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  #41  
Old 06-19-2009, 11:01 PM
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Whitey4 Whitey4 is offline
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How did you prep those beds for the stone? Roundup, Treflan and fabric, or what? It looks great but I've seen stone beds get pretty nasty in 5 years.... just wondering how you prepped them.
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  #42  
Old 06-20-2009, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitey4 View Post
How did you prep those beds for the stone? Roundup, Treflan and fabric, or what? It looks great but I've seen stone beds get pretty nasty in 5 years.... just wondering how you prepped them.
I just do all the grading I need to and spray a little roundup when I initially start a project like that. By the time I get to laying fabric, the round-up has already soaked up in the grass and weeds.

Sometimes, I don't even spray and just pull the turf up where I put plants in. So far I haven't had grass or weeds come through.

I take my time to dig a good trench for the brick-edging, and lay the fabric in the trench before my mortar. That makes sure I don't get a seem at the edges where the rock meets the brick. That is the spot for the most potential of grass encroaching into the beds.

The over-all key is to do a nice and smooth grade before laying the fabric. so that you don't have any hills and valleys for water and dirt to collect. I also overlap my fabric by 4 inches or so, and I use plenty of fabric staples to hold it into place. Not too many companies around here do that. They usually have a worker hold the fabric, and they throw rock on it. I also want to make sure that if a weed does get missed and roots a little into the fabric, then it won't pull the fabric up when pulling the weed.

Stone beds do need maintenance. I tell my customers to invest in a leaf blower to help keep dirt and debris out of the rock. They also need to pick any weeds out when they are small before they have a chance to root into the fabric. The thing I hate the most is when you get a dirty load of rock with a lot of mud and fines in it. Really defeats the purpose of trying to keep it clean and not have a space for weeds to germinate.

I had a customer call me stating they had weeds coming up through the fabric. I went over there and realized the used a common bale of straw to get grass growing next to the brick. When he mowed, it was windy, and the straw, and weed seed in it, blew into the bed. That's why I don't use un-sterilized straw as a ground cover. I had to explain to him the situation, and with 3 weeks worth of rain, wild violets took off in-between my rock.

We walk out there, I plucked one, and it wasn't rooted in the fabric at all, and they all pulled out with ease.

The biggest mistakes with rock beds, is that customers think you don't have to do any maintenance to them, and that's not true.
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  #43  
Old 07-01-2009, 08:23 PM
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mid-summer garden action

First pics are of my Holly Hocks and volunteer sunflowers. I thought I'd snap a few pics before the Japanese beetles have their way with the Holly Hocks. Luckily they've had a slow start with the cooler weather we are having.

The tomato plants are up to 6 feet. That's about as tall as I have my cage set up.

I should be seeing pole beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, potatoes, onions, and peppers withing the next two weeks.

With all the cooler temps, it might take a while for my tomatoes and peppers to ripen, last year it seemed like it took them forever.

GO BLTS !!!!!!! Can't wait, I've got some home-made bacon to go with them.

The cool season stuff is about shot, the lettuce has become extremely bitter. I think I'll get that area tilled after the potatoes are pulled and get ready to do a fall crop.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:25 PM
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Last pics.

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  #45  
Old 07-02-2009, 08:07 AM
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We got maybe a month b4 the gardens look like that. Even the early sweet corn under plastic has not tasselled out yet.
The tomato cage I do is a 8 - 10 foot poles and tie 3 of them together Tipi style. run the rope around then can always add pungy cords to hold up the individual clusters and stem.
Looks like you are going to need something. It is always a shame, to me, to see tomatoes break over.
Looks good! You must enjoy it...
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  #46  
Old 07-02-2009, 08:55 AM
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I did OK with this setup last year. I've got 300 feet of rope between the post. It's hard to find rope that doesn't degrade in the sun, so it's almost a waste of money.

I like the Tipi style cages, and I actually have a contractor/neighbor that makes them out of extra redwood he has from projects, and I'm going to hit him up for some for next season to give them a try. right now, at six feet, they seem to do OK without breaking. When ever I go out I try to prune the tomatoes, there are four plants in there and I've got 3 too many. One of my first years I tried wire cages stacked on each other, then one day I looked out the window to watch them all fall over from the wind and the weight, anything is better than that.

I got lucky this year with planting because all the rain we've had. I've been getting the garden planted late the last couple of years, and this year I was dedicated to getting in the ground sooner than later. I will admit, some of the plants were almost "mudded" in, but I'm getting good results. I also made some clods, but I'm not too concerned only because the corner of the garden is a low spot on the property, and I plan on bringing in about 10 tons of dirt and shifting the garden out of the shade, so ultimately the clods will go by-by.

You are probably in better shape than most AXE. Some people around here just got their gardens finished. Now we need some heat to get them going. We had 97*high, 80*low, temps last week and now we're seeing 75*high, 60*low, temperatures.

Thanks for the post AXE, seems like not too many people have much to say about the WG thread. After lawnsite re-orginized the LHCSsite, there hasn't been as many people floating around the Landscaping section so I stuck this thread here. I might end up having the Mods move this thread to the Pic forum of Lawnsite.

I always welcome comments and constructive criticism. To me gardening and landscaping have an Artistic element to it, and to me, art is just one persons opinion/reality, so all opinions are valid and no body is exactly right or wrong.
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  #47  
Old 07-02-2009, 09:32 PM
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Looks sweet bro! My veggie garden is much smaller, but I did throw 4 corn stalks in this year to see what happens. My tomato plants generally get to about 8 foot. I cage them to 5 foot, then run a sort of trellis over the top to keep them from collapse.

I'm big on mild to hot pepper plants myself. Too many earwigs here for me to grow lettuce, but them BLT's, I could live on those sandwiches!

Homemade bacon? How the heck do you do that?
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  #48  
Old 07-03-2009, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Whitey4 View Post

I'm big on mild to hot pepper plants myself.

Homemade bacon? How the heck do you do that?
You salt cure the cut of pork (belly section), and then do a cold smoke for 24 hours or so.

Best way I've ever seen was Alton Brown (Good Eats), take an old locker section with two lockers. One side had a hot plate, tuna can with hardwood saw dust in it. He then took a 4 inch flexible flexible duct hose with a computer fan and ran the smoke through about 4 feet of the hose and piped it into the second locker.

The long section of hose allowed the air/smoke to cool down before reaching the second chamber/locker.

Or, find someone who has a smoke house. There is a couple of guys around here once a year, collect meats from people and smoke it for them. Much easier when someone has the set-up.

I've got 10 Melrose pepper plants. The sweetest pepper I've ever found. I've also got a serrano, and a cayenne pepper plant this year.
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  #49  
Old 07-06-2009, 12:41 PM
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This was the first time I attempted to grow any corn, and at that, it is a feeble experiment, with only 4 plants. It was a spur of the moment idea, as these plants were outside the local supermarket for a lousy 2 bucks...

So, after doing some reading, I figure I should hand pollinate the silks once they appear. Next year I will do it right, but in the meantime... do you try to hand pollinate anything? The bees seem to be doing a good job on my cukes and zucchini, but I figure to hand pollinate the corn and see what happens. Do you have any silks yet? Mine are at the 8 leaf stage with tassels. Don't even know what variety they are.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:48 PM
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No, I don't have to do any hand pollinating. Luckily in the rural environment that I am in, we have plenty of pollinators. Unfortunately the J. Beetle will do some pollinating as it destroys plants, and we've got plenty of them.

That kinda makes me chuckle a little when I here of people buying already growing sweet corn, and occasionally you see someone selling them in Bloomington. It's just bred into me as a farm-boy that you poke a hole and stick a corn kernel in the ground.

The odds of a good crop out of 4 plants isn't very good, even if you hand pollinate. Corn pollinates mainly from gravity. If you go out during a light breeze you can see the pollen cloud fall from the tassels. A grain of pollen must hit each individual silk in order to form a kernel of corn. It's got to stink living in a large metro area and having lack of pollinators in the city. So you'll probably have to hand pollinate. I would go out on an extremely calm day, and either break or bend the tassel closer to the silks and shake it.

Next year (and I know you have a micro-garden) you could actually clump grow 3-4 plants in the same hole and do four clumps and you might have better results. There has been studies on clump growing sorghum,(rather than rows) and it increased the yields by 35% or so. Corn didn't yield more than 5% increase in clumps, but you might be able to get good results and save room. The clumps also helped keep the tillers from forming.

Don't worry Whitey, I'll send you some good seeds to try next year.

You might also try the "three sisters" too. Native Americans grew corn, with a pole bean climbing them and a squash on the ground. The squash acts like a mulch, the pole beans have a place to climb, and the beans fix nitrogen for the corn. In your case, you could do a bush cucumber that doesn't grow too big instead of squash.

In my garden I have 6 rows, 30 inch rows and 10 inch spacing. I probably could have planted them in 6-8 inch spacings, but I over-planted my corn last year and had bad results so I'm a little gun-shy. I also had to pull about 2-3 tillers(suckers) growing at the base of each plant and pull of 1-2 extra ears on each stalk. I'm trying to make sure the energy goes into one ear.

2 rows are a Sun gold variety- short in height, short growing season (60 days), and I'll have ears to eat in about 5 days. Heard it's not very good though, but we'll see.

2 rows are an Illini Supersweet. It's the tallest so far at 7 feet. Short-Mid length in growing season at 80 days. Has tassels and silks just starting to show.

The last two rows are an Ambrosia. Med-Long season at 100 days, but already at the same maturity of the Supersweet (go figure). Everyone raves about the Ambrosia and is the most popular variety grown around here.

Ultimately the more stalks you get the better odds are for producing ears in the garden. Unfortunately sweet corn can give you mixed result, even in the farm fields. I always figure 15%-25% loss. Luckily, living in the Midwest, even if my crop is junk, I can go to about 20 different sweet corn stands and pick up farmer grown. Not as good as the garden will produce, but way better than store bought.

Dang Whitey, you got me on a rant about corn.
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