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okiedawn1

January 2019, Week 1

Happy New Year! Okay, I know I am a couple of days early, but this week seems like a good time to just say farewell to 2018 a couple of days early, and to move on with our 2019 garden planning, hopes and dreams.


What will you be doing the same in your garden and landscape in 2019? What will you be doing differently?


I haven't done much actual planning yet, except in the tomato area, but I have a couple of ideas.


At our place, I'll be rotating the tomatoes from the front garden to the back garden. This pains me because the garden soil in the front garden is much better and it should be---it has been amended so much more and for a longer period of time. There's also the perpetual vole issue in the back garden. What if the voles out back eat my tomato plant roots? Maybe I'll plant a circle of garlic around each tomato plant like I do with the fig trees in the back garden. Since planting the ring of garlic around the fig trees, the voles haven't touched those plants. The voles never have eaten tomato plant roots before, but there is a first time for everything and obviously it would be devastating if they decided to do it this year. I guess planting the tomatoes back there just will be a big leap of faith. It is necessary because (a) tomato disease issues build up in the soil if you don't rotate properly and I can see that is happening in my front garden and (b) my front garden got hit by herbicide drift at least 5 separate times last year and I lost plants, including tomato plants, over and over again. The back garden is a lot more sheltered. It never has been hit by herbicide drift. I think the woodland on two sides and the barn on the third side helps a lot in that regard. So, that's the big change for me. The back garden also is more exposed to north winds, but most of our herbicide issues come from the south and particularly the east, so while the plants may get more windblown, perhaps they won't get hit by herbicide drift.


I cut back on how many tomatoes I grew the last couple of years, but now we have eaten almost all the home-canned ones, so I need to harvest and preserve a ton of them this year. So, my tomato grow list is back to being larger than the last couple of years. I also took off a year from cucumbers last year, and we are out of homemade pickles. so this will be a big cucumber year as well.


I think I'll grow less cool-season greens because I devoted too much space to them last year, and less squash, just because I get tired of dealing with the squash pests. I'm thinking about skipping growing potatoes, or only growing them in containers. I can only grow them in the couple of hardware cloth-lined raised beds we have in the front garden because of the voles and those beds work great, but I grow potatoes in them every year, so need to rotate potatoes (and all nightshades) out of them for a couple of years to prevent disease issues from building up in the soil. It is hard to imagine not having any fresh potatoes, so I think I probably will grown a very small amount of them in containers.


I want to grow a lot of beans and southern peas because we love them both so much and could eat them every day. A lot of the front garden probably will be beans, peas and melons. And flowers of course.


With flowers, last year there was a huge focus on zinnias, so this year, I'll grow fewer of them and more of something else. I'm not sure what that something else will be, but I like to change things up to keep from getting bored.


So, do tell us, y'all, what you're thinking about doing the same, or differently in 2019.


Dawn

Comments (65)

  • 5 years ago

    Hi Carrie! Welcome! All of the things you mentioned grow well in Oklahoma....well, depending on factors, of course. But I grow all of those things. I'm in Norman--central Oklahoma too.

    I eat a plant-based diet too. Technically vegetarian, I guess. I don't eat meat (although I'm trying to add some meat back into my diet (humanely raised, local, yadda yadda). I'm having a hard time adding it back, though....I keep putting it off till "next week". I have hens and eat their eggs and also some cheese and yogurt, although I'm picky about the sources of those items.

    For sure, stick around and ask questions. Everyone here is super nice and helpful. Did you see the "tomato grow list" thread?

    We'll all be ordering onions soon for February/March planting. Many of us order from Dixondale.

    Peppers grow especially well here. Most of us planted our garlic in the fall. As far as cucumbers go, I have had the best luck with Armenian cucumbers.

    You're from California? Do y'all have squash bugs/squash vine borers? Keep those bugs in mind if you want to grow squash, zucchini, ,and pumpkins. Anyway...I'm rambling and it's late.

    Welcome again!

  • 5 years ago

    Welcome! I'm in OKC too. Moved here 3 years ago from Tulsa. Biggest tip for growing here is don't get discouraged. We get freak warm spells in Feb, ice and snow and April, floods, drought, high winds and everything in between. So gardening is always an adventure.

    As for spring fling, I hope we can pull it off. I can check costs for pavilion rentals, or I could see about using my church if people wanted to do that.

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Having said that, one of our neighbors got thrown off a horse on leased cattle land a few years back, and had to be brought up out of the river bottom area in the back of a pickup truck, lying in the bed on a rough ride across pastures, with a broken hip or pelvis or both.....he was 89 and his motivation to do all the proper healing and physical therapy was so he could get back on his horse and ride again. I don't know. I might have taken that injury as a sign that I should give up horseback riding myself. There is NO book on this earth that would compel me to plant hackberry trees for any reason. LOL. Our next door neighbor had them in Fort Worth, did not control them, let them reseed everywhere, and those trees grew up in our fenceline and destroyed our fence. I hate them. Oh, we have them (and sugarberries too) here in our woodland and they are aggressive and re-seed everywhere, but I'd never ever under any condition plant one on purpose because of the way they spread aggressively. Of course they feed wildlife---so does poison ivy, but I don't plant it either. If Tim and I had nothing to do with our time and energy except cut down trees, we'd cut down all the hackberries and sugarberries, and just doing that on our few acres would take the rest of our natural lives, so we'll never be rid of them but maybe we can keep them from spreading more. The ones growing on the southern edge of our woodland are moving towards my garden, year after year, creeping ever closer and that's going to cost them their lives after Tim retires one of these days. Native plants are great and we have acres of them, but one reason they survive, thrive and do so well in the first place is that often they are aggressive spreaders and growers and can take over an area. My goal as a nature-loving gardener is to have many native plants, but not too many of the super-aggressive ones that take over every square foot of space. There has to be balance. We are lucky because we never bulldozed and clear cut our property, so we don't have to restore native plants to it. There's also plenty of non-natives we perpetually work to eradicate because of their extreme aggressiveness. We also work to control natives that are aggressive spreaders. All these years of watching how the plant community members interact with each other has given me the opportunity to observe how the plants, both native and non-native, have advanced and spread ever since we bought this land way back in 1997. What have I learned? Too much to write here, but one of the big lessons is that most plants are relentless in their desire to spread and grow, and if we don't control them, the aggressive spreaders will crowd out many equally desirable (or more desirable) plants. Knowing in your mind that, logically of course, this sort of thing happens, but seeing it first-hand can be a rather shocking experience. When we first moved here, my attitude was that I would not cut down a tree for any reason because we need all the trees. Ha! I sure learned, and very quickly, how wrong I was about that. We have to cut down trees and hack back the jungle or they'd crowd us, our gardens, our house and outbuildings, and our animals right off the property. It is easy to think you'll just sit back and let the plants slug it out among themselves, but that doesn't really work either because a few aggressive species will spread so much that they hurt your property's overall biodiversity. If I never see another hackberry, sugarberry, eastern red cedar or honey locust tree on our property ever again, it will be too soon. They are here, and we'll never get rid of them, but part of our landscape reno is to cut out and remove a honey locust tree we left near the dog yard for shade, and now it and its suckers are overtaking the entire dog yard fence and need to be removed, and their suckers and stumps need to be killed with a stump/brush killer or we'll be fighting them the rest of our lives, and we don't need their thorns near the dog yard. Our native persimmons also sucker and spread as groves, and I've tried to leave them alone, but they are moving into the back garden, so they're going to be removed this winter too. Dawn
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  • 5 years ago

    Hi Carrie, welcome to the crazy world of Oklahoma weather and trying to garden in it! I have family up and down the west coast, but in comparing notes, the growing season is somewhat similar to what my family has in the Modesto/San Joaquin Valley area. Our winters are very different which changes what is perennial, but the rain all at once, then dry and hot seemed to mimic what I was used to seeing here. In fact, a cousin who grew up just outside Modesto lived in NWOK while her husband was stationed there and she had very little trouble growing in our weather. BTW - she says the earthquakes here are very different. They don't rumble and shake, they pop or feel like a car has run into your house. Just FYI because for some reason we seem to have more of those in the springtime, at least in Edmond where I am.


    Jacob, your disdain of shipping costs reminded me of a little money saving trick for purchasing seeds and gardening supplies online - Ebates and RetailMeNot. For seeds, RetailMeNot will be the biggest helper. It inventories coupon codes and sales. I typically use it for the codes only because I've never noticed them to have sales that you couldn't access online. Right now they have a code for a $5 off $25 at SSE or a free shipping code for SESE, codes for other seed sites too, but you get the jist. You can sign up for an account, but you don't need one and I don't know what it would be used for. You might have seen ads for Ebates before Christmas. You start on their site and click the link for the site you're shopping from, then via cookies the purchase is reported back to Ebates and you get cash back. They also do a really good job of staying current on coupon codes too so you can use those at checkout. I've been using it for 15+ years and never had any security issues (knock on wood). But like I said, for seeds its not as good as RetailMeNot, because they don't have partnerships with the seed companies, however it does have advantages if you're ordering gardening materials or supplies from places like Tractor Supply or Amazon. Here's a link if you're interested. (Full disclosure, I get a referral bonus if you sign up then make a purchase.) I'm not suggesting it for the sake of the referral bonus, I actually use it a lot. I have it set up to mail me a check quarterly, but I believe you can have it deposited into your paypal account as well. Another Ebates tip, you can order online and chose pick-up-in-store for sites that offer it and still get the cash back.


    I'm feeling better today and at work. The hubs was encouraging me to take a sick day but I told him the only thing I have to do at work that is harder than being at home is to think. Last winter, any time I was around my niece and nephew, I came down with something a few days later. This seems to be the case again, and seems to be similar to a bug they gave me last year where I felt good one day and bad the next. It lasted two full weeks, so I hope I'm wrong because I'm ready to be over it, not be only halfway through.


    Dawn, the flu is the absolute worst! My BIL in Washington State has it and checked in "safe" on Facebook after having been in bed with no proof of life in 2-3 days. I remember having it before my daughter was born. I was in bed, in the finished basement where it was darkest and quietest, with a blanket over my head for at least 24 hours, maybe more like 36. With routine tylenol, my fever was still consistently around 103! This was the days before Tamiflu so I didn't bother going to a doctor for a flu test and I doubt I could have made it as far as the car to drive there anyway. So, so, so glad to have a cold instead of that! I had my flu shot, but 2 coworkers who got the flu shot the same time I did (flu shot clinic at work) have gotten it already, so it's going to be one of those years. I did finally remember last night that I have elderberry syrup - D'UH! I'm taking that at bedtime now.


    Y'all and your chickens are killing me! My HeyDay game chickens are looking very adorable. I have 12 of them and they wear little blue ear muffs to stay warm. So adorable. It's snowing daily in HeyDay land, but I'm still harvesting wheat, corn, cotton, carrots, soybeans, berries, etc. That's the closest I'll get to owning chickens until the winning lotto ticket provides a means for my dream farm. Did I tell you guys about my daughter catching the turkey at Providence Farms at Thanksgiving? If not, I'll have to tell you... priceless!


    Well, back to work. TTYL

  • 5 years ago

    Just now catching up!

    I mentioned New Year's Resolutions over in the tomato grow list thread, so here we go! Maybe goals would be a better term, but resolutions seemed to fit this time of year?

    In my main garden, I've been gradually converting to no-till beds for a few years now. This year the plan is to quite piddling and accelerate the process. Two more 4'x45' modified hugelkulture beds are in the works and if I'm not tired of hauling wood chunks, I may do two more. These won't have a frame around them, more of an above grade arrangement.

    I'm adding another trellis just like the one I built year before last, so I can rotate cucumbers and such. The existing one will probably be used for vining bean varieties. I'll space it 12' from the existing, so I can run cedar poles across the top and eventually use that as a framework for shade cloth later on.

    After all the discussion in the herb thread last year, I'm going to keep adding to my herb growing area and continue to add varieties. Preferably ones that will reseed or are perennial.

    As soon as or if it ever dries I'm opening up some new ground in an area I've never grown in. No bermuda, but I'm sure it will eventually travel across the driveway or down the slope 50 yards to so to harass me!

    I'll till it (I know!) and then add compost and mulch to everything except where I plan on planting corn. The grandkids seemed to love the idea of growing their own popcorn and Dawn suggested Glass Gem. Janet really likes the idea, since her grandad used to grow it for her and the other grandkids.

    There are several more projects in the works, but I guess I better get off and help the wife!


  • 5 years ago

    hazelinok, didn't have room for anything but herbs in my condo garden in California! Hence my excitement about growing FOOD in our new one :) I haven't grown a veg garden in nearly 20 years, and then pretty amateurishly.

    With books and more internet available info, (and a higher income than I had back then), I hope to do even better this time around.


  • 5 years ago

    If you've known me long, you know I'm the queen of spreadsheets. I started my 2019 purchases sheet and I've been working on it. First page is a list of sources. I think I'm up to 75 now, LOL. 2nd page is the list of things I want to try. Through formulas, the next page finds all the items linked to sources so they are grouped together for ordering. I might have wish lists on certain sites, but I don't fill out the order till my spreadsheet is done, LOL. I have lost wish lists when companies upgraded web sites, so I don't want to loose it. I will compare prices between sites and add things that weren't on the things to try list before I'm done.

    I have pneumonia, so I've not been doing anything but watching TV and playing solitaire. I think it was New Years Eve I stayed up working on the spread sheet, because I slept all afternoon and wasn't sleepy, but the days have run together.

    My resolution for my garden is to make plans easy enough to complete myself. I didn't get the help I needed last year, so some things didn't happen. I am considering NOT doing onions and garlic. I don't have a good place to store onions and no room in the freezer for them. My garlic has not come up like normal and hasn't gotten mulched, so there may not be a crop. These crops have a big footprint into early summer, I think that space could be better utilized. No potatoes unless DH fills bags to grow them in.

    I want more greens, more lettuce, collards, kale, chard, spinach. I need to pare down my tomato list. Or maybe I'll have room if I don't grow onions and potatoes. The great eggplant experiment didn't happen last year, so maybe this year (this is to decide if I can grow it to DH's satisfaction or cross it off the list since I personally don't care for it.) There will be pimento peppers. I'm not attempting heading broccoli this year (I say that now, but I could start seeds for it, you know how that goes.) I like Piracicaba. I have a couple of other sprouting types. I hope I can do a fall garden this year, and salad turnips in spring. I have a million flower seeds from last year. If I had a husband who asked me when to rent the sod cutter.....I'm sad, I don't see the zebrina coming back and good grief is the comfrey dying? Ron was told not to touch my flower bed. There were some expletives for emphasis. He is the garden version of scorched earth. We need to decide if we're replacing the trees we had cut down out front. I really want a witch hazel bush, wonder if they grow here? Also elderberry (I think I lost my 3 year old plant, and killed the others I had.) I'm fascinated by Dessert Willow. Ron wants a Redbud and a Dogwood.

    Carrie, welcome to Oklahoma. You will find it hotter, and probably dryer here. There will be a learning curve. Asking here for varieties that tolerate our heat will help. There are tricks we can help with. Mulch is pretty important. Bermuda is the devil. You must remove it all. Southern peas and okra in July and August. You can search old threads and learn a great deal. Eventually people will post their complete grow lists, like the tomato thread. You will learn from those, too.

    Good to see you everyone. XOXO

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, Amy japanese, chinese, and american witch hazels grow fine in NE Oklahoma as long as it has adequate moisture. I really really enjoy the native one blooming in Dec and Jan, as there is nothing else blooming or scenting the air at that time of year. They're not as pretty as the later ones (both the chinese and the native fall version), but boy do they smell better :0

    Desert willow requires good drainage, but certainly grows, I had one on the 5 foot ridge (on roadside) in Chelsea. Nice to bloom all summer on and off. I had to give it up because it was certainly too wet in Arkansas for them, but I cheated and planted a tree substitute (chitalpa) which is catalpa x chilopsis (desert willow). It grows much much more strongly and much much bigger (prune mine every year). First year from a less than foot high rooted cutting it went to 15 feet (higher than my chilopsis ever did). My plan (3rd or 4th year with it) is to annual bob it to about 10 foot. I hate to do it, but I don't want a 40 foot tree there. It does flower in waves all summer.

    Redbud grows great in your area, dogwood will require some shelter from the sun and dry summer winds to do well. Might want to consider the texas redbud (cercis texensis, sometimes a subspecies of canadensis) as it gives you more heat and drought tolerance. I wasn't quite for sure which I had in Chelsea (planted before I got there), but due to the glossiness of the leaves, I would say it had texensis in it.

  • 5 years ago

    Jennifer, Jersey will turn 12 this Spring. Jet was almost 2 years older than her, so they had been together a long time and bonded more and more closely over the years as the older dogs passed away. Now Jersey is the old dog with two 4-year-old siblings and I think they are a bit more rowdy than she likes. Of course, she was that rowdy too when she was 4 years old. Part of her hibernating upstairs probably is just to get some peace and quiet.

    Hopefully the other chickens will become kinder to Sweetie Pie. Sometimes a flock takes a while to warm up to new girls.

    We have a set of 7 battery-operated flameless candles and I like them a lot. They do have a remote. Could it get any easier to add nice atmosphere to a room?

    dbarron, I find the varieties offered by Select Seed simply irresistible.

    I hope that you enjoyed seeing the green, and I hope the bulbs aren't up too early for whatever weather is yet to come. Y'all haven't been much colder than us then, and I think we all surely must have more cold weather coming.

    Even though ice, freezing rain and snow are in my forecast for now through Friday morning, we are only barely going below freezing, so any impact it has will be short-lived. This isn't much of a winter so far, but I'm not complaining about that because too much cold keeps me indoors longer than I can bear.

    Ninety days still is too long. I hope Spring comes somewhat early.

    Nancy, I don't do that as often as I used to. These days I am more inclined to start an order, finish it and be done with it. I don't have time (or the brain cells) to come back and remember what orders I have started with various online retailers. I was much worse about doing that back when we ordered on paper though.....started an order in every catalog and then never got around to finishing up all of them.

    The weather here is dismal today. We have stayed below freezing all day and have had a little freezing drizzle. Much more precipitation is expected through Friday morning, though I won't be offended if it misses us. I just got a GroupMe msg a few minutes ago that indicates the NWS currently is planning to put us under a Winter Storm Warning for tomorrow, which I guess means that all of the yucky stuff isn't going to miss us. Most of this morning's freezing rain was moving from SW to NE and hit part of the DFW metro area but missed us although it hit part of the county to our east and even more of the next county east of that. I was hoping the rest of it would do the same thing.

    I am so ready just to see some sunshine again. Gray cloudy days make me crazy.

    Well, I'm out of time and haven't caught up much at all. I'll be back later to catch up on the rest of what has been posted.


    Dawn

  • 5 years ago

    Although it's yucky here today (30 and raining off and on--brrr), and yes, gray and cloudy, I note our 5-day forecast is looking pretty decent. Overall, much warmer than last year at this time.


    Hi Carrie! Welcome; you came to the right place. I have learned so much from these guys! In my opinion, you don't even need to read any other sites! Most of the people are very knowledgeable, and Dawn knows more than anybody could be expected to know, and is so helpful. Amy's paragraph to you, good stuff. Yes, Bermuda's the devil. One of the biggest surprises to me is how many plants that are supposedly full-sun plants do well in 3 hours of sun. Not all, but many.


    This will be my 5th year in Oklahoma. I can't believe it. Floods in the springs of 15, 16, 17. Last year total drought Jan-April into May, right? And then the miserable heat indexes in August (I think ours topped out at 116.) Might be different for you, coming from similar weather, but for me the most enormous difference for gardening here is the sheer number of pests and diseases. The weather alone makes gardening a challenge, and then adding in all the pests makes it a challenge.

    I hope you're feeling better and better, Amy.--and Ron, too. I like your resolution about trying to do the garden so you can take care of it. Good luck!


    We've had colds, but baby colds. I think they're gone now. Great grandbabies up to visit today with daughter in Pryor, and their dad has a cold. I hope the ggrandbabes didn't bring germs. Cute cute 6 and 4 yr olds. We had FUN.


    I can't think of too many resolutions. Guess the main one would be "DO NOT grow too much stuff."


    And I'm sorry you've been sick, too, Megan! You were down quite long enough as it was.


    I am most interested and anxious to see what I'll have with re-seeding plants. I figure I'll never have to buy another basil seed in life, for example. Or any other herb, for that matter. Or verbena bonariensis, echinacea, nicotiana, bee balm, shasta daisies, gaillardia, hollyhock zebrinas, and so on. I'm not even sure what room I'll have for anything this year. It will be a kind of wait and see year.




  • 5 years ago

    Woo hoo! The NWS has issued the Winter Storm Warning and our county is not in it! They raised our high temp to slightly above freezing and still show us getting 2-4" of snow, but ice shouldn't be a big part of the equation. The Winter Storm Warning includes the county due west of us and the county due north of us, so I know that any change in the forecast could affect us negatively but we aren't going to worry about that until it happens. Now, to work on catching up some more.

    Carrie, Welcome to Oklahoma. We have a very long growing season here, but it helps to think of it in terms of mini-seasons. We can start planting cool-season crops as early as February and warm-season crops in most parts of the state in late March or early April. A few heat-loving type crops may not go into the ground until May or June. The bad heat (the kind that shuts down tomato fruitset) generally arrives in May or June depending on where you are in the state, but sometimes not until early July. Both July and August can be tough if we have drought and little rain falling, but we can plant more cool-season and warm-season crops for fall in July through September. So, for most of us, we can have plants in the ground from February through the first frost or freeze in Oct, Nov or Dec. November is probably the most likely time for the garden to freeze. With the use of a little protection, like heavyweight floating row covers you can grow almost year-round here, and in a good winter, you can keep kale and spinach, and sometimes other things, going with no row covers.

    Raised beds are important because sometimes we get a lot of rain---think 5-12+" of rain in one day (the one day record rainfall total at our house is 12.87" and our second wettest day was about 12.5") and crops can drown if they aren't in either raised beds or incredibly well-draining soil.

    We have some Oklahoma Facebook groups some of us belong to that you might find helpful as well.

    Amy, I am sorry about the disconnect between you and Ron. What works for me is banning Tim from the garden with any power equipment. Ever since he cut down one of my two Pink Lemonade Honeysuckles accidentally about 12 years ago, I don't want him operating anything in the garden that has the potential to kill plants or accidentally remove them. My slaughtered honeysuckle regrew from the roots, but has stayed roughly 1/4 the size of the other one that never was sawed off at the ground. I should just replace it with a new one because it never is going to get any better.

    Megan, This flu is the worst and it seems like so many people are getting pneumonia as a complication. I'm hoping all of us can stay healthy the rest of the winter because planting time is just around the corner and we all have too much to do to get sick.

    I remember when our son and nieces and nephews were young and brought to us every cold and flu virus in existence. Then we had the great middle years after they grew up and no young children were bringing us fresh germs. Those were really great years. Now we have grandchildren and grandnieces and grandnephews and we're back to being slammed by all the germs they carry. I guess everything really does go in cycles. : ) You'd think that by the time you're in your late 50s or early 60s you've been exposed to everything that exists and have some immunity but since viruses mutate, that's not really true. I am starting to understand why Fred, who I think is 96 now but maybe he just turned 97, tells me every Spring "Well, we made it through another winter" and he isn't kidding. We can laugh and joke about it, but we all know people who get complications of cold and flu that don't make it through another winter too.

    Okay I am not caught up yet but weather hell is breaking out and I need to go pay attention. Back later.


    Dawn


  • 5 years ago

    Okay, I'm going to really and truly catch up this time.

    Bruce, Huglekultur beds are so awesome. Mine mostly are either in containers or in the ground because if I use them above ground as mounds in the traditional way, they turn into homes for voles and snakes. If there is anything that ruins gardening for me, it is voles and snakes. I think if we didn't have so many copperheads and timber rattlers, I could cope with ordinary run of the mill non-venomous snakes, but that it irrelevant since we do have so many venomous ones.

    You have an ambitious list of things to do between now and planting time, considering you need for the soil to dry out. Sometimes I wonder if it ever will dry out again.

    I don't think you did tell us about your daughter, the turkey and Providence Farm, so if you have time, please tell us. Or, if you told us already and I missed it, I apologize, but in that case please tell us about what happened with your mini-me.

    dbarron, I agree that desert willow needs good drainage, but I kept it alive here in red clay that did not drain very well for 15 years. We lost it after we had about 78" of rain in 2015 (our annual average is 38 or 39"). If I ever plant a replacement desert willow, and I hope to do so, I'll plant it in an area with better drainage. I did try planting one out back on the edge of the fenced back garden, but the voles ate its roots. I love desert willow but am having a hard time keeping one here for reasons that are not the fault of the tree.

    Nancy, Our weather looks great too after we get through the next 36-48 hours of rain, freezing rain, drizzle, sleet and snow. Did I leave out anything? I think we will have at least 5 days with highs near 60 or in the 60s--Saturday has been dropped from 63 to 58 so I hope those 60s are not slipping away before they even get here. I'll just be happy if the sun shines.

    I'm glad y'all had so much fun and hope the kids didn't bring any germs with them--it certainly is that time of the year for sure.

    Reseeding plants are fascinating. I have to work really hard to make any of them go away. Sometimes they might skip a year (likely because my thick, deep mulch either killed baby plants that were trying to sprout or buried seeds so deeply they cannot germinate), but they generally come back the next year somehow, probably because some deeply buried seed was dug up while I was planting something.

    This spring will be our 21st spring garden here, and I'm only counting gardens we've had since moving here. I'm not even counting the one I planted 18 months before we moved here. It was just a little test run.....

    So, when we ran to the feed store yesterday to buy extra deer corn and bird seed for all the wildlife, I got Tim to drop me off at Wal-mart. I wanted to see how much Christmas clearance merchandise was left and I wanted to see if it was interfering in the store stocking seed-starting supplies. The answers are: (a) they have tons and tons of unsold Christmas merchandise left, even though some of it is marked down to 75% off, and (b) although there were 4 aisles of bare shelves, none of the piles of boxes that I just know contain gardening supplies had been opened and the shelves had not been stocked. Since those piles and piles of boxes were sitting in the outdoor gardening center, I think they are gardening supplies. We'll know soon enough. I think the garden center staff was moving out Christmas merchandise to consolidate it somewhere else while I was there because they were putting it in shopping carts. The strangest thing, though? The Bonnie Plants truck was sitting there just outside the outdoor garden center and the driver looked as confused as I was. I assume that at the very least he had potatoes, onions, etc. but he wouldn't unload his truck so I have no idea if I am assuming correctly. There have been some years that the Gainesville Wal-Mart to our south has received their tomato and pepper seedlings the first week in January, so I think it is not out of the question to imagine that the BP truck might have had some of those. I'll add that in most of those years, the store personnel did not move the plants indoors and it snowed, just like it is supposed to snow here for the next couple of days, and the tomato plants all froze. So, I'm hoping that if he had early plants, then maybe those four aisles with empty shelves were being held open for them. I'd love to know, but since it is icy here and wrecks are ongoing, I bet we won't be going to Gainesville any time soon so I'll just have to wait to find out. I suppose the BP truck could have had potted topical plants on it. I just thought of that. Oh well, this coming weekend surely I'll be in Wal-mart for one reason or another and I can figure it out then.

    When the ice hit here a little while ago, our phones and pagers went completely nuts. We have a GroupMe group app on out phones whose membership is open to anyone in our county who works in Emergency Mgmt, law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighting. It is great for getting info to/from everyone really quickly. We have 14 fire departments here and tons of members, so when someone asks a question on the GroupMe page, potentially everyone can respond. Our EM Director asked for reports on what sort of precipitation was falling and where in the county it was falling, and I think everyone in the country wrote back---all at the same time, so my phone was exploding with messages. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was such an overload of info. Then we started having wrecks and pagers started going off, dinner was interrupted and basically ruined, etc. Tim is out now on another wreck on the interstate but he was home long enough to wolf down his dinner in between emergency calls. It is going to be a long two days and nights if this keeps up, but at least we have power and are nice and warm. Well, I'm nice and warm, and I assume he is less warm but hopefully he won't be out there all night long.

    The little indoor garden of potted plants is keeping my gardening spirit alive even though it is gray, gloomy and cold outside. The double white amaryllis' very last bloom is shriveling and fading. The red amaryllis has four huge, lovely blooms on one stalk and the other stem still is only about 6" tall and not budding enough yet to indicate that blooming in imminent. The pink amaryllis is still quite a ways from blooming. The Christmas cactus blooms mostly are fading now, but it has been spectacular for a couple of weeks now.

    I keep trying to work on my overall grow list but not making much progress. Too many distractions. Maybe tomorrow. The cats are cranky because I made them stay indoors today. The dogs are cranky because I made them go outdoors occasionally to answer the call of nature. The dogs do not like having cold, wet feet.

    The Park Seed catalog was in the mailbox today, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet.

    I'm so ready for Spring to arrive, and not just for gardening reasons. I hate the way that it is dark in winter by 5:30 p.m.

    We are not expecting enough freezing rain to bring down trees or power lines, which is a good thing, but Chris was worrying about it happening anyway since he has tropical birds that cannot tolerate the house getting too cold. His neighborhood has a lot of fairly tall trees that might come down if too much freezing rain coats them. I told him he could pack up the birds and people and they all could come stay here the next couple of days since we have a generator that would keep the heat on, but he ultimately decided to stay home and hope he was guessing correctly that the power would stay on. His area might get twice as much snow as ours, but we noticed a lot of the words 'freezing rain' had dropped out of the forecast and mostly have been replaced by 'snow and sleet'. By the time he and I had worn out discussing the topic (I was watching the local weather on the evening news while we were discussing it) and he had made a decision to stay home one county away, we were starting to have wrecks on the interstates here, so it probably was too late for him to decide to come down here anyway as there are six overpasses between his house and ours and they clearly were icing over. I guess if they lose power at their house tonight or tomorrow, Tim and I will try to load the generator into our truck and somehow get it up there to them. I don't think I'll be much help lifting it, but I'll do my best. Maybe we could winch it up the little ramps we use to load the riding mower in the back of the pick-up.

    I have watched the weather models until I cannot look at them any more. It is crazy how little they have agreed on this approaching storm. I guess since the precipitation is already falling here and there, it isn't approaching any more. For a lot of us, it is here, or at least the first and second wave of it have come through.

    Is it Spring yet? I'm running out of patience with Winter.


    Dawn

  • 5 years ago

    Nope, not spring. It's definitely ice here. . . I almost broke my neck chasing Tiny on the deck. He would have been in SO much trouble if I had done that. Bad kitty. But I caught him. But Dawn, you must admit, the days are getting longer! This is good. It'll be spring before you know it. (Not.) I don't like January and part of February here very much. But I don't like mid-November through mid April up north very much. So this is a walk in the park, so to speak. That's what I keep telling myself.


    I had a bad time last night--awake at 2 and that was the end of it for me until 6:30. I came out to the couch so my tossing and turning wouldn't bother Garry, and then the cats went nuts. Now I know what they sleep all day--cuz they have circuses every night. I was so disgusted by them, but knew if I went back to the bedroom, they'd just follow me in there. Garry thanked me this morning for allowing him to get a nice long night of sleep--no cats in there to wake him up. They were TERRIBLE. Especially Tiny. What a major PITA!!


    I must say, Dawn, I have no idea what to expect with the re-seeding. My guess would be that there is no way to predict, precisely because of mulch situations. Your discussion above kind of confirms that for me. Thanks.


    Anyone grow ginseng? I planted some last month. I certainly hope it'll show up. Is it easy here? The parsley and cilantro are taking a hit with this latest chilly weather. Remains to be seen if they'll make it. I'm not inclined to throw frost blankets over them, however. Two of the rosemary outdoors look good; those must be the Arps. One not so good. But the Tuscany one in art room with fluorescent lights not only looks great, but smells great. I like brushing up against it. I still haven't winter-sown a thing, but will have something started before Sunday.

  • 5 years ago
    This weather! I’ll lament my evening commute, but first the turkey vs my little turkey story...

    We went to Providence Farm the weekend before Thanksgiving to pick up apple butter and cider. As we pulled up, little one spied a chicken that ran in front of the car. I’m not the only one who wishes we could have chickens! She bolted out of the car and began chasing chickens, which I had fully expected to peck her. I was in line to pay for my fruit and a group had gathered behind me, packed in tight because it was cold and the small campfire offering some warmth was producing more smoke than heat. So we’e packed like sardines. From way in the back I hear, “Hey Mom! Look what I caught!” I can’t see what’s happening but the hubs hollers, “Put that down” and the whole group chuckles. I find out that she’s bear hugging a turkey as big as her torso!!! She caught a chicken or duck a few minutes later, and continued chasing them around the hoop house where they where hoping for some warmth, not the poultry haunted house they got. Now, if you know my girl you know that she is terrified at the idea of me leaving her, so “I’m leaving” usually gets her hopping. I said I’m leaving and got in the car. Hubs even put it in gear when she didn’t come. Finally, I had to go in the hoop house and use my crazy mom voice with the mean contorted face to get her in the car. She sobbed but not because I’d upset her, she wanted to load all the turkeys in the car and hide them in our backyard to keep them from being butchered. We lied and told her that they weren’t going to be butchered, but come to find out they weren’t! She (and I) was super relieved when the farm owner posted a video to Facebook of all the turkeys safe and sound.

    So the weather - a pouring mix of rain and sleet hit the Capitol Complex about 4:40. I hit the door running at 5 because reports were that the roads were already getting bad. I have a view of I-235 and the off ramp to get to the Capitol from my office and it was lit up like a Christmas tree in red. I tried all my backup routes and they were nightmares. What is normally a 35-40 minute commute took 1:05! At least 25 of those minutes were spent covering less than a quarter mile. I saw more first responders than I could count. There were so many accidents that every traffic report on the radio didn’t mention one more than once. Then, I’m almost home and am see an actual car fire on the highway over the road I was on. On the other hand, my husband made it in only slightly longer than usual. Of course while I was sitting at a standstill, he was still at work. I was texting him the location of where the bad accidents where on his route according to the traffic report, so he knew exactly what to avoid when he left work. If we get what’s expected tonight, I’ll play hooky tmrw. Kiddo is supposed to go to my god daughters house across town since they’re still on Christmas break but with all the accidents, I don’t want her in the car with anyone, myself or her dad included. It must be getting worse because TV signal is getting bad. I could practically throw a rock and hit the local stations towers but some never come in well and the signal is getting worse.

    Stay safe and warm everyone!
  • 5 years ago

    Megan, glad you made it home safe! We were watching the car fire and accidents on TV. We were back from the dentist appt by 2 and Tom made it home by 3:45, so we missed the bad stuff.


    Nancy, I've had a few nights like that with the cats. Had to move to the living room because of tossing/turning and the cats go nuts! Makes me so mad. However, I couldn't sleep last night and moved to the living room and they were lovely...all cuddly.


    My friend's son was sitting in the house looking out at their deck. A squirrel was running along the deck railing when suddenly a hawk flew down and grabbed it! Terrifying. I know some of you wish you had a squirrel eating hawk in your neighborhood.


    I'm not ready for spring. I need some contemplative winter weather still. Last year, I had the new year plan and was excited for the new year. 2019 has already been difficult as far as feelings go...and planning. I have an overwhelming sad feeling this year. I need a couple of weeks to get it together.


    I had a dream about this forum and y'all,..and was going to remember it all. There was something that one of you were talking about and it was funny--but now I can't remember. The only thing I remember was Dawn talking about each of her dogs. The dream was weird because I was reading it all. If that makes sense.


    Wondering if I'm going to work tomorrow...

  • 5 years ago

    Always love seeing your posts, HJ.


  • 5 years ago

    Ugh. Our power is out. For some reason our internet is still working though. I don't know . I don't understand these things. It's already getting pretty cold in the house. We stupidly still do not have a generator.


    Maybe I'll pile on some blankets and take a nap. :)


    How's everyone else doing?

  • 5 years ago

    Nancy, Yes, the days are getting longer, but at a miserably slow pace. I really don't notice much difference in daylength until closer to the end of January when it begins to become more noticeable.

    Tim loves the shorter winters too since he grew up in Pennsylvania with tons of cold weather and snow and short, mild summers. He loves the heat here, although the older we get, the less he likes the more extreme heat. With all our crazy weather, I'd still rather be here than anyplace else.

    Cats are nocturnal by nature and ours play all night too, albeit not in our room. I used to let Tiny Baby and Pumpkin sleep with us, but they like to play-fight too much and sleep too little so they got kicked out of the bedroom permanently. I am sorry you had such a poor night of sleep and hope you either got better sleep last night or can nap today. I think this might be a good day for a nap with all the gloomy weather.

    Megan, Commuting is not easy. Tim has been commuting about 180 miles round-trip for the last 20 years, but he feels it is worth it to be able to get out of the over-built, concrete jungle that is the D-FW metro and escape to our quiet rural neighborhood. We looked all over north TX in the late 1990s before we bought land here, but everywhere that we looked seemed to us to be too close to the metro area and too likely to become more of the concrete jungle in our lifetime. We were not wrong about that. Some towns that were tiny, quiet country towns back then are now experiencing explosive growth and they are paving over all the woodland and pastures.

    One of the other things that amazed me when we moved up here is how very many people live up here and commute to the Dallas-Denton-Fort Worth area daily to work. It looks like a big mass exodus here early in the mornings. Tim's dream is a commuter train from here to there, but it isn't going to happen in our lifetime, or at least not in his working years. The commuter trains have made it as far as Denton though.

    I love the turkey story. Your daughter has such a sweet, sweet heart. I was laughing at the image of you fetching her. Haven't we all been there/done that with our kids in some shape, form or fashion (not necessarily involving saving turkeys though). It is too bad y'all do not live in an area where you could have poultry. Our granddaughters simply adore all poultry---chickens, turkeys, guineas, etc. For them, a trip to TSC or Atwoods when the chicks are for sale is the equivalent of a trip to an amusement park. They never want to leave the store. Even though I have no desire to buy more chicks and raise them (wildlife predation here is a huge problem), I know that we will because the 4 year old, in particular, adores chickens.

    I'm glad you made it home from work safely on those roadways. We heard there were lots of wrecks up there, and I doubt it is any better there this morning. It was only bad here in late afternoon and in the evening. Tim was home from working wrecks for good by probably 9 p.m. or so, and our temperatures were, oddly, warming up at bedtime...having gone from 30 to 31 to 32 over just a couple of hours. We awakened at 3 a.m. to the sound of rain pounding the roof, so I looked at the indoor-outdoor thermometer and it showed 34 degrees. Tim had to get up and go to work after all because we had no freezing rain or drizzle, no sleet, no snow, etc. It is 35 degrees here now, but he said by the time he was 10-12 miles from home headed south on the interstate, his car was showing 37 degrees. He left a little earlier than usual but had absolutely not trouble getting to work. He said he'd leave early if I let him know when the bad stuff starts falling here, but I am beginning to think the bad stuff may miss us. The Marietta schools aren't due back to school until next Monday so they didn't have to cancel classes, but the other school districts in our county went back to school this week and cancelled classes last night because of the forecast for today. What a waste of a snow day these cancellations seem to be! (I'm sure the kids are thrilled to miss a day of class though.)

    Jennifer, Sometimes cats can be snuggly and cute, or at least until they wake up and want to play at 3 a.m. or whatever.

    We have had hawks snatch chickens right in front of us (or at least try to, because obviously we run at them and either chase them off or grab the chicken back before they can gain altitude.) Tim once snatched a guinea out of the talons of a red-tailed hawk and that hawk was not happy. The guinea was almost as large as the hawk. It lost a few feathers but otherwise was okay. It is more common to see a hawk grab a squirrel, a rabbit or a snake. My cousin's cat was picked up by a red-tailed hawk in the late 1980s, but the cat was too heavy and the hawk (thankfully) dropped it. The cat was a little scratched up but otherwise unharmed.

    You remember your dreams so well. I hardly ever remember mine, and when they I do, they seem so strange.

    Do you think your overwhelming sad feeling relates to this being Ethan's last year of high school? Because, you know, that would be perfectly understandable.

    So, I do not know who is getting snow or sleet or rain and who is not, but for us, this seems to be, at least so far, just another way that God is watering our mud. He must have been afraid that our mud here would dry up sometime before the end of January and clearly wants to ensure it will not.

    I put on the winter outerwear and chore boots and stomped around, going through huge lake-sized puddles and mud putting out deer corn (they were impatiently waiting for me) and bird seed (also waiting rather impatiently but at least singing in the rain when they saw the food coming out). I left the chickens in the coop again because sometimes they do not have the good sense to come in out of the rain. My brother lost several chickens to hypothermia one July when it rained hard and cooled off quite a bit and the chickens wouldn't go in their coop, so I'm very careful about letting ours be out in really cold rain. Also, after a couple of cold, wet nights, the coyotes get rather bold and come out in broad daylight into the yard to try to get a chicken meal, so I'd rather know the chickens are locked up securely on a day like that.

    Stay safe, warm and dry everyone, and send some of that snow our way. Y'all know how much I love snow, and we almost never get it down here. Rain or freezing drizzle or sleet are just not a substitute for beautiful white snow.


    Dawn

  • 5 years ago

    I decided to take a PTO day today rather than go thru what I went through last night... that and my daughter was supposed to go to my god daughters' house which is across town but with all the craziness last night, I worried to much about her being in the car that far. My mom just called from work - she works at a grocery store around the corner - and it's so slow she's being sent home 3 hours early. It was slushing when i got up this morning. Yes - that's a new thing I guess. There was rain and sleet coming down together and hard and slush was over everything, even the grass. The dog hates to get his paws wet (who else said their dogs were like that) and I had to walk him. He was very unhappy and wouldn't set a paw in the grass, so he did his business in the middle of someone's driveway. Yes, I picked it up. We've seen slush, sleet, freezing rain and some big fat snowflakes that looked more like snowballs! Even the meteorologists are admitting they don't know what is going to happen from one minute to the next and doing their best.


    I posted my tomato grow list on the other thread but have some questions about other items.

    Lettuce - Favorite leaf variety? Favorite butter crunch variety?

    Spinach - Slower to bolt varieties? I tried Indian Summer a couple years ago and I thought it was a little tough.

    Poblano Peppers - My family LOVES these as much as bells so I need to start growing them. Need recommendations on varieties, please. And any tips on growing them here.

    Okra - I've just always stuck with Clemson spineless, but I know many of you like other varieties. I don't have any issues with Clemson production wise but it would be nice to have something that doesn't get tough as quickly. I definitely don't have room for one that is branchier than Clemson though.

    Pumpkins on a Stick - thought these would be fun to grow as an ornamental. Experience/advice?

  • 5 years ago

    Good Afternoon All~

    One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more active with my Garden Web friends. I'm about 30 miles straight north of OKC in Logan County. A tiny town of barely 1,500 called Crescent. We live out in the country on a 160 acre wheat farm that my brother farms.

    Two years before I retired, we filled in our 18x36 in ground swimming pool we'd had for over 30 years. The children had grown up and away and we were just tired of dealing with it. One condition I had was I didn't want a boring grass backyard. So while the dirt was settling, I was killing and digging out the Bermuda grass. I planted four apricot trees against the east (facing the west) fence and I'm espalaring them. It's just fun. I love to prune! And then, where the diving end of the pool and 10' deep, I planted in a close pattern, three varieties of cherry trees that I'm pruning to grown as one tree. The hope is that they will produce at different times, thus having a longer harvest. Then we added thornless blackberry bushes and over 100 strawberry plants. I'm replanting my strawberry bed this spring and I'm kinda stumped on how to lay them out so I can have small paths in the planting to walk on to harvest. My bed is in a deep V pattern. I'm thinking I will run the paths on the long line (east to west), Thinking that would be the easiest way to rejuvenate the bed after two years. What do you all think??

    Dawn, I'm wanting to can some sweet pickles this summer. Would you recommend a variety? I've never grown cucumbers to pickle. How is the best way to grown them? Trellised or in a row? And how many plants do I need to have enough at a time to pickle?

    Same thing with beets. Larry loves pickled beets and I thought I'd try some for him. Variety??

    Technically, I do not like vegetables. Fruit, yes. But Larry grew up on vegetables and he's never met one he didn't like. I have grown to like asparagus. I planted my bed when the children were little - probably over 30 years old and it is still going. Unfortunately, it is the old variety and I have several plants that produce berries that the birds love to plant all over my yard. I've been planting the volunteer plants in another row, thus doubling my bed. Plus I've gifted several members of my Master Gardener club and they are thrilled!

    Like you Dawn, I like my Crowder Peas and most of my beds are filled with them. Okra and a few bell peppers and the long yellow sweet peppers for DH along with his token 4-5 tomato plants. I am working on an orchard on the other side of my red cedar tree wind break. Last fall I measured out a plot in between trees and laid down cardboard, a layer of old cypress mulch, and finished it with a thick layer of grass clippings. I've been watering it when it's warm enough to drag the hose out there and the critters have helped "turn" it this winter.. I'm ordering some sand plums and another variety of plum - can't remember it's name- from the Forestry Division. I want to establish my own plum thicket that I can monitor and harvest without having to tromp thru the pastures. I hate snakes and we have a lot of velvet tail or timber rattlers here.

    My goal/dream is to establish plants that will outlive me and if any of my grandchildren end up living here, that will be my legacy to them. Oliver Henry, grandson #3, stood on my front porch as they were leaving and told me "You don't know how many times I dream about this view. It's so pretty." He's 13 and lives in Des Moines Iowa now, His entire family lived with us for 18 months after their home was destroyed by a fire. We went from a 2 people to 10 - and with their replacement furniture! Anyway, I told him that one day he might live in this house and that I'd try to keep it up in good shape and plant him some more peach trees! We made a pinky swear!!

    Gotta go but I'll be back soon.

    Patti


  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Seeing the mention of okra, I recently received okra seed that originated in Africa (very different behavior and appearance) by way of Central America. I'm looking forward to starting it a little early and seeing how it does in pots in my front yard. The ex-patriot US person that sent it swears it tastes better than any other strain he ever grew. Of course the bad part is it starts to bear a little later (in his experience) than other strains...so not sure how long the harvest window will be up in the subtropics (vs the tropics where he lives). If it proves out, I'll be sure to save seed (hopefully enough to share).

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Megan, someone brought a poblano to SF. Possibly Nancy? It was super productive--just the one plant. Check with her on variety.

    Patty, that is SO interesting--what you're doing with trees and pruning. I am a disaster with trees and pruning. It's a goal to study up on these things.

    I would also like to try a new okra variety...and circled one in the SESE catalog. Can't remember the name right now. Something Zeebest???

    I'm afraid we all wasted a day off of work. It never got below freezing, I'm pretty sure because everything is slushy. It's a mess. The chickens don't seem too bothered by it. They were allowed to go to the pen and yard. I kept Sweetie Pie in her coop. I'll try mingling her with the others again next week when it's less messy and gross.

    Chicken keepers, what do y'all do for the floor of your chicken pen? Not the coop and not the yard...the enclosed pen with a roof. Do you just leave it as a dirt floor? Or do you put straw on it? It's so muddy even with the roof. We have a seam in the roof that leaks a little.

    Dawn, I think there's probably several reasons why I feel so out-of-sorts...Ethan being a senior is only one. There's several things that is going on with my family. My daughter is starting a new job (a really cool job btw) but her last one ended poorly and it's very sad. Won't go into the details. My sister's family has some "stuff". My work has some stuff. Some people I work with has some stuff. I am a sponge and absorb it all. Also, after my mother-in-law died almost three years ago, Tom's sister and family have visited the week after Christmas. We didn't get to see them. So...that is a change. Also, his bio sister and niece visited during the time where we, as an immediate family, do certain things...traditions. That all threw me off, even though the visit was lovely. The time just felt very different. (I realize things will be different as my kids continue to grow and have significant others etc.) AND, oddly enough, I haven't had much time alone during this winter break. Tom has been off work a LOT...this is good, but for me to get calm and focused for the New Year (winter really is a time of recharging for me), it has been active and loud. He is a loud person--not screaming and hollering...just his energy is loud. At times this is a great thing...a wonderful thing. I've come to expect a few quiet days to clear and calm my mind and own energy. Ethan's energy is not loud, so it's not disruptive in the same way. Normally a week of quiet days alone get me focused well. I'm really not complaining...just explaining. I will figure it out. It might take a month of quiet Mondays to get there. And I would never say any of that to Tom because it would be rude and unkind and he's not doing anything wrong anyway. If that makes sense.

    Alright. I'm going to make a healthy supper now. I've finally gotten over the stubbornness about buying vegetables at the grocery store. We'll have some veggies in March hopefully--some greens and such! Can't wait.

  • 5 years ago

    Jennifer/Megan. . . I got Poblano Ancho pepper seeds from Sustainable seeds. To be honest, I was disappointed that the walls weren't thicker and that the peppers also weren't as big as I'd hoped. But it WAS super productive. Could have been my growing conditions. I may try something different this year. This one from High Country Mowing talks about it being medium thick walled and 4-6" long. But they're in Vermont. https://www.highmowingseeds.com/organic-non-gmo-ancho-poblano-hot-pepper-a.html 


    Dawn or Jack or George or everyone else, do you have a particular poblano you're fond of? In terms of growing, last year, they all got too big too fast (like the tomatoes), and some of you'll remember I topped them off. I am a believer now and will undoubtedly continue doing it. https://www.houzz.com/discussions/topped-and-not-topped-thai-peppers-dsvw-vd~3212161 


    I had the same experience with the tomatoes so topped them off, too. Said I'd let you know how that worked. Well, it worked great. However, this was only my second real year of growing tomatoes. When I looked at photos of the tomatoes some of the rest of you grew, mine looked about the same as yours. Having said that, I wouldn't be at all afraid to do it again this year. And as Dawn pointed out, one could root the cut-off tops, too. Twice the tomatoes. :)


    I will plan to plant the tomatoes very deeply from here on out. I feel certain that made for stronger and more prolific tomatoes.


    I also loved your goal/dream, Patti. That is amazing, and love your fruit trees! I wish we didn't have so very many trees, it would be fun to have a few of them.


    Jennifer, it never got below freezing here, either, and it is still raining. We've had an inch so far today. But I think toward Wagoner they must have gotten significantly more, as there is LOTS of water out there. GDW and I ran into the store later this afternoon. And no, Walmart hasn't stocked any plants or gardening things yet.


    I loved the turkey story, too, and I'm so glad the turkeys were spared! :)


    Oh sleepy, I feel a brief nap coming on. . .





  • 5 years ago

    It has rained lightly but relentlessly all day long. No snow. No sleet. No ice. Just endless puddles and mud. I am not a happy camper. This likely was our best chance of getting snow this winter and it is dead and gone.

    Megan, Our dogs hate to get their paws wet. They act like it will kill them.

    I hope your day at home was relaxing and fun.

    Hmm. Favorite lettuce varieties: Leaf--Black Seeded Simpson or Red Sails. Both have good heat tolerance. Buttercrunch--Red-eared Butterheart. You didn't ask about Crisphead types, but I'll mention them anyway. With Crisphead types you can harvest young like leaf lettuce, or let them mature fully and harvest them as dense, heavy heads somewhat similar to Iceberg types. They have the best heat tolerance of any lettuce I've ever grown. The ones we like are Cardinal, Nevada or Cherokee.

    Spinach--good old reliable Bloomsdale Longstanding

    Poblano Peppers--Mosquetero. These are heavy producers of large poblano peppers, but like all poblanos they are pretty late in the season. Give them lots of space as the plants will get huge. I usually plant them 4' apart, and I cage them with those cheap 3-ring tomato cages while they are small because once they are heavily loaded with fruit, they have a hard time standing upright and lean over until they fall over or snap in half. I learned that the hard way the first time I grew them.

    Okra--Pretty much any okra variety you grow will be less likely to get woody than Clemson Spineless, so there's that. Lee, Jambalaya and Dwarf Long Green Pod all likely would meet your needs. Lee is particularly early to produce.

    I haven't grown pumpkin on a stick so cannot comment on it.

    Patti, It is so good to see you here. Along with Moni and Lisa, I think I've known you here at GW longer than I've known anyone else. Your fruit garden sounds awesome. I run the paths in my front garden east-west and in the back garden (due to the lay of the land and its slope), I run them south to north, and cannot tell it makes a difference whatsoever, so do what pleases you.

    For pickles, I prefer County Fair. It is the only cucumber I know of that has true resistance to bacterial wilt and is tolerant of many other diseases as well. It bears heavily and early. Another variety that is almost as good is H-19 Little Leaf (smaller leaves get fewer foliar diseases) and I had good luck with Sumter the two years that I grew it. I trellis my cukes and I usually plant about a 30' row, but I like to make a lot of pickles. When County Fair cranks up to full production in good summer weather, I have to pick every other day and generally make pickles every day that I harvest since their quality is best if you immediately pickle them. Often, I pick twice a day---once in the morning and then again in late afternoon or early evening and then I make pickles after the second picking of the day. (You can, however, hold some in the fridge while waiting for enough for a canning batch, if you choose.)

    Beets can be tricky as they can be slow to sprout in cool soils so be prepared to wait for them to get with it and germinate. There are many great varieties. I like Detroit Dark Red (a really old heirloom variety that I believe dates back to the 1800s), Chioggia and Burpee Golden.

    We have those velvet tail rattlers here too and they are the bane of my existence. They have a snake highway through our neighbor's woodland and pasture that comes onto our property right by my garden gate, and I constantly encounter them at the garden gate, We usually get in a standoff there, neither one of us willing to back away and let the other one go into the garden. A lot of rattlesnakes have died there right outside the garden gate and I'm not going to apologize for that. Having a garden with woodland basically on three sides of it means I'm always going to have those darn snakes.

    I loved hearing about Oliver Henry. I bet it is hard having them live so far away now.

    dbarron, I believe I've heard about that African okra. Maybe it was George (MacMex) talking about it either here last year, or on his homestead.edu site, or maybe in our FB group. I'm pretty sure he is the one that was growing it.

    George, by the way y'all, has two new baby goats and the video he posted on FB was the cutest thing. How's the birth of twin goats for a great way to start the New Year? I actually think they were born New Year's Eve. Shouldn't that be good luck or something for the new year?

    Jennifer, Stewart's Zeebest is an awesome okra. It branches heavily and produces like mad. It is a selection that George and Mary Stewart made out of Louisiana Green Velvet. They kept selecting for well-branched plants that produced heavily. Let me see if I can find and link its history. Okay, I found Patty Leander's article about Stewart's Zeebest okra (and it includes a nice photo of the Stewarts with some okra plants). Here it is:


    Stewart's Zeebest Okra

    The floor of our chicken run is dirt. I usually chop up a bunch of autumn leaves and toss them into the chicken run in late autumn or early winter, effectively hiding the dirt from the chickens. This thrills the chickens to pieces as it gives them something to scratch around and dig in so they can reach the dirt, and then dig and scratch in it searching for bugs or seeds. By Spring, they've really broken down the leaves, which is a good thing because I wouldn't want to walk in there in snake season knowing that the copperheads could blend in with the chopped/shredded leaves. The soil in there is sandy loam and the chickens love to burrow down into it and dust bathe on hot days. Being sandy, it drains well and doesn't tend to stay muddy too long. I have put down hay or straw in there for them occasionally in a big wet spell in warm weather when we don't have autumn leaves sitting around waiting to be collected and used. Their chicken run is in dappled shade but even in the summer, that sandy soil dries out pretty quickly. Perhaps the roots of the surrounding trees suck up the moisture out of the soil.

    No wonder you feel out of sorts. You haven't had your very important Me time to relax, think, reflect and recharge. I totally understand. I have plenty of Me time while Tim is gone to work all day, but I do wonder what I'll do about that when he retires and is home all the time.

    Yes, March veggies will be here before we know it, and I'm grateful for that.

    It still isn't snowing here and it isn't going to. Am I bitter about that? Yep. All we got was about an inch of yucky, wet, cold rain. We did not need the rain. We could have used that rain back in June, July or August though. Keep in mind we just came out of our rainiest autumn ever with record-setting rainfall and all we have here is mud, muck and puddles. Our puddles are the size of lakes. They are the kinds of puddles that set on top of heavily saturated clay soil for so long that they kill the grass....not that I care if they kill the bermuda grass. A few inches of snow at least would have hidden the ugly muddy ground for a couple of days. Aaaccck! I just got a GroupMe message from one of our deputies on my phone that says heavy snow is falling out at the west end of our county. Well, why isn't it falling over here in our part of the county? This is aggravating. The NW corner of the county got snow this morning all ready. I guess we live in the wrong part of the county. We must live in the sunny, warm part where snow is not allowed.


    Dawn


  • 5 years ago

    God bless you, Dawn, for your discussion above! Answered some of my questions that I forgot I had. Especially liked the poblano pepper recommendation!


  • 5 years ago

    Dawn, I got mine from a Glen in Panama. His story is it is descended from a feral strain in Panama called Giant Panamanian coffee okra, the local oral tradition is that it came from Ghana, but no one really knows. It apparently is very branchy/bushy and high yield though taking 4-5 months to reach blooming stages. Could be that Macmex also has the same stuff, or it could be different?

  • 5 years ago

    I went out at dusk and took my yardstick. We had a very generous 4” of snow and we’ve had more this evening.

  • 5 years ago


    We have real snow!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If anyone wants okra varieties, hit me up. I have a few Stewart Zeebest, Hill Country Red, Jing Orange, Red Burgundy, and a few others. Funny thing, I can't stand okra, but it makes a pretty plant. So I just grow it for the seeds.

    Megan, I'm a slug and haven't mailed your tomatillo seeds yet. I have to run by the post office tomorrow Sat though. Want some okra or pumpkin on a stick? Haven't grown those yet, tho they are on my list for this year.

    Because of the "horrible blizzard" today the state offices were closed. So I played in seeds and worked on my grow list. I've narrowed it down to three times as many tomatoes as I can fit. And we're just going to have to tear out the entire front yard for my gardens. I'm sure the neighbors won't mind, right?

  • 5 years ago

    Just so much rain here. I was out of the house by 7am for an appointment, and it was raining then, just the same as it was when I got home at 5:30. I’m just glad it isn’t the snow that OKC got. That’s just miserable to me.


    Nancy, I so understand about bratty cats. Audrey likes to check my level of wakefulness by patting my face with a claw, or sticking her tongue up my nose, or putting a paw in my mouth. With those, I’m certainly awake after that. I think it’s the cat version of ‘Hey mom, you awake? I need...’


    I ordered a combination case/stand for my iPad. Can’t wait for it to get here, maybe it will make it easier to type when lying in bed. This cold rain is not good for the joints. Been having to stretch a lot. But at least I might get the trellis built.



  • 5 years ago

    So, do I plow up the back yard and plant wall to wall lettuce (good grief, I have enough seeds for both the front and back), or I could cover the same footprint with flowers. I looked at my seed list tonight! Really, why did I buy that much lettuce? or flowers? Agastache and zinnias! Holy Toledo. How can I justify new seeds?

  • 5 years ago

    Oh, okra, I'm partial to green velvet. Doesn't get woody quick, not spikey, not as productive as others, but for two people, that's good. Also Stewart'Ss Zeebest, because it is huge and productive. Yes, Bloomsdale spinach. I keep trying others, but bloomsdale really is the best. Lettuce, Chadwick's Rodan, then Black seeded Simpson. I have a million others, but asked for favorites, those two. Beets, Crosby's Egyptian, because it was the only one that produced for me. Good night.

  • 5 years ago

    Jen - if you have the seeds and don't mind sharing, I would appreciate them. I think I'll try zeebest. Thank you!!!


    My drive to work is mostly city streets usually. I could get on the highway, but even on a good day it is a mess so I avoid it as I did this morning. City streets, with the exception of Lincoln (leads strait to the state Capitol), were a mess. Some ruts to drive in but those were mostly icy, you just didn't have to worry about the slush and snow pulling you in one direction or another. Lincoln was beautiful and completely plowed and salted - all lanes - where the state agencies begin. But temps hit 32/33 about 8 a.m. so they'll improve quickly and then refreeze tonight. Once I got to work, I discovered that we were on a delayed start so I had a few minutes to pop in and say hello, but it's work time now, so I'll touch base over the weekend.

  • 5 years ago

    Jen, I'll take some of the okra seed too if you have enough--the Stewart's Zeebest. If you don't have enough, I can order some. We don't grow tons of it. Back in the late spring you offered some seed (because I found out I didn't have any except one seed?! What in the world?!) but I had picked up a packet, but then couldn't find it. I grew that one seed. haha.


    We lost our power again last night around 9. It got a little chilly in the house. We often lose power out here. I sure would like a whole house generator. Have y'all heard of electric companies providing them...and you make small payments (probably for the rest of your life)?


    Megan, glad you made it to work. E has a dermatologist appointment so we will get out in it. I'll work tomorrow for a few hours. His BD is tomorrow, so we will go out for dinner. He didn't want a party.


    Amy, do you love lettuce too? I enjoy a good salad so much. However, I got so spoiled this past year because the majority of my salad items came from the garden and I just haven't been able to get into the store-bought stuff again. I am trying...but consistently forget items that make a salad good. I get home from the store and I've only bought greens and have forgotten everything except carrots (or something like that). Plus, it's been so cold, so I need to find a way to enjoy veggies in the winter and that will probably be in the form of soups. Although, I love stir frying a ton of different veggies and mix it up with brown rice or quinoa. Does your family like lettuce? I'm the only one in our house who eats it. Mason does, but she doesn't live here. The trick to a good salad is to mix it up with lots of different greens and lettuces...so of course you need to grow a lot!

  • 5 years ago

    Yes, we like lettuce and salads, especially straight from the garden. I don't like MAKING them though. It used to be my job growing up to make the salad, and I grew to hate it. But, I like to spin dry a good portion of lettuce, cut up a bunch of other ingredients like home grown tomatoes and store the "wet" stuff separately, so I can grab a handful of lettuce and a handful of the other stuff and have a salad all week. With the recalls on lettuce, I can't wait to get started. I also like a once around the garden stir fry, too. H/J, go get some root veggies like parsnips, root parsley, celeriac, turnips, beets. Cube them or chunk them and roast them. Butter or olive oil and herbs. You will like that. It is hard to find root parsley, must be a short season. But you can grow it, it doesn't bolt till the 2nd year and you can use it like annual parsley...and still eat the root! Kale is good in soup along with the usual suspects.

    Sasquatch doesn't mind wet or muddy feet, till she gets inside and decides she's cold. Then she wants to be a lap dog, a muddy lap dog. Being sick and medicines have made me flakey. Sorry if I wander.

  • 5 years ago

    I have enough to send you both a dozen or so. Megan, I'll add yours to the other stuff I'm sending. HJ, send me your address please. I have to get to the post office tomorrow, so I'll try to make sure I take yours with me.


    Amy, you may appreciate this more than anyone else since you're the "spreadsheet queen". Since I'm home (office closed yesterday & today I'm just playing hookey), I worked on getting my seed starting calendar organized. And since I'm learning this new software for work I thought I'd try playing around with it. I want to add in a few more features and make it "prettier", but this is the rough draft:

    https://public.tableau.com/profile/jen.gaskill#!/vizhome/SeedStartingCalendar/Calendar

  • 5 years ago

    Staying inside and looking out at the beautiful but slushy mess outside. Before my accidents I used to always go out after a snow and walk the fields and fencelines to check for tracks and game trails. Always had to check the fences for fallen trees anyway so two good reasons to go walking. I really miss being able to do that. Anyway the snow is beautiful if you dont have to do chores or drive in it - or worry about family, grandchildren especially who have to drive in it. We gave the cattle extra meal and hay yesterday but they are appreciative of the sunshine today. Several of our pines are really drooping with the extra weight of the snow this morning. I want to try to go out later for a bit and fill the birdfeeders again and sow poppy seeds on top of the snow. My strawberry beds are still looking good - I was a little nervous after the teen temps since they are in a raised bed.

    Dawn, thanks for the recommendation on Lee okra. You know I complain every year because it’s late August and I have beautiful plants but no pods of okra!! Since I have raised beds for almost all of my gardening now Lee sounds perfect for my situation. I love the Stewart’s Zeebest but it produces so late for me and it outgrows the space I need it to stay in. I have the most beautiful amaryllis this year - it was supposed to be a deep red but bloomed about 8 double double white blooms. I put it next to a huge poinsettia that I purchased for $3 on clearance at Lowe’s. ( it just needed a little water and attention and it’s still beautiful 3 weeks later). Yes, I am cheap - I prefer to call it thrifty. Haha. I love reading all your posts - keeps me from having cabin fever in the winter.

  • 5 years ago

    dbarron, I believe your okra seed is from the same guy in Panama as George's African okra. Let me do a search, and if I can find the last thing I remember reading from him about it, I'll link it here.


    African Okra Trial


    I'm happy for all of you who got real snow. Down here we got our traditional no snow.

    Amy, When I over-purchase lettuce seeds, I sow them beneath tomato plants and other taller plants as a living ground cover. Over time, I harvest it of course, but then I just replace the lettuce plants with annual flowers to serve as a living mulch or with actual mulch. I feed the chickens lettuce virtually every day during the lettuce season, so I grow lots more than Tim and I can eat, but it makes the chickens so very happy to have it.

    Megan, I suppose the refreeze tonight could be pretty bad for everyone up there unless the roads really melt off completely today. Our roads down here are mostly dry after a day of sunshine since we didn't get anything but rain. There's also a chance of freezing fog tonight/tomorrow morning for a lot of us.

    After tonight, our weather is going to be gorgeous for a few days---highs in 60s, lows in 40s and in the 50s on at least one night. That is down here in the south. I hope those of you further north will get the warmer weather too. I love when we get these occasional warm spells in January.

    Farmgardener, I hope that Lee produces early for you. I know it is frustrating when okra is slow to produce, and some years it is just horrible about being slow. I don't know why---it really isn't like we have cold summer soils.

    Your amaryllis is gorgeous. My double white one looked very similar. It is all shriveled up and dry and gone now, but the red single one is just now starting to fade, and the pin one hasn't even bloomed yet. At the rate things are going here, the second stalk from the red should begin blooming next week, and then the pink one sometime after that or at about the same time. All in all, I think we're going to have about 6 weeks with one amaryllis or another in bloom. That's not bad.

    I have been working on my warm-season and cool-season grow list and ordering seeds today. The problem with doing this is that the tomato grow list also is growing today because I have poor discipline---when I see a variety that seems interesting, I want to try it now. I'm not sure where I'll put more tomatoes, but the fenced-in area behind the barn that is our third fenced (and mostly unused) garden spot might end up being a tomato garden in containers type thing this year. The soil is such horrible slow-draining clay and I haven't improved it as much as I have wanted to yet, so it would be ideal for a place to put the containers. It also has a drainage swale running through it (from back in the day when this place was a farm), which is nice in drier years, but not so great in the really wet ones.

    I have tried really hard to ignore all zinnia seeds I see this year and to order some other sort of flowers since I went overboard with zinnias last year. However, my seed box still has tons of leftover zinnia seeds in it, so we'll still have some zinnias.

    Amy, I have a seed problem too and don't need to order any seeds at all. There are plenty of seeds in my seed box. Some of them even will be used this year. I don't know why I have to keep buying more seeds when the seed box has plenty in storage, but everyone that I know who loves to garden is the same way as us. We all seem to believe that a person cannot have too many seeds. It could be worse. Seeds are a small thing to buy and horde. If we had a problem buying too many cars or bicycles or boots or purses, that would be a bigger issue since those things require much more space. Our husbands should be relieved that we horde something as small as seeds.


    Dawn

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Wow Dawn, even though it wasn't so long ago, I didn't remember the details of that thread ;) I'm glad to reread it now that I have some of the seeds. Definitely gonna start the okra in the house in April. The thread gives me good hope that it's not as hot dependent and that it can tolerate cooler growing weather (set out as small plants). We shall see. I guess that's one of the basics of gardening, experimentation.

  • 5 years ago

    Wow. That Okra African X thread is for the smart people. Someday I'll be smart. Maybe.


    Dawn, our beautiful snow came with a price. We lost power twice yesterday. It got cold in our house last night. And the snow is melting now--what a mess. It was pretty, though.


    So...we went to Walmart for some toilet paper (haha) and the seasonal area is half Christmas clearance and shelves that are starting to be filled with water hoses and weed eaters, but are mostly empty. The only plants are house plants. No seed displays.


    I think I have my list ready for the garden. It's super simple. I only need to order about 6 packets of seeds. I'm not going to focus on flowers much this year. I'll plop a few in here or there...and there's always quite a few volunteers. I really, really want to focus on building the garden and trees. Lots of trees. I am horrible with trees.

    How is everyone's elders doing? I'm going to drive to the Oklahoma elderberry farm and buy a couple of plants instead of sticks. I need all the help I can get. How in the world did I kill all the elders that were gifted to me?! So sad. I tried so hard. I'm sorry I killed your gifts to me.




  • 5 years ago

    Hahaha, HJ. I'll never be that smart with okra. However, there is something to be said for the beautiful plants!


    I am so sorry you lost power. Twice! I also am sorry we don't have a generator. Even a small one. I swear Garry has every other tool known to man. He has a big welder, for crying out loud. And a wood splitter.


    My elderberries are/were inching along. They didn't do very much the first year. Here's hoping. HJ, I think the key perhaps is in getting them in the ground right away, with the correct end pointing down.. I did that. But honest, I just stuck em in the ground. And then one is behind cuz Garry mowed right over the top of it. So now I have steel fence posts next to them so he can't do that.


    That's a nice chart, Jen! I'm just not into the spreadsheet yet, Amy, but will be very soon, when the seeds begin arriving. Don't know what's wrong with me.


    I do have lots of zinnia seeds left from last year, too, Dawn. The weather is supposed to be nice here the next few days, too. We got a lot of rain the past 2 days--about 2.7". So not too much, but plenty. The rain here has been spread out nicely over the past month.


    I've got seeds I need to hit the order button on. . .

  • 5 years ago

    Jen, love that spreadsheet! I'll definitely be using that to get my planning started. What part of OK do you live in?


  • 5 years ago

    I'm in OKC.


    Thanks, y'all. If you think of something missing or want to help fill in, let me know. Or if you have notes already typed up, send them my way. Amy, I think you sent me yours last year. I need to go through and add them in.

  • 5 years ago

    I'm not sure what I sent, but I now have a propagation column, which tells you how to start the seeds (mostly for ornamentals and herbs.) Nancy started me down that road ;) I can't figure out how to get to the 2nd page, but I really love your ability to filter results. I could probably figure that out in Excel, but I use Google Sheets on my tablet.

    Dawn, we know you have a seed problem, you are the seed enabler! And it's true, I don't have a closet full of shoes or purses or jewelery. Could be worse.

  • 5 years ago

    But Amy, how many trowels do you have ? (I know this from my own experience..they disappear and hide, and you have to buy another..frequently).

  • 5 years ago

    Bruce tempted me to come spend some time over here. I have to fire up the laptop for GW, so I am reading and watching Oklahoma Gardening. I haven't had such a lovely Saturday morning in a while. I'm usually out the door first thing doing grocery shopping for Meals on Wheels. After I went back to work I couldn't help on the Tuesdays we cook and deliver, but I offered to take over the meal planning and shopping. It has worked out well, the other volunteers can take turns being the head cook week to week. It spreads out the work and makes it possible for everyone to have time off when necessary. Since we only have one day a week, I can use a basic 5 or 6 meals on a rotation. It makes it easy to plan, but also not too much repetition too close together. I have planned out meals that I am pretty sure the other groups are not using. I take advantage of frozen items as much as possible to keep the prep easy, but me being me, there is still work! I can pitch in on Sundays while we are at church and get some of that done for them. This week we will be serving cheese stuffed shells, but half of the sauce was made (and frozen) last month with veggies (zucchini, carrots, onions, etc). I had a gallon can of left over tomato puree from another food event, so (with some expert help :) ) created a marinara sauce. The cooks froze the left over sauce and we are finishing it up this week. I was tasked with making sure we use up items that get stuffed in our freezer from different events, etc., so that helps with making some variation in menus as well. I did my big monthly shopping at the Chef Store yesterday (which is one reason I can be lazy this morning!). We have sausage/potatoes/cabbage, meatballs in a sour cream sauce, chicken fingers with mashed potatoes and gravy, beans and cornbread also on the menu for the month. I sub in a Lisa version of chicken teriyaki/chinese something every so often plus a few other items.

    This afternoon is set aside for chopping tons of zucchini and cucumbers for a cucumber salad for Tuesday. The chef store had a bunch of fresh zucchini on clearance. I couldn't resist buying them to chop and freeze. I will use some for a veggie side and probably more marinara sauce. It's a good way to get some extra nutrition in the meal.

    I love my new job, but it does really cut into my gardening and internet time :) I miss ya'll in this space, although we often see each over at FB :)

    I need to get busy looking at seeds and seed planting. I feel like I am already behind when I read all of your planning! The seed swap helped a lot. Thanks Jen!

  • 5 years ago

    dbarron, I'm glad I was able to find that thread, and I'm glad you posted something on it in order to resurrect it from the archives. It will be interesting to see how the okra does for you.

    I consider my whole garden one long running experiment. To me, there is nothing more fun than trying new varieties, or new growing techniques or new....whatever. I get bored with doing the same things in the same way year in and year out.

    Jennifer, That is too bad about the power outages. I bet the house did get cold. We have a generator now, so the thought of a power outage doesn't bother me as much as it once did. Still, it is a lot of work to wheel the big old heavy generator out of the garage (it always is behind a ton of Tim's junk) and set it up, so I'd just as soon not need to use it.

    Our Wal-Mart has partial stuff on the garden center shelves, but nothing I want---mostly chemical pesticides and herbicides. You know, because we need all those in January? (Not that I use them any other time of the year either.) It was real hit-and-miss. There were some organic products outdoors on the garden center shelves, some patio furniture and outdoor throw pillows (because people buy those in January?) If I ran a garden center, I'd have seeds and seed-starting supplies on the shelves first, not pesticides and herbicides. There's still a ton of unsold Christmas merchandise, but quite a bit less than a few days ago. Even at 75% off, most people walk right by and don't even look at it. Everybody's clearly over Christmas and moving on.

    Nancy, I hope you hit that button and ordered your seeds. I did quite a bit of that yesterday, but I really did try to show 'some' restraint. Maybe not enough restraint, but I tried. Then, this morning I went to the websites of Hazzard's Seeds and Eden Brothers and both boggled my mind, as always, with the huge selection and huge quantities available in bulk. I didn't order anything, but I am pondering doing so.

    It is 69 degrees, gorgeous, clear and sunny with blue skies galore here. I just love it! Cats and dogs are happy although the ground still is terribly waterlogged and covered with big puddles. I am excited we will have more days like this over the next few days. Both the 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks give us an above average chance of rain. No, no, no. This is supposed to be our driest month historically. Can the rain please stay away for at least a couple of weeks? Why doesn't this rain fall in July and August when we need it?

    dbarron, Trowels? Ha ha ha ha ha. I'll admit to having at least 6 or 7. I swear ....somebody here (and it must be me because I am the only gardener here) leaves them lying in a bed in the summer and then they get lost beneath plants or mulch. By the end of the season, I'm down to 1 or 2 trowels being visible and usable. Then, in the winter or early spring I find them all again, gather them up, clean them off and put them in the garden shell. It is the same thing every year. At least I finally have more trowels than I can manage to lose in one growing season so I no longer actually run out of trowels and have to go buy another one. For years, it seemed like I had to buy one more per year. In fact, I have to resist the urge to buy another one "just in case" when they hit the store shelves.

    Amy, Believe it or not, my seed hoarding has improved a lot and I am getting better about using them up before they lose their viability. Well, I still hoard too many tomato seeds, but you never know when you'll want to add another 10 or 20 varieties to the Grow List. This year, I put the seeds I want in the shopping cart online. Then I go back and delete at least half of them before I order. So far that is working out pretty well. My storage tote seed crate is emptier than it has been in at least 10 years.

    Lisa, Wow! You sure have taken on a lot of responsibility with MOW. I am so proud of you---that is such an awesome thing that y'all do for your community and I know that y'all are making them really yummy food. They are so lucky to have people like you who care about them.

    You might not be behind....it might be that we are getting ahead of ourselves just a little bit, but what else can a bunch of gardeners do in the winter time? Talking, planning and dreaming about gardening isn't really the same as being able to do it, but it does help pass the time until gardening time rolls around again.

    This afternoon a yellow jacket tried to come into the house with Tim. It made it into the mudroom and there it died. It now resides in the trash can. Will somebody please tell the yellow jackets that it is winter time and we don't need their company in January?

    We feed the deer every day, of course, and this morning or perhaps overnight, one of them left me a small present at the deer feeding area---one small antler probably from a 6-pt buck, since this antler had 3 points. I picked it up and brought it indoors and will let it dry for a while. The grandkids will love seeing it...they are at the age where seeing and collecting anything natural like bird feathers, pretty rocks, dandelions, etc. just thrills them.

    Dawn

  • 5 years ago

    Speaking of critters or plants that need to be reminded it's winter. Dandelions and garlic. I have some precocious garlic. Do the rest of you have any sprouting? I saw 2. Yeah, I've got plenty of alfalfa hay to mulch with as they do sprout and grow. "Our" deer disappear when hunting season comes in the fall and stay gone until spring. Good. Very good.


    Since landing on my magical hori-hori knife, I have no need for trowels. And it wasn't that cheap, so I have, at Amy's suggestion, fluorescent pink tape around the handle and a bright red piece of fabric through the hold at the end of the handle. And also have been more conscientious about it than I ever have been about any other tool. So it has, overall, been pretty easy to keep track of. I know there are other GREAT fans of hori-horis out there--know Amy's one. HJ? They are absolutely fabulous. They cut through the soil like it's butter, unlike trowels. Just sayin' to think about it.


    It got up to 60 or so here today, Dawn and yes it was absolutely glorious. Unfortunately, I had a lot of reading to do and not a lot of outdoor work to do, so though GDW and the cats and Titan made good use of the weather, I wasn't able to. Still, I took hourly breaks and walked outdoors for 10 minutes on the hour.


    Lisa, I was so inspired by your MOW discussion, I went straight-away to Wagoner Meals on Wheels. We don't have one!!!! I'm wondering what it takes to implement it. I have read so many inspirational stories about how very much it means. Maybe we can PM each other?


    Days like today makes me chomp at the bit to get to planting, know it does the rest of you, too! Cheers and blessings!

  • 5 years ago

    I haven't noticed any garlic, but it is in the back garden and I haven't walked through the mini-lake of standing rain water to visit the back garden lately. I'll have to go back there tomorrow and see if I can slip around from the side, avoiding the water that sits between the garage and the garden's front gate, and look through the fence near the back gate where the garlic is planted. I don't want to walk on that soft sandy soil back there inside the fenced garden while it is so heavily saturated because I don't want to compact it. Everything possible is up and green in the front garden, and the ornamental alliums down by the front driveway gate are about 6-8" tall, but no daffs have emerged yet. I'm wondering if the autumn's excessive and record-breaking rainfall may have killed my daffodils. I guess time will tell. The crinum lilies are up 12-18" tall and have freeze damage at the top, so I'm not so sure they are having a great winter. They shouldn't have emerged so early, but we've had too many warm days and nights since they first froze in November so they've been slowly and steadily regrowing ever since, and then they refroze on the one December night that we dropped down into the teens.

    Tim is hoping these heavy rains will start the springs running again---the ones that once fed our largest pond and our swamp. I doubt that will happen. Those springs more or less dried up during the drought of 2005-06 and really never came back. A separate spring in the woodland near the old swamp kinda sorta sends some water to it, but not enough to keep it swampy any more. If the super-heavy rainfall of 2015 didn't start the springs running again, then I cannot imagine that a couple of months of heavy rainfall would. Nowadays the swamp and big pond are just a seasonal swamp and seasonal pond and never hold water for long---just whatever runoff they can catch.

    It was 70 degrees and gorgeous this afternoon, but really too wet and too muddy to do anything at all outdoors. At least maybe these 60+ degree days will help dry up all the puddles and the mud a bit.

    The down side to the warmth is that fruit trees are budding. We need for it to get cold again before they move too far down the pathway towards blooming. Even when you choose fruit tree varieties with the recommended number of chilling hours for our area, the winter's fluctuating temperatures sure can mess with them and set everything in motion too early, with the result being that the blooms freeze and there's no fruit. I believe that is what happened to most of the pecan crop in our county this year as well. Even though the pecan trees are among the last native trees to bloom and leaf out, last year's late freeze must have gotten them. Even the commercial growers who usually harvest thousands of pounds of pecans got nothing this year. So, we fall back on that well-used farmer/gardener phrase: there's always next year. But, here we are at the beginning of next year and the weather is doing all the odd temperature swings yet again. The more things change, the more they remain the same.


    Dawn

  • 5 years ago

    It was beautiful today. So sunny and warm. Good for the animals for sure. But, the mud. The mud is horrible. I'm pretty sure the chicken pen (or parts of it) haven't been the muddy so far....and we've had this coop/pen for about an year and a half. It's weird to think that we've had more rain (and snow, of course) in the past month than we've had in the spring.


    The light shelf should be cleared off soon. Even though I'm not starting tomato seed until March 1, I do want to start some greens. And will probably start pepper seeds mid February.


    So...last year I grew Texas Super Sweet and Southern Bell Red. I'm going back to Texas Legend and Red Creole this year. I thought about doing something different...but not this year. I had better success with Texas Legend and Red Creole than the others. The strange weather last spring could have been the reason, but whatever the reason, I'm going back. THEN, next year I'll try something different. Maybe several things that are different. I purchased a large bag of Dixondale fertilizer last year and still have quite a bit left.


    Does anyone know of an issue with planting southern peas where the onions previously were planted? Pop in some PEPH seeds in June about 2 weeks before harvesting the onions. I've never had peas in that specific location and I want to grow a lot of them this summer. I like them fresh and dried. They are one of my favorite foods and have a decent amount of protein.


    I've GOT to find a green bean--both pole and bush--that work for me. I have the worst luck with them. And we like green beans.


    Specific planting locations--that's what I've been thinking about today. I've already decided that the tomatoes are going in the back garden. Maybe I'll put the peppers back there too. It's been awhile...


    Then there's the squash decision. To squash or not to squash....I just don't know. Maybe I'll skip summer squash and buy it at the farmer's market. Seminole and butternut are on the list though. Wouldn't it be a dream to grow all the squash and pumpkins that we desire…of all varieties?!

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