Garden update

DThille

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I thought I’d provide a bit of an update. We’ve had some record heat here in the middle of Canada and farmers are getting very concerned about the dry conditions (chance of showers today is all the precipitation we have in the forecast). She Who Must Be Obeyed has taken to a daily morning watering routine...the lettuce is the best indication as it wilts first when things start drying out. The radishes didn’t really work out this year...for the most part, once things warmed up, it got hot, which led to bolting. There was also something in the soil that decided they were tasty. We’ve had some other pest pressure and I don’t know if that is primarily due to the conditions, or to the materials we used in filling the beds...time will tell. The cucumbers and zucchini plants have really started to take off and are flowering and beginning to fruit. I’m tempted to dig up some horseradish this fall to see if the conditions impact the flavour. A friend who grows a lot of hot peppers had a squirrel attempt to take one, but after one nip it must have decided it wasn’t worth it as it left the fruit behind.

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Some old seed didn’t germinate well, which resulted in some bare spots.

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I like the idea of these plant ladders, found at Canadian Tire this year...they are Canadian made and are available in this 3’ size and a taller 5’ size.

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The front (mostly) edible garden. Aside from raspberries that like to grow but not produce much, there are a few herbs, horseradish, and rhubarb in here.

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This area is the “Butterflyway” garden. There’s a variety of flowering plants here, mostly perennials, designed to attract pollinators. The annuals that have been flowering have definitely seen their share.

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Finally, I went out first thing this morning for the last picking from our semi-sweet cherry tree. We did some picking at the country property on Friday, but the dry conditions meant those cherries were very small. Either we got more rain here in the city, or the watering we have done resulted in some extra moisture for this tree as they are more typical for size. That’s a 4l ice cream pail that is pretty full and I was back in the house shortly after 7:00.

Over the past week, I believe there have been at least two days that set record high temperatures for those dates. Yesterday it was pushing 35 C.
 

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Mandy Onderwater

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Oh goodness, I'm kind of at a loss for words... I just love it! I've been going back and forth to this post for at least 4 times now, just not knowing what to say, but appreciating what I'm seeing and reading! I'm glad you shared this with us :D

If you struggle with pests, Mark has a very helpful video to give you an insight in what you could do about them;
 

DThille

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Thanks Mandy,

We’ve seen that video. I don’t think She Who Must Be Obeyed followed this, but probably Dr. Google for the spray she mixed up. Things have settled down a bit from a pest perspective, although we have lost a few things...live and learn. One of the keys for the future is that with wood chip mulch, we want to use bigger starts rather than working from seed. I also forgot just how big zucchini plants get, so some things are a bit crowded. We have had some harvest, regularly using kale leaves and lettuce as well as herbs and other odds and ends. We have been picking a few tomatoes as well and are due to pick some cucumber and zucchini soon.

We are getting more food from the garden this year than in prior years, so in spite of some challenges (pests and drought), it’s all good.

One positive is that this year, with the hot, dry conditions, we didn’t have some of the usual pests (there’s a fly that lays eggs on / in the cherries) that hasn’t been around this year, so we were able to let the cherries ripen a bit more than we typically can.

On to bigger and better things.

Oh yeah, the last time we were at our acreage and looked, we noticed some of the sugar beets that we’d broadcasted seeds are growing.
 

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When I really struggle with pests and nothing else works... I use Neem Oil. It worked like a charm and much better than anything else! I noticed my cherry tomato got munched on, so I sprayed it... no more thieves!

I'm a second year gardener myself (all pots for now) and I'm growing much, much more than last year. Had some hard setbacks, honestly still do, but am working with/around it now :D

It's so amazing to see your own and your garden improve! Personally, it makes me really happy. I often refer to my garden as my "experiment garden", as I fully expect things to go wrong and I am actively learning still. My newest thing? Make sure your trellis is up for the task... mine was by far too small for my tomatoes (they're 4m tall if they hadn't snapped and are now weaved around my trellis - they didn't die when they snapped luckily). My trellis was prepared for a little less than 2m. I thought I had a determinate plant, otherwise I'd topped it ages ago. Good to know for next year!

I've never seen beets grow... do you think you could send pictures? Either here or in the media section (it's been upgraded so you should be able to upload there straight from your phone as well).
 

Mark

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Those cherries look wonderful - if only we could get a really low chill variety here that tastes good, unfortunately, we're lucky if our olives fruit and the low chill cherries are hard to get but I doubt they'd fruit here anyway.
 

DThille

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Mandy - I’ll try to remember to take a few photos next time I’m out. We have a few here in the city, but they’re tough to see between the cucumber and zucchini.

Mark - I’m afraid I don’t understand the phrase “low chill”. I’d imagine the sweet cherries ought to work reasonably in your environment (can’t say anything about the fruit flies or other pests mind you). Of course, what I don’t know about growing in your climate would fill volumes. Varieties like Bing and Rainier simply aren’t hardy enough for our winters (we typically see some -30 C weather each winter, occasionally, but not every winter, as low as -40). Native cherries like pin cherries and chokecherries are cold-tolerant, but are small and very tart, although they can be processed into nice syrups and jellies. These semi-sweet or tart cherries we grow are relatively recent introductions. We did some measuring recently and found an average of about 15 mm diameter. I do have a photo somewhere...just need to dig it up.

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Here we go for a comparison with Bing cherries.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Mandy - I’ll try to remember to take a few photos next time I’m out. We have a few here in the city, but they’re tough to see between the cucumber and zucchini.

Mark - I’m afraid I don’t understand the phrase “low chill”. I’d imagine the sweet cherries ought to work reasonably in your environment (can’t say anything about the fruit flies or other pests mind you). Of course, what I don’t know about growing in your climate would fill volumes. Varieties like Bing and Rainier simply aren’t hardy enough for our winters (we typically see some -30 C weather each winter, occasionally, but not every winter, as low as -40). Native cherries like pin cherries and chokecherries are cold-tolerant, but are small and very tart, although they can be processed into nice syrups and jellies. These semi-sweet or tart cherries we grow are relatively recent introductions. We did some measuring recently and found an average of about 15 mm diameter. I do have a photo somewhere...just need to dig it up.

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Here we go for a comparison with Bing cherries.
Amazing!

I believe Mark meant that we don't get below 0 temperatures. Many cherries need cooler temperatures, so one that is adjusted to warmer weather might be low-chill (high winter temp).
 

DThille

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Based on Mandy's request, here are a couple of photos of the sugar beet plants. From reading, they concentrate sugars through a frost, so we don't want to harvest them until about October. I believe the typical root is 2-4 lbs (1-2 kg). This is an experiment for us, although there used to be a lot of sugar beets grown in the area until the plant that processed them here in Winnipeg shut down. Whenever we drive south into North Dakota, we often see trucks hauling them and we pass a couple plants shortly after crossing the border.

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Of course, these are well behind this year. We had broadcast seed in an area in the country and it's only recently that we spotted some and have started weeding around them...at least the weeds are familiar. We do have a few in the city as well, but first it was leaf miners and now they're very well shaded by the zucchini.

Oh, from YouTube channel Spain on a Fork, we did this stuffed zucchini for breakfast Saturday...one of the young adults doesn't like cheese, the other doesn't like squash / zucchini, so we just made from one zucchini for the two of us.

StuffedZucchini.jpg
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Based on Mandy's request, here are a couple of photos of the sugar beet plants. From reading, they concentrate sugars through a frost, so we don't want to harvest them until about October. I believe the typical root is 2-4 lbs (1-2 kg). This is an experiment for us, although there used to be a lot of sugar beets grown in the area until the plant that processed them here in Winnipeg shut down. Whenever we drive south into North Dakota, we often see trucks hauling them and we pass a couple plants shortly after crossing the border.

View attachment 5845

View attachment 5846

Of course, these are well behind this year. We had broadcast seed in an area in the country and it's only recently that we spotted some and have started weeding around them...at least the weeds are familiar. We do have a few in the city as well, but first it was leaf miners and now they're very well shaded by the zucchini.

Oh, from YouTube channel Spain on a Fork, we did this stuffed zucchini for breakfast Saturday...one of the young adults doesn't like cheese, the other doesn't like squash / zucchini, so we just made from one zucchini for the two of us.

View attachment 5847
Very interesting! I didn't know beets needed the cold to produce the sugars, thank you for letting me know!
The stuffed zucchini looks delicious! Do you think you could share the recipe in the articles page? ?
 

Mark

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Yes, low chill (as Mandy wrote) means the hours a plant requires of colder weather below a certain temp before it will trigger flowering.

It simply does not get cold enough for long enough to grow standard cherries successfully here.
 

DTK

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Thanks for the update Derek. Interesting to read of your temperature variations! I am, roughly, in the same area as Mark, so our climate zone is Sub-tropics. Dan
 

DThille

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Now for a late summer garden update. I should have posted something in between, but stuff happens.

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A few things are done, but for the most part, this is the biggest, lushest it's been. It helps that after all the hot dry weather we've had (up to a few days ago, I know we were in level 4 drought, whatever that means - it is a scale of 1-4, so the worst level...driest July on record here), we've had some significant rainfall over the past week or ten days. Temperatures have abated somewhat and it's starting to feel like autumn. Looking through the camera I hadn't noticed the one sweet pepper was trying to lay down.

A little while back, just before all the rain started, I put down a few quick growing seeds in an effort for a late harvest. I seeded a row of radish, and some dwarf bok choi (variety Toy Choi) which should be OK with our average first frost date. Of course, that meant that my wife went and brought home some lettuce from the grocer with roots attached and put them over the choi...sigh. If any of those seeds survived the incursion, they may get some additional shelter from frost around them.

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Now, pushing it for frost dates, I also elected to try some mustard greens since we didn't have much success with them in the spring thanks to pests.

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It's nice to see good germination.

It's interesting to see that the first year for these beds they've settled about 3 inches (7.5 cm). Once the plants get cleared out I'll need to pull back the wood chips and do some more filling.

On another note, the garlic bulbs I ordered arrived this week. It will be a few weeks before they go in, but hopefully we'll get a decent crop next year. I plan to put most of them in one of the beds where we have other edibles (I think there's earlier photo in this thread with the rhubarb and horseradish). We also recently noticed we are down to the last 2 jars of horseradish, so I'll be harvesting some and making the condiment (can't really call mine sauce as it's too thick).
 

DTK

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Thank you for such a great update. All the best for your last cropping. We are in the throws of Spring here and I am trying to get bed ready before the hot weather arrives.

Dan
 

Mandy Onderwater

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That looks amazing! Thank you for sharing.
I always wondered if woodchips could attract any nasty bugs at all though (where I come from we didn't use wood chips, but now that I'm in a new, sub-tropical climate I'm curious).
 

DThille

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That looks amazing! Thank you for sharing.
I always wondered if woodchips could attract any nasty bugs at all though (where I come from we didn't use wood chips, but now that I'm in a new, sub-tropical climate I'm curious).

From my understanding they don't necessarily attract pests...of course, that doesn't imply it's true for all locales and situations. Since we brought in stony soil from our rural property, manure from an ancient pile of a neighbour, and the wood chips, I don't know where the pests (aphids in particular) we had this year originated from. A lot of others in our region were noting aphids were bad this year, so it may just have been part of a cycle.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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From my understanding they don't necessarily attract pests...of course, that doesn't imply it's true for all locales and situations. Since we brought in stony soil from our rural property, manure from an ancient pile of a neighbour, and the wood chips, I don't know where the pests (aphids in particular) we had this year originated from. A lot of others in our region were noting aphids were bad this year, so it may just have been part of a cycle.
I'm having ants nest in all my plants right now, even my flowers.
I'd only ever seen woodchips in public parks, so I found this rather interesting! :D
 
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