in pots but only if I carry them into the greenhouse in the winters and then carry them back outdoors in the spring, and move them into shade well before summer heat arrives, which I didn't this past year. It is just too hard to keep it happy here. Maybe if I had soil that was less alkaline, and less heat, and less torrential rainfall when the rain does show up, and soil that was better-drained....so, um, maybe if I lived in Pennsylvania like Tim did growing up, then I could grow him the rhubarb plants he remembers from his youth.

    Melissa, I'll be listening for that scream when you open up the boxes of flooring. See why gardening is so much more fun than home improvement projects?

    Nancy, Cleome seedlings have the same distinctive leaves as full-sized cleomes, just in a much smaller version. If you type 'cleome seedling images' into Google, you'll get an abundance of photos of them in all sizes. In my garden, they have the most unique foliage of just about any reseeding annual I have, so they're easy to spot. They don't usually sprout her until April, even in warm springs, and sometimes not until M

    In beds with reseeding flowers, I simply remove the weeds. Usually the weeds sprout earlier than most of the reseeding flowers, and often as I am removing weeds that are an inch or two tall (I'll been doing this lately in the poppy patch), I find my reseeding annuals underneath the taller weeds. That is one reason I weed regularly--to keep the cool-season weeds from shading out/crowding out the reseeding annuals. Often, to stay focused on weeding out just the weeds, I remove each type of weed one by one....so first I pull out all the poa annual grass (especially before it can reseed), then I pull out the shepherd's purse, then the chickweed, and then the hideous wild carolina geraniums that sprout like mad, and then the wild veronica (aka corn speedwell or veronica arvensis), etc. As I do it in that way, I am less likely to randomly pull out a desirable reseeding annual because I'm only taking out the weeds I recognize by sight. Little by little, I get all the weeds out and the reseeding annuals appear, grow and fill the space. Then I mulch heavily to keep the weeds out of those areas. I managed to get the poppy/larkspur bed about 80% weed-free before all the rain came, and I'd like to get the other 20% done as soon as it is dry enough again to weed. There's already zinnias and verbena bonariensis popping up there too since it has been so warm. Normally the zinnias and tall verbena aren't sprouting until the poppies and larkspur are larger, so hopefully we won't have too many reseeders competing for the same space this early in the season. More typically the larkspur and poppies are tall and in full bloom and then the zinnias sprout beneath them, so we'll see what happens. I love the poppies and larkspur so am not inclined to let the zinnias grow too thickly this early in the season and compete with them for space. Poppies and larkspur finish up relatively early here since they don't like our heat, and the zinnias can take over that space later---not now.

    Dawn

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the help on weeding, Dawn! Makes perfect sense. And cleomes--got it!

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks for all the rhubarb ideas, y'all. So...the stalk that the leaves are on are the ones that should be eaten OR the stalk that has the flower? I should find a video and watch it, I guess.

    Amy, the rhubarb was supposed to be horseradish. I purchased the root at K and K last spring. I thought the leaves looked different from the horseradish I saw in videos, etc., but when it shot up that stalk with the broccoli-looking flower head, I was confused. It is in a very large pot. I clipped the flower part off today. A giant wasp-like creature was enjoying it. I'm happy to have a rhubarb plant, but still need a horseradish root.

    I enjoyed reading your posts. Seems like everyone is having some good success so far with eggplants and seedlings.

    Kim, I would like to see a sketch of your garden layout. And Dawn's too. And, really, everyone's. I love to see how other people garden. There's a house on Indian Hills. It's not in the best of shape and has a "for sale by owner" sign in the front yard that's been there almost as long as we've lived out here. However, it looks like it was a glorious property at one time. There's a greenhouse frame to the east of the house. It's probably been there awhile because the woods have grown up to it. I try to drive slowly by it so I can look. It appears that there are many terracotta pots stacked up behind the house and maybe a neat old potting shed. Then, that makes me wonder about the people who live there or who used to live there. Someone was a gardener. Then it makes me wonder about my property and what it will be like when I've become old or have crossed over. Will the asparagus still be going? Will the bones of my garden still be sitting, but in ruins? There's another house at Sooner and Indian Hills that is being absorbed by the trees. I really want to look around it. I'm so nosy, I know.

  • baabaamilker
    5 years ago

    Hazel, I. Like that too. I look at old homes and wonder what kind of hustle and bustle went on there at one time. I like looking around to but I figure I'll probably find the hornets and snakes long before I manage to find out anything interesting about the place.


    Dawn, that explains why I couldn't keep rhubarb alive. I tried two different times, even placing it under the trees and they never came back. We all love rhubarb so we were pretty sad we couldn't get it to grow here.


    I have two plants that I know we planted last year. They survived the winter and we moved them to a different area. One is just starting to bloom. The one that is starting to bloom looks very similar to bachelor's buttons but the flower that's opening doesn't look like a bachelor button. The last three are of that plant. Can someone give me an idea?




  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Nancy, You're welcome.

    Hazel, You should cut off and remove the flowering stalk so the plant will keep on putting out new stalks/leaves. Cut it off as close to the ground as you can with a sharp knife. You do this most of the time as soon as the flower's stem appears in order to keep new growth focused on the stalks/leaves.

    The stalks that support the leaves are the ones you harvest to eat. Keep in mind that rhubarb leaves are toxic, so never consumer them. I wouldn't even compost them unless you have a fully enclosed composter that cats, dogs, chickens and young children cannot access in any shape form or fashion.

    I have the same thoughts about old houses that I see slowly decaying and falling down. I wonder about who lived there, what their lives were like, etc. and mostly I wonder if none of their children or grandchildren wanted to keep the house and property, restore it, llive there, etc. Our son seems interested in keeping this property after Tim and I are gone (hopefully we won't be going any time soon).

    Maybe I can sketch a layout of the garden and bring it to the SF. It is basically straight raised beds 4' wide separated by paths 2' wide. Dullsville, but with nice accessibility despite the fact that it strongly slopes downhill from both south to north and from west to east. When heavy rainfall is occurring, every path is a running river of water. The one time I tried to use a Wall-O-Water in a raised bed, I had such high hopes. I tried to level the area where I was going to put it by scraping the soil level with tools. It 'looked' level. I set up the Wall-O-Water, got the hose and starting filling it with water. Once the WOW was about half full, it fell over and rolled downhill, spewing out water as it went. I worked on leveling the soil some more, and the same thing happened. I tried again with a seemingly level spot in another bed. Same thing happened. That following year, I took the WOWs to the Spring Fling, held then at a pavillion at Will Rogers Park, to give away as a door prize. Instead, some strangers walked in to the area as if they belonged, picked up what they wanted, which included the WOWs and walked out. I don't think any of us realized that they were not part of the OK Forum and that they were, in fact, stealing our door prizes, until they were leaving....and know one really knew what to do, so we didn't do anything.

    I got a little weeding done in a raised bed today, but it really was still too wet, or at least too wet in the areas where I tried to work. Maybe it will be drier tomorrow, but I won't be weeding. Instead I'll be working on putting up fence posts along the edge of the woodland between the woods and the house/yard, dogyard/garage/chicken coops.

    Why? Because today, just after I had walked from the garden up to the house with the cats and taken the cats indoors, the dogs broke out in their DefCon5 coyote alert. I ran outside looking for that thing and he had about 30 chickens penned up against their chicken run/outside the run and was a few feet away from grabbing one. I ran towards them hollering "you get on out of heah'" in my best redneck country accent, screaming and carrying on like a banshee. I didn't really scare him but approximately 29 of the approximately 30 chickens used the distraction to flee south while 1 stupid chicken (let's call her Dummy) ran towards the woods with the coyote in hot pursuit. He acted like I wasn't even there, which is not normal. At the last second as he was about to grab Dummy, she flew up onto the top of the chicken run and then into a tree. He trotted off into the woods and stopped about 10-15' into the woods and then turned, looking at me and just staring at me....not moving on at all. We had a staring contest (dare I say we were playing a game of chicken?) and he just refused to turn and leave. I've said before that this guy is not your typical coyote who slinks off with his tail between his legs...and he acted exactly the same way today as he has done in the past.

    I hadn't shot at him when he was near the coop because if I missed him I could hit the coop and Tim gets mad if I shoot something like a snake inside the coop and leave a bullet hole in the wall or floor or whatever. I also was worried I'd hit a chicken because they largely were between he and I. Well, as he stood there staring at me, maybe I should have shot him, but I worried about missing him and having the bullet go through the woods and into the roadway beyond, so I fired a warning shot into the ground and he finally ran off, but at an easy lope, not a fast fleeing type of pace. After firing the gun, then I had hysterical cats, dogs and chickens because they all are terrified at the sound of a gunshot. It took forever to calm everyone down.

    I still would rather not shoot a coyote. I know that sounds crazy, but they eat tons of voles and other wildlife and we have far too many voles as it is. So, I'd rather just keep it away from our chickens. I'm going to start tomorrow putting up poles and woven wire fencing. I don't want to wait until Saturday when Tim is home because it is supposed to rain and I'm worried we won't have time to do the fence before it rains. I hope to make the fence 8' tall just like my garden fence. We might not even get it all done in one weekend, but bit by bit if we work away at it, maybe we'll make his life difficult that he'll stop coming after the chickens. Tim says he'll shoot it, and he will if he's ever home when it comes I am sure, but he's gone all day every day during the workweek, and on weekends the darn thing never comes around. I suspect there's too much activity on the road and around the houses on the weekend, so the coyote steers clear on weekends. I'd like to run the fence about 300 to 400', with it running from the front edge of the woodland all the way back to Chris' house site, but it will be a slow process. Between the rain, too many other weekend chores, and Tim going out of town on business for a week early in April, I am sure the project will proceed much too slowly to please me. Then, if I am going to go to all the trouble to put up a fence, I intend to plant vines to grow up the fence. We'll just wall off the yard from the woodland that way. Again, probably not all in one year.

    I have been talking our old dog, Jet, out to the edge of the woodland to do his doggie business there on the woodland edge near where the coyote always comes out of the woods. I was hoping that by him marking his territory, he might encourage the coyote to stop coming so close. Well, I guess it kinda worked, The coyote did not come out of the woods in the usual spot he uses....he came out and went back in about 30' feet away. I guess tomorrow I can take Jet out to that area where that trail comes out of the woods.

    At least the weather will be nice tomorrow and not as windy as today. I am worried about hitting tree roots and having that interfere in me installing fence posts,but if that happens, I'll just have to find a way to work around it.

    That was my day in the yard and garden. It was pleasant before that. The hummingbirds are back, the purple martins are building nests in the purple martin houses, there's plenty of butterflies, etc. Now, if we could just find a way to manage that coyote.

    Dawn



  • hazelinok
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Dawn, does the coyote look like a regular coyote? I would be so freaked out. Dummy got lucky! I've not had to witness a kill like that. I hope to never witness it. I'm much too sensitive. I realize it's the circle of life, but I don't like it. Can't we all (including animals) be vegetarian?! lol Like the "Garden of Eden". :D

    Another teacher brought her baby chicks today. I had planned on doing a Chick Day with the kids, with several chick activities, BUT, my chicks aren't coming until June. Something in my gut told me to ask her if she had baby chicks, so I asked and sure enough she had just picked them up a couple of days ago. I knew that she had chickens, but had no idea she was planning on getting chicks. So glad she did. She has a relaxed attitude about chickens. If they die, they die. She doesn't get that upset if a predator gets them.

  • luvncannin
    5 years ago

    Wow am I behind. I skimmed thru this and will read in full later. I too will try to sketch my place. I am somewhat ocd so it may be to scale lol. And in color. Everyone should so we can envision what everyone place looks like.

    I plant intensively also. I do not like to waste water and soil. My greens and roots are planted very close this year and hope they like it. Same with brassica carrots and herbs. Close and snuggly even. I have some awesome soil in the bottom probably where some of the blood drained, I know ewwwww. But the soil is amazing. Except it needs organic matter.

    Little man tended his beans today. Closely. And he swears they grow every time he turns his back. He must have watered them a dozen times. Watched our new favorite video sid the seed. We are hooked on finding new YouTube videos on plants and chickens. He knows more about plants than I did 5 years ago. We gave 2 tours today which is always fun. Loving this time of year.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Hazel, that was the LOVELIEST post about the house for sale, and your thoughts on it. It always makes me sad to see properties gone "to seed" with only remnants of once beautiful gardening features. And even now, as I'm getting a start on this property, I understand our time may be short. I've actually been thinking of that the past month. . . as I'd thought about my hundreds of quilting fabrics, sewing machines and supplies. One of my dear friends (a quilter and gardener) died in 2010. She had 2 years notice (cancer), and she was grateful for that time, as she made certain she finished all her unfinished quilts and designated some to be given to her quilting friends; and she had her gardening friends come get plants to take to their homes (Her DIL sent me an enormous box of my friend's fabric stash--enormous. Since my friend lived 1400 miles away from me, I never got any of her prized garden plants--her beloved peach iris, some of her lady's mantles. I have let it be known--indeed believe I will actually put it in my will, that my quilting stash is going to a good friend in Minneapolis; I was thinking how cool it would be to have some advance notice of my death, so I could invite all gardening friends over to rescue my flowers and plants. That would make me feel SO good. . . wouldn't it you all?

    Laughing, Dawn, about your comment that zone 7 might have some colder-than-zone-7 weather at times. . . noted, in spades, as it seems right now I'm in a Zone 6. LOL Especially compared to your weather right now.

    Not laughing about coyotes, and that particular one, especially. I'd be more like Tim, I think, would probably not hesitate to shoot one--especially one like that (I'd have to have it at close range, though, and use a shotgun, so as not to blow a hole in the behind-our-house neighbors' house; I love animals--but not all individuals of every species. I love dogs, for example, but whether I want anything to do with any particular one depends on the dog, not the species. Hahahaha, I guess it's kinda like that with people, too! But that coyote is creeping me out, and I not only worry about your chickens, but your cats and your dogs and even you. You be careful!!!

    Our dog, Titan, has provided us with a measure of security and safety (and laughter, love and friendship) I'd lost in the first year I was here. First, I had said to GDW that this house was my longtime dream from the time I was 30 on. . . and when I told him that story, I'd also mentioned I'd have my 2 horses and my German shepherd and 1-2 little kitties. Well, he didn't forget that, so after we'd been married and down here for 8 months, we sat down for coffee one morning and he said, "I've been thinking. I think you need your German shepherd." Well, I actually was not thrilled--because our life was SO easy and we were SO enjoying just taking it easy, that as soon as he said it, I inwardly groaned, knowing that being a pet owner is a BIG responsibility. A cat's one thing. . . easy peasy. But DOGS. I kinda waved him off, and said, "Well if we find one we find one." But the next morning when I got up, GDW was looking through the classifieds in the paper. (That's when it occurred to me that HE might want one. . . he denies it to this day, but I'm not sure I believe him.) So I rolled my eyes, kinda tickled, kinda not. And said, "Well. Let's go online and see what we can find." Meanwhile, decided I was too chicken to get a purebred GS. In my opinion, takes a person who really knows their stuff to raise a wonderful shepherd, and I'd been out of practice for about 30 years. We decided maybe a GS cross would be good--and not a brand new puppy but maybe 8 months old or so. . . and we looked and looked and looked. . . and went through 10 pages of Craig's List GS mixes. And we spotted him, we both knew he was the one. Beautiful and intelligent-looking guy, 10 months old (parents were husky, wolf and shepherd mix on both sides); said he'd been to obedience school (neglected to say he most likely flunked). His first 3 months here we crated him at night in our bedroom--and also during that time, we didn't make sure our doors were locked at night, and so one night a couple of 20-some-year old thugs came in and took my purse (we were so lucky that was the only thing they took--but the value of the purse's contents came to about $900-$1000). Where was our watch dog? Crated and snoozing peacefully away with us. (The sheriff's dept found the thugs 5 days later. We were impressed!)

    Long story, still long. But right after that, we didn't crate him any more and we turned him loose outdoors, no cable anymore. It was as if I'd performed magic. Once he realized he didn't have to be on the cable, he quit running off for 2 hours. And now he rarely leaves the yard, and never if we're out there, too. And BOY does he let us know if a stranger appears--dog, human or possum or woodchuck; most don't DARE come to our door or get out of their vehicle if they've not been here before. If they have been here before and passed our muster, not a peep.

    Dogs are almost a mandatory requirement for any property owner (unless they work away from their homes 10 or more hours a day). And that's why I didn't have one for 30 years. I was only home from about 6 pm to 6:30 am. So are cats. GDW SAYS he doesn't care if we have pets. . . all they do is leave hair everywhere indoors. But the cat (MY cat who only knew me for 11 years) and the dog adore him. . . and I doubt the truthfulness of his comment. It's HIS lap the cat is always on (I annoy her because I jump up and down and can't sit still. GDW can sit still for 4-5 hours at a time. LOL.) But these animals are not only a gift to us in terms of their love and devotion (and ours to them), but they perform valuable services. Vital members of the team.

    I'd mentally prepped yesterday for housework today. . . and fulfilled the mission. Two bathrooms sparkling clean; one fridge, sparkling clean. One beautiful and flaky chicken pot pie full of veggie goodness; but also managed to get outside and weed for a couple of hours. . . following the Dawn guidelines. . . SO logical, and yet now I feel safe doing it.

    Hazel, again, your post about the properties who formerly had gardeners. . . very poignant. Thank you.



  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    I love your little man, Kim. What a very very very lucky little man he is, to have you. I got an email from my darling granddaughter in Mpls last night (now 16). I lived either within 6 blocks of her or actually in a mother's apt WITH them for 4 years, from the time she was born until a little more than 2 years ago. My life is perfect and joyful in every way except that. Miss em so much it hurts, 10 hours away. But in her email she said that when she needs quiet time and time to think, she likes to go to the cemetery next to where I lived for 6 years. She said it always brings her peace and makes her think of me and how much she loves me. One day when she was about 5, she wanted to go for a walk on one our weekend sleepovers. So we walked down and she spotted the cemetery--wanted to know what it was, I told her, and she asked if we could go in. And so we did. Spent an enchanted and beautifully sensitive hour or so there. . . and so then, with our monthly weekend sleepovers, that's where we went on walks (until I moved from there into the kids' mother apartment 3 years later). Might seem strange to some, but it was such a beautiful experience--at first she couldn't read everything, so I'd fill in the stories on the tombstones, but then she could, and she was so reverent. What a beautiful gift we undoubtedly gave to each other, as you and your little man are giving to each other.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Gosh, Dawn, that coyote is scary. If you lived near a zoo you could get lion or bear poop. Dallas must have a zoo, send Tim to get a bag of poo ;)

    I have been scanning photos the last couple of days and I came across some from when we first moved here in 92. The back yard looked huge, no garden beds or shed. There was this white PVC table. It's still there, only behind the shed now. The pear trees out front were only 10' tall. The front yard was SUNNY (no more). Even the neighbor's maple tree was much smaller. I didn't realize how much our landscape had changed. Then there are pictures from our old house, that my daughter lives in now. (OMG TURQUOISE hand me down carpet).

    We had to put our oldest dog to sleep a while back. While the beagle is enjoying being an only child, she rolls over and shows her belly to anyone who comes in the house. We at least need a dog that barks at strangers. We know there will be another dog soon. The beagle is getting old, too. Need a young one to fill the gap.

    Nancy, want to come clean MY house, LOL.

    Hazel, what age group do you teach? Looks like about 3rd grade? Maybe you said before.

    I only walked around the garden this morning. Nothing else. I planted more lettuce yesterday.

    The shower is "done". I'm not thrilled with it. Whatever.

  • luvncannin
    5 years ago

    Amy sorry you are not happy with the shower.

    Is your lettuce coming up? Mine still has not. All of the stuff I planted on the same day came up but not the lettuce. I am going to Lubbock tomorrow for small market gardeners conference so I will buy some more. My spring mix for market may not have lettuce lol

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    baabaa, I don't recognize any of those plants, but I'm not very good at identifying stuff yet.

    Amy, my jobs are complicated...only not really. I'll tell y'all about them in person at the spring fling. The child in the picture is in kindergarten. She is tall (and has very long hair) for her age..but also, the chick's warming light distorted the pictures a bit and that is not a very accurate picture of how she looks. Which is why I felt okay about posting it online. That, and I know her parents well.

    About lettuce. I've had a hard time growing lettuce that tastes good. But have decided that I really need to find a way to grow it year 'round because I'm tired of buying the tubs of lettuce that go bad in a couple of days. I threw one to the chickens yesterday 'cause it was starting to get slimy. It was purchased on Sunday and the "use by" date was April 5. Such a waste, and organic produce isn't cheap.

    I'm going to buy some plants already started, I think. I have the perfect pot for them. Has anyone grown it year 'round indoors? Or in cold frames? I must figure this out because I like a daily salad.

  • chickencoupe
    5 years ago

    Lettuce in Cold frame is the simplest solution. It needs a permanent thermometer and a commitment to keep the inner temps stabilized. I did hay bales this winter because it was easy, but drafts can get in bringing temps down. I need another solid cold frame.

    bon

  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    Is there a way to have crisp lettuce from the garden? Mine tastes really good, but doesn't have the crunch I get from the store. I've refrigerated it and not, done an ice water soak, cold water, etc.

  • baabaamilker
    5 years ago

    Hazel, I think I did manage to identify the one as bachelor button. I had no idea they can survive winter. Store that it's bit of knowledge away for the fall. The other plant I was told is Sweet William. We did plant that last year.


    Amy we have Old Time Scotch Collie puppies if you are interested. They are excellent guard dogs but the instant they know you are OK with someone they enjoy getting attention from the strangers, before letting them know it's OK it will seem they are going to tear a person limb from limb. There is some great reading on the breed http://www.oldtimefarmshepherd.org/


    The breed was nearly lost but there has been a concerted effort in the last several years to bring them back.


    Doing some mowing today and trying to work in the garden. It may still be too wet though.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Lettuce that tastes good.....some varieties are naturally bitter, which I don't enjoy. I like leaf lettuce, or romaine picked as leaf lettuce. If I could only have one, Black Seeded Simpson. Chadwick's Rodan Is my 2nd fav. I like a dark red romaine for color (and it's more nutritious). There are lettuces meant to be grown in cold weather. There are "slow bolting" varieties meant to be grown in warmer weather. I grow mine in "bus tubs" and I like to sprinkle some in beds early on because I know it won't be there long. Bus tubs are sturdy and potable. There are warm weather plants that can be used in salads. I like Golden Purslane and Jewels of Opar. It's a matter of personal taste with these. Some people claim amaranth leaves can be eaten in salads. They would have to be very young leaves. I found amaranth tough and without much taste. Roselle leaves can be eaten (once again, young) they have a lemony taste. You can eat the tips of peas, especially the winter peas I grow as a cover crop. The tips of sweet potatoes (or do you cook those? There are cresses that I grow in spring. I've always thought the only way I could grow watercress would be indoors, and it is VERY nutritious. I think lettuce and greens for cooking like kale, collard, Asian greens, they make a garden cost effective. We all love our tomatoes, but cost/pound, I think greens win. If you want kale for salads I would go with the dinosaur kale, it looks tough and ugly, but I find it more tender and mild than others.

    After our first year I went on a quest to see what kinds of greens grow well here. And which we liked. I'm still trying new greens.

    Thanks Kim. I'm not sure what we're going to do. They chipped the shower pan next to the drain. That has to be fixed. I really think that if DH had done it it would look better. I'm really disappointed. My lettuce has not sprouted yet. I've heard that lettuce seed can be short lived, maybe it was old? I think it needs light to germinate. I planted in our first lettuce boxes and sprinkled vermiculite over the seeds. DH came out and casually ran his fingers through the dirt. I could have clackered him.


  • Katie Jbaugh
    5 years ago

    baabaamilker - that top bright green plant with the flowers coming out looks like Sweet William...did you plant last year? I have some also and it is biennial. Doesn't flower year one but will this year and then I believe you have to replant. I just actually bought more seeds because I love them! And want to keep them going!

  • Katie Jbaugh
    5 years ago

    I've missed getting on here and reading. We've been in process of building our chicken coop and raising chickens for two months. Also have TONS planted in the greenhouse and ready to transplant but I'm still leery of doing that.


    Also you guys will laugh with what we do with lettuce. We plant a packet of Buttercrunch every fall and it comes up and gets to tiny head size. In the spring it starts growing again and by now we have about 60 full size heads going.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Hazel, Yes he is very much a typical coyote in appearance. His coat might be slightly more golden than what I usually see, so I think there is a slim chance he has some domestic dog DNA in his heritage, but he is not at all the sort of coyote-domestic dog hybrid we sometimes see here, so if he has domestic dog DNA, it is a small amount. I had to deal with a coyote one year that was a clear coyote/golden retriever mix. About the only part of him that looked like a coyote was his head and his tail. He had no fear of humans and would try to walk right up to you, which is extremely dangerous and cannot be tolerated. I ran into that one occasionally while walking my dogs and he would try to walk along with us, not in a menacing way, but because I knew he was a coyote, I always reversed course and headed straight back home. If a car came along, he'd run right off. Otherwise he'd pace us from about 20 yards away. This one is not like that, but he also doesn't exhibit much fear and he certainly doesn't slink off with his tail between his legs like coyotes often do. He is probably 2 or 3 years old---a young, muscular healthy one that is eating very well, not looking at all like the lean, skinny half-starved ones we often see in drought years. Clearly he roams our neighborhood a great deal and is used to humans and the noises we make because he does not startle easily and he also has taken to standing his ground a bit and staring back at me instead of just turning and running off.

    We probably should have shot and killed him long ago, but the longer you live with wild things, the more you know that all of them have an important role to fill in the ecosystem and the more you understand that it is better to divert them, to try to prevent them from becoming habituated to your presence/your habitat, etc., instead of killing them. And, truthfully, killing a coyote or a bobcat doesn't really protect your animals because another predator moves right into the available territory as soon as you kill one. I have studied his trail and no matter which wildlife trail he uses to enter/exit the woods near our house, it appears that once he gets deeper in the woodland he is utlizing a fallen log that rests across the creek bank about 10' above the waterline as a bridge to cross the creek. So, also on our list of things to do must be for us to go into the woods (ugh, in snake season already) with the chain saw and cut that log into several pieces so it no longer serves as a bridge. It is a very large tree trunk, possibly a walnut that the idiot beavers chewed/girdled but couldn't bring down due to its huge size about a decade ago. I've only seen it from the road's bridge over the creek, but tomorrow I think Tim and I will put on our leather workboots and such and venture into the woodland to check it out.

    With free-range chickens, you expect to lose one to predators here and there, but it really doesn't happen that often here. Except in the past year it has happened too often. I worry more about the coyote getting one of our cats than our chickens. Still, when a coyote is coming into your yard while you're outside working in the garden and not that far away, you do have to take action, if only to establish that you're a threat and that the coyote needs to stay away. So, that's where we are now.

    I left all the poultry inside their individual chicken coops/runs today, and they are not happy even though their fenced runs are large and fully covered with fencing so they are safe. Once poultry is used to free-ranging, they're never really happy confined. I don't care if they're happy today, because at least they are safe. Our chickens would rather be free than be safe, but their vote didn't count today. Only mine did. I kept the cats in, and the dogs are in their fenced dog run with the 8' tall fence to keep the coyotes out. So, I am not worried about the dogs, but I do always bring them indoors from the run if I have to leave the property.

    Kim, The thought of the blood doesn't bother me. We use blood meal and bone meal, after all, as organic fertilizers. I'm glad you and your little man are having so much fun together. See there---he'll be like me---growing up gardening and having it in his blood, which is a wonderful way to grow up. When kids understand where their food comes from and how it is grown, they automatically understand concepts that non-gardening children (and adults!) do not.

    Amy, I think Tim would have a stroke if I suggested he bring home some Zoo Doo (lots of zoos do sell it!). He told me yesterday he'll take care of the coyote himself. I love my husband, but I rolled my eyes. When I was having cougar encounters in the yard and was terrified and just trying to make it back to the house alive and in one piece, where was he then? Sitting on his butt watching TV and not paying any attention to any noise outside, not answering his phone (which he conveniently leaves in another room so the noise will not interrupt his TV viewing of some stupid movie he has watched 10,000 times before) and completely clueless, even though after the first cougar encounter he KNEW I was terrified and wanted him to keep his phone with him at all times. If I ever kill him it will be because he walks into his office, closes the door and tunes out the whole world including me and any predator that might be out in the yard with me. If I do not specifically tell him "I am going outdoors, there is a coyote lurking around, keep your phone right beside you", he won't have his phone handy. It makes me nuts.

    The odds of the coyote coming into the yard when Tim is home on the weekend are between slim and none. In the last year, that coyote has killed dozens of Chris' chickens (he built his coop too close to the woods and knew better and wouldn't listen to us, so what do you do?) and comes into the yard all the time when I am outside and when Chris is working on his house on weekdays, but never on weekends. That could be because we have a weekend neighbor whose property, which sits between us and the river, is not here during the week but often is here on the weekend, so it might be his presence that keeps the coyote from coming up through the river bottoms, crossing through his land and coming onto our land.

    I have thought about ordering cougar urine though and using it there on that edge of the woodland.

    Nancy, We have long had dogs---anywhere from 3 at one point up to 8 (a stray dog adopted us and then had puppies) and now we are down to 2 very old, grey-haired, more mellow ones and two hyper-excited ones that I guess are about 3 years old now. It is the easily excitable younger, smaller dogs who sound the DefCon 5 Coyote alert. They are ferocious barkers when a coyote is near. I believe all our dogs have prevented us from being burglarized on several occasions. Once, the word got back to me through a third party that a less-than-honorable person was prowling around our property looking for stuff to steal and our then young and healthy dog named Biscuit (who was a big softy but had a very ferocious attitude towards strangers) went ballistic over his presence. Supposedly this idiot fled and then told all his friends and acquaintances to stay away from our place because "they have a dog that will tear you up". Biscuit crossed over the rainbow bridge several years ago and we miss him so very much. After Biscuit, Duke was our main protector. He died last year. He was a Rottweiler-terrier mix and looked mean. He could act mean and just his appearance terrified people, but he also was just a big wussy. Luckily, no one but us knew what a wussy he was. His brother, Jet, is my big protector now and he has become extra-protective since Duke died. He even barks at Tim and Chris and doesn't really want them coming too close to me, which just makes me laugh, but it makes them highly irritated. I tell Tim it is his fault, When he leaves for work, he tells Jet "you take care of Mom today" , and Jet does just that. The problem is that Jet doesn't really turn off his protective instincts when Tim and Chris come home from work.

    It is easier to have 4 dogs than 8, and when our two older ones cross over the Rainbow bridge, I don't intend to replace them. We'll still have the two younger ones, and they think they are tougher than they probably are so they bark at anything. I mean if a car comes up our driveway, they have a full and total conniption fit. It is hard for anyone to sneak up on us with all these dogs, and that is a good thing.

    Amy. I'm so sorry about your dog. It is so hard when we have to let our furry companions leave us.

    My garden still is too muddy to do much, which is frustrating. I am going to try to weed today and then add some mulch to the just-weeded areas.

    Baabaamilker, I was going to say dianthus (specifically Sweet William, which is Dianthus barbatus) and bachelor buttons, but I see you already have it all figured out.

    Kim, How odd that the lettuce seeds did not sprout. Are the seeds fresh?

    Hazel, You can grow lettuce and pretty much all greens indoors under lights in the summer, preferably in an air conditioned room that stays below 80 degrees. Both heat and lack of water make lettuce taste bitter, and I think it really is a moisture issue more than a heat issue, at least until the lettuce begins to bolt. You will have the best success with leaf lettuce or with summercrisp lettuce varieties, not iceberg. Iceberg types are nice and crunchy but take too long to head up here and hit that wall of heat pretty early. Tim likes the crunch of iceberg, but leaf lettuce is more acceptable to me and I like the crispness of summercrisp ones. I really don't think it is a variety problem---I think it is our heat and lack of abundant moisture. Every lettuce variety I've ever grown has done well as long as it is well-watered and as long as it has shade from noon onward in the hot months. Eventually even well-watered, well-shaded lettuce will bolt though, and growing more indoors is one way to work around that.

    Amy, I'm sorry you're disappointed with the work done in your bathroom. That's why I like for us to do it ourselves, even if it take us 100 years to finish one project.

    Katie, I hope you're enjoying the chickens and hope the weather stabilizes soon so you can get plants in the ground. I have almost everything in the ground now but I am very far south and have been having awesome warm weather for a long time. I also have frost blankets if the cold nights come back, as they are sort of threatening to do late next week.

    Your lettuce looks fabulous!

    Dawn

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Katie that lettuce looks wonderful!

    Rebecca, what kind of lettuce are you growing? I like romaine in general (DH doesn't like the ribs), but I think it is crunchier. I wonder if store bought varieties are that way so they hold longer? We have been satisfied with lettuce soaked in cold water, then spun dry in the salad spinner. I store it in a ziplock bag with a paper towel in it to absorb excess moisture. It keeps best for me that way. I have a couple of the old tupperware lettuce keepers, but haven't bought ice berg lettuce in years.

    Google does this thing on my tablet that shows you pictures you took a year ago. I'm kind of sad, I'm further behind than last year.

    My wisteria bush, while starting to bud now, has been bare while all the other wisteria in the neighborhood are in full bloom. A year ago, it was in full bloom, too. I worry, because it's planted where lots of things have died in the past and I've always wondered if something is buried there that poisons trees.

    I had lots of overwintered greens this time last year because it was such a warm winter. I had a tub of lettuce of eating size and 3 purchased sacrificial tomatoes ready to go in the ground. There were many, many seedlings in the green house.

    I have hesitated to start as many seeds, partly because my 2 herb boxes are pulled apart and partly because I'm afraid my greenhouse won't survive till planting time. And I've been sick so much. Thinking I should scale it back a bit this year.

    Thanks for the offer Baabaa, I'll look at that, but we are both very partial to beagles or beagle mixes. They aren't what you think of as guard dogs, but we've had some that were very protective.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Dawn, I guess we were posting at the same time. Interestingly enough, the dog we lost was named Biscuit, though my daughter spelled it Bizquette. It's only been a couple of years since she tried to bite a power company worker. He was a jerk. Since they couldn't get in the yard he cut down a mature apple tree to use a cherry picker over the fence. She was old and fat and would stop barking if new people petted her. It was like "I must be acknowledged", LOL. We still look for her in the shadow under the table where she would hide.


  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    Amy, I have Simpson, a red romaine (cut and come again style), butter, and a salad blend. They all taste great, but are 'soft' to bite into. No crunch. Then again, they are still in the baby stage - big enough to pick and enjoy, but not full size. I usually store cut lettuce in a tupperware type container with a damp paper towel. We do spinach, but aren't a fan of kale, chard, and the like.


    I think I will be spending a lot of time planting things next weekend. I've done some already, and they're rocking along, but whenever they get a little sun, they take off even bigger. I might even have a few tomatoes ready next weekend, if the weather behaves. I know that's a question right now. My morning glories are trying to climb out of their jugs! The tomatoes that are in are happy and thriving. The Better Bush has a couple buds on it, as does the purchased Big Bertha pepper. Early cukes sprouting. Sunflowers. Their patch isn't ready yet, but I have to plant a few of them. Just getting too big for their cups. The zinnias and susans I have in are happy too.


    Cherry Street Market starts tomorrow. I'm planning on checking it out to see what's new. Need some scallions and garlic. I have enough greens, lol.

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Lettuce and greens will be my next thing to learn. My lettuce last year was okay, but I'm going to give it a lot of attention now. Y'all have convinced me. I eat green salads often so how dumb for me to put those foods at the bottom of my garden choices.

    Maybe a cold frame for the winter and maybe an indoor light shelf for the summer? I really am the only one in the house to eat salad everyday, so I wouldn't need tons of it. Tom really only likes iceberg salads and he doesn't eat them that often.

    Once the cucumbers, tomatoes and korean squash are planted within the next few days, I will have no beds available for the peppers. I did order some of those metal corner things, but they are on back order. Tom will just have to help build another bed Or maybe I'll buy one of those raised beds already made basically.

    I'm so fed up with tomatillos. Two of the four that I managed to grow, broke at the stem. And these weren't small plants. THEN, yesterday one of the remaining broke too! I didn't handle it any rougher than I do tomatoes or peppers. I can't figure them out! Do you think it's too late to start more outside? Maybe if I start them in containers outdoors, so they don't have to harden off and then just put them in the ground when it warms up a bit?

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Me too Hazel. . . lettuce and greens. I've been reading the lettuce and green posts carefully! Like you, I haven't yet gotten to lettuce and greens. And that's just dumb because we eat lots of salad. And also me too, I don't have room for the peppers!!! AGGHH. Oh well. I figure I have a couple weeks to panic and do something about it. . . LOL

    Tonight, I'm thinning out and potting up 4 dozen little coleus. Crazy, Who'd a thunk I'd decide I had to plant coleus. . . and my curiosity won't allow me to throw any away!! I gotta see how each little one develops. (It was a "rainbow pack from Diane's Flower Seeds.) LOL

    STILL a little cool up in our neck of the woods. . . Nothing outside is really taking off (except the onions, cabbage, potatoes, garlic, and previous plants), so the peppers and some tomatoes and many of the flowers continue to spend outdoors on the deck and come in for the evenings.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Amy, I'm pretty sure that back when Chris name Biscuit, he was thinking of the band Limp Bizkit because it was 1999---our first year here when a little stray puppy showed up on a wet miserable day and I said those famous last words "we'll feed him, but we AREN'T keeping him". Of course, we kept him. Once you feed them, they're yours forever. I made sure when we took Biscuit to the vet for all his shots and to get treated for mange (because any free dog that shows up in the country has been dumped for some reason.....), we spelled Biscuit the proper way. A later arrival was named Honey by Tim, so we had Biscuit and Honey.

    Don't fret about being behind. All you need is a couple of good weeks and you'll be all caught up.

    Rebecca, I handle and store lettuce like Amy does. It works pretty well, and so does harvesting them first thing in the morning, which seems to give you a crisper lettuce. I've tried everything to keep them from going limp when harvesting, including putting the leaves in a bucket or bowl of water the minute I cut them. For crispness, it is the icebergs, followed by summercrisp, followed by romaine and then all the leaf lettuces. I really started growing the summercrisp types in an effort to get something that didn't wilt like crazy like the leaf lettuce does. It sounds like your plants are doing great. Have fun at the Cherry Street market!

    Hazel, Greens are really easy in winter. I have grown them in the black, flat concrete mixing tubs you buy on the concrete aisle at home improvement stores. Let me find a photo of one of those things and post it. You can drill drainage holes in the bottom with a drill and set the tub with drainage holes inside another tub to catch the run-off. I even plant lettuce in them and set it in the veggie garden on a table. It is easy to harvest (no bending over) and having the lettuce at waist height keeps varmints from eating it. (One year field mice or voles ate every single lettuce plant in the ground the instant it sprouted, though that hasn't been an issue since that year. You can grow indoors on a light shelf, or I've grown them in the unheated greenhouse, or you can grow the plants in a cold frame, or just under low tunnel hoops covered with row cover.

    Large Mixing Tub

    I think you could direct-sow tomatillos. They are so late to produce anyway....so what would it hurt to direct-seed them in the ground?

    All my garden news for today is about insects I think. Today, while weeding, I had the company of two bumblebees, striped cucumber beetles and a white lined sphinx moth. The bumblebees were mostly visiting the honeysuckle. The white-lined sphinx was visiting the dianthus. The striped cucumber beetles (I usually only see the spotted ones) were underground feeding on weed roots and I kept accidentally unearthing them as I pulled out weeds. Not wanting to waste a good opportunity, I squished each cucumber beetle to death between two fingers. Two bare ungloved fingers. I usually don't do such things without gloves on, but it felt good to squish those little beetles.

    Tonight I caught a cranefly in the mud room and put it back outdoors. Then I walked into the kitchen and Pumpkin was chasing something rapidly all over the floor but I could tell what it was. I followed them into the laundry room and it was a big scorpion. It scurried away underneath the washing machine. I hate the thought of there being a scorpion in the house. I guess I'll buy some glue traps tomorrow and put them in the laundry room, preferably in a spot where Pumpkin won't find the trap, get it stuck to himself and run all over the house wearing it.

    Let's say good-bye to March as April arrives in a couple of hours.

    Dawn



  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Amy, one last note on March. . . No, I do NOT want to come clean YOUR house. It's TORTURE to clean my own when I could be outside, except every once in a while in December, January, and February. LOLOL. Would I rather dust the furniture, or would I rather haul 20 or 40-lb bags of compost to beds in 90-degree weathe. No-brainer. If it's outside, that's the answer. Gardeners are the best.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Ha ha ha, Nancy. My sentiments exactly. In the gardening season, housework slides a lot, except I keep the kitchen clean as can be since it also is canning season. Ugh. I guess it needs to rain because dusting the upstairs is on the To Do list and I never seem to get around to doing it. I do get the whole house clean in gardening season, but not all on the same day. I am happy if I can clean one room well per day, and even at that rate, I resent the time I have to spend indoors doing it. Then, all those mundane chores like cleaning out closets and reorganizing them----they get postponed to the winter months.