Monthly Archives: August 2013

My Hoop Garden Is Taking Shape

I have prepared two of my raised beds for hoop gardens. I plan to do this for my 3rd bed that doesn’t have a raised cattle panel running down the middle of it.

The beds are made out of 16′ lengths of 1×6 treated lumber.  The boxes are 5′ wide.  I purchased four 20′ sections of 3/8″ rebar and had one of my sons cut them into 2′ sections.  I decided to put 7 hoops on each 16′ bed.  I pounded the 2′ sections of rebar 1′ into the ground, leaving 1′ above ground – the height of the bed side.   I used 10′ sections of gray electrical conduit to bend over the bed for the arch.  Each end of the conduit covers the raised 1′ section.  Hopefully this will be satisfactory to anchor the pressured ends of the conduit.  I plan to tie a piece of the gray conduit along the top of the arch to keep the pipes properly spaced.  I will then cover the arches with clear plastic.  I need to find a thick 50′ roll of plastic.  Twenty-five feet will cover each bed with enough to gather at the ends.  I need a roll that is at least 12′ wide so that it will cover the 10′ arch and leave at least a foot to lay on the ground and be weighed down by old garden timbers or lengths of wood.

I still need to work the ground around these beds – putting mulch around the beds.
hoop garden

Another view:
hoop garden

The winters here have been getting colder each year for a while now, so I am hoping these covered hoop beds will allow me to grow winter crops better.  On the list for my winter crops are:  cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce – both leaf and cos, turnips, carrots, fava beans, peas and whatever else I can’t think of at the moment.  Garlic doesn’t need to be protected from the freezes.

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Daddy-Long Legs Gather Under Cucumber Leaves

Throughout the growing season I have noticed daddy-long legs gathering in groups under cuke leaves – usually in groups of a dozen or so. Today I had my camera with me and noticed about half a dozen under this leaf.
daddy long legs
Interesting – don’t know why they congregate under these cucumber leaves. Haven’t seen them under squash leaves.

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Chinese Long Red Beans

FINALLY!!! The Chinese Long Red Beans are finally ready to harvest.  As previously noted, we moved this spring and I left my seeds at the old place.  Most of these beans were planted from smaller, less than superb seeds.  They were slow to get going and didn’t look so hot at first.  However, as they grew that began to look amazing.  The leaves are so large and so green and they are growing like crazy.  I am letting plenty of long bean pods grow to maturity for the seeds.  When I harvest these beans this season, I am harvesting them a bit smaller than I used.

These plants are so full, dark green and growing all over.  I have already figured where I am going to plant them next spring.  They need at least 10 feet to grow up.  I have a section of cattle panel that was cut off at about 10 feet length.  I plan to mount it long edge high against a couple of treated 2×8, 10 foot boards, lag bolted to the garden timbers that make up my garden beds.  This will give them some height to grow up.
long red beans

These are young red bean pods.  The always grow in pairs off of the bud area where they grow from.  If you harvest them without destroying that bud area, a couple of more pods will later grow from that bud area.  This season, I am harvesting my beans when they are this young.  They stir-fry up better and are more tender.
chinese long red beans

This growth is out of hand.  I knew when I planted them on this 4′ high cattle panel that it wasn’t near high enough to allow for the full growth of these vines.  You can also see the squash leaves from the few winter squash vines growing in and among the beans.
long red beans

Another picture of Chinese Long Red Beans ready for harvest:  (The squash leaves have had powdery mildew – as you can see – however, bean leaves are immune to powdery mildew.


This long red bean pod is being allowed to grow to maturity, for seed.  Fruit for seed must grow to maturity.  You can begin to see the beans with in the pod showing their form.  I will leave these seed pods on the plant until they dry out.  They remain red, but the pod walls dry out.
long red beans for seed

Look at those large, dark, beautiful, disease-free bean leaves.  I am thinking that I may have a good crop of bean seeds for next spring’s planting.  These Chinese Long Red Beans are heirloom, open pollinated beans.

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Verigated Squash Leaves vs. Powdery Mildew

I received a comment questioning whether powdery mildew might actually be the natural coloring of certain squash leaves. I am creating this post in reply.

This first picture if of a normal variegated squash leaf. Some squash plants, especially winter squash plants, have leaves with white areas. These white areas are usually at the junction of leaf vines.

verigated leaf
This next picture is of small powdery mildew spots – note the fuzzy look to the round splotches randomly located all over the leaf:

powdery mildew

This leaf has powdery mildew spots all over it’s surface.  Note that the variegation is always at the angle corners of leaf vains.
verigated squash leaf with powdery mildew

Hope this can help you differentiate between normal leaf variegation and powdery mildew.

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A Hidden Patty Pan Scallop Squash

I purposely built my raised beds so that the summer squash plants would grow their vines/stems over the edge of the bed and grow onto the ground next to the bed. Well, I still have to think about this procedure and how it worked out. However, when looking thru the over-the-edge growth, I found this beauty hidden amongst the leaves. (It would have been optimal to harvest when it was about half this size).

patty pan squash

patty pan scallop squash
Very cool.

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