Monthly Archives: September 2014

Still Growth Problems – Aminopyralid Still Around?

After a total disaster this spring with planting in this bed, I decided to grow a quick crop of bush beans before I plant broccoli and cabbage seedlings in this bed – which will be covered with hoops & plastic this winter.  I figured that the added nitrogen would be good for the soil and I was looking forward to yellow wax beans.  Didn’t work out that way.

Well, one end of the bed – actually about 2/3 of the bed, the beans did not do well.  At this end, they were the most stunted, a bit less stunted in the middle of the 16 foot bed, and awesome (normal) at the other end of the bed.  Use the clay pot to show scale.  These beans are sorry looking and many of them are turning yellow and dying before any buds appear.  Others have buds, but won’t be able to produce many – if  any – bean pods.  So scrawny – so sad.  What a waste of good seed – Dow cost me more money and won’t take responsibility.  ( Now, all my reply emails to their rep go unanswered.  They just don’t care.  Dow Agriscience wants your $$$$$$$$ and screw the home gardener!)  Unfortunately, most of my bean seeds went into this end of the garden.
is aminopyralid still killing my garden?

This bean plant is what they should look like.  See those giant (normal sized) leaves?   And all those buds?  For some reason this end of this 16′ x 4′ raised bed is normal.  Something in the other end is causing stunted beans.  I fear it is still Dow’s widespread poison.  Beans are a test crop to see if that poison is in your compost.  Well, thanks Dow, you, like Monsanto, like to do evil things to gardens and seeds and heirloom crops.  Maybe by next spring your poison will be degraded enough that I can grow something in my garden.

(The piece of rebar below the clay pot is what I put my pvc conduit hoops onto to secure them so I can put plastic over the hoops – making my winter hoop garden beds.  I actually use 10′ sections of gray plastic electrical conduit of 1/2″ diameter, I think.  One end is enlarged, both ends fit well over 3/8″ rebar.  1/2″ rebar is too thick.  I bend the 10′ section over the 4′ wide bed.  It works out perfectly, leaving about 3′ internal height for the inside top center of the bed.  I bought 16′ sections of rebar and had my sons cut them into 2′ sections – pounding 12″ into the ground and leaving the other 12″ above ground to slip the conduit over).
beans as they should look like
Yeah – this is what a bush bean should look like.  Look at all those blooms – I have already harvested a few yellow wax beans.  I hope I can get enough for a decent serving.  This may be difficult though, since most of my beans were planted in the poor section of the garden.
yellow wax bens

I finally purchased a gallon jug of Garrett Juice, a foliar feed.  I sprayed all of these plants with it, adding some neem oil in it to help as insecticide.  I think it has helped – but couldn’t counter the effects of Dow’s poison on the smaller beans.  I could have mixed some up myself, but I can’t be confident in the animal manure compost component of the ingredients, so I purchased a jug.

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Fig Trees From Cuttings

We finally got all 5 remaining baby fig trees planted this summer.  The 3 3rd year figs seem to be doing  fine, but the 2 2nd year figs have just taken off.  It may be that the 3rd year figs were more root bound because they had an extra year of roots in the pot, or it could be that the places the 2nd year plants were placed were just better locations – I think it is a bit of both.

This is a 3rd year plant.  It is doing fine, but hasn’t bushed out like the 2nd year plants did.
planted fig tree cutting

This little guy has just taken off and bushed out.  Interestingly, it is in a hole that a fruit tree from the big box store couldn’t make it.  I think the hole has a drainage problem, but this fig seems to love it.  It is a 3 foot hole, about 3 feet deep, filled with bagged compost and soil because the area is solid red clay.  Well wait and see how it handles the wet winter and spring.
best growing transplanted fig

Since I have figured out how to root fig cuttings, I want to go back to my old place this winter and take dozens of cuttings from the remains of the old fig that these came from.  That way I should have at least a dozen more to plant in a few years.  I plan to plant them all thru the woods, in areas where the sun shines thru the canopy.  The wild life will thank me.

 

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Squash Bugs – Nymphs and Their Damage

These pics are from a month ago, before the plants died off.  I have since gone on a malathion rampage to wipe out as many squash bugs as possible before they hide for the winter.  I do this every fall.  And it worked – I see very few squash bugs.  In a new post I will show what my replanted squash plants look like now – they are jumbo and beautiful with narry a squash bug.  The very few that I have seen, I can squash with a gloved hand.

Here, I have circled 2 nymphs and a light spot on the leaf where a cluster of them had been sucking the life juice out of the leaf.
squash bug nymphs

Here is a cluster of eggs.  For some reason, most of the egg clusters that I find are on the bottom side of leaves even though most publications say they eggs can be found usually on the top of leaves.  Also in this picture are 2 holes left by a past feeding frenze of nymphs.  They kill sections of the leaf where they feast.
squash bug nymph holes in leaves

This is what their damage looks like from the top of the leaf.
squash bug nymph holes

A whole cluster of nymphs.  They are easier to squash when they are clustered – simply wipe over the lot of them with a finger.   I seem to have lots of  tiny little ants that always clean up the squash bug remains.
nymph squash bugs

During the winter I will still find adult squash bugs hidden around the shed and greenhouse.  Interesting where they find to hide.

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Brassica Seedlings

Time to get the broccoli and cabbages started and in the ground.  This is usually a difficult thing for me because it is usually so hot until about the end of September and then it can cool down quickly and I just have a hard time trying to get cole crops started when it is so hot.  This is just something that I have to work on, having the discipline to start seedlings when the charts say to.

Today I started planting the largest of my cabbage seedlings.  A few days ago I started planting broccoli in a bed that will be covered with plastic on hoops this winter.  I have found that cabbage is more likely to survive our mildly cold winters, but that broccoli is best sheltered during freezes.  I will also plant cabbage in it once the beans and basil are harvested.  I like to rotate crops, but this can be difficult when I have to scatter crops here and there in my limited raised beds – as one crop finishes the next can go in.  Oh, if I only had plenty of room to plant stuff together in an organized manner!

broccoli and cabbage seedlings

After a few weeks the tiny seedlings above grew into the larger seedlings below.  These are red and green cabbage seedlings.
cabbage seedlings

Broccoli is on the left and cabbage on the right, below.  Once the seedlings get this big, it is easy to tell them apart.

I fertilize my seedlings with either mild miracle grow or fish fertilizer – one or the other, constantly until I put them in the ground.
broccoli and cabbage seedlings

More seedlings.  I started several batches of cole seedlings during the course of several weeks.  The seedlings in the back right are vinca flowers.  Vinca is very hard to start during the cool spring – when flowers need to be started for spring planting.  During the hot summer, however, they sprout all over the place as the vinca flowers turn to seed pods that mature and pop all over.  I dug a few up from the base of the larger vincas.  It would be cool if I could keep these tiny seedlings alive during the winter – that would give me a giant head start on the spring flowers – unless they stunt during the low light and cool winter.
seedlings including vinca

I actually start my seedlings in small propagation trays and then transplant them into these larger pots before they finally go into the ground.  I really don’t know if all that work is necessary on my small scale garden.

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