Category Archives: Greenhouse

e Burgess.com Replacement Shipment

I am not very pleased with the plants that I purchased from Burgess (eburgess.com) last spring, 2015.  The shipment was several months late.  When the plants finally arrived, they were in poor condition and past prime spring planting time.  Most of them died, so I took Burgess up on their replacement warranty.  This is the replacement order they sent.  The fir trees you see are Colorado Blue Spruce.  The 3 Spruce in the original order were DOA on arrival, as was much of the shipment.  These replacement trees went immediately into tree pots.  They immediately started to drop needles and are now dead.  This is how the plants came out of the large green plastic shipping bag – some are wrapped in plastic, some just dried out bare root.  Not very impressive.   The 3 fat stems with the dried brown root mass are 3 replacement raspberries.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This is another replacement tree.  I’m sorry that I didn’t make note what tree was which, but they all looked rather sorry.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

This small bare root tree has one of it’s 2 stems broken.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

What a sad looking tree.

burgess nursery replacement shipment

Well, it’s been a warm February and some of my trees are already budding out.  Most of my Burgess.com trees aren’t looking too good and I know some are dead because there are fungus bumps at the soil line and when I scratch a tiny bit of bark it is black, not white or green.

I’ll give an update report in a few months after they all should be budded out and see what the death count is.  Burgess only offers a one time replacement, so the sorry plants they sent out this past fall are my replacements for the late shipment of disaster they sent in the spring of 2015.  Pretty bad over-all experience with Burgess.

Please follow and like us:

This Season’s Tomato & Pepper Seedlings

The Tomato and Pepper seedlings are coming along very well.
I started the tomatoes and peppers in small seed starting plug trays – with between 72 and 128 cells in each flat. This works very well.

I put at least 2 seeds in each hole, sometimes more if I think the pepper seeds won’t germinate well. I had almost full pepper germination! I have a hard time just pinching off the extra seedling, so I end up pulling the plug out, separating the roots and replanting them in recycled plastic plant holders. I put the one of the seedlings back into the plug tray using the original seed starting mix and I use garden soil/potting mix to plant the extra seedlings.

These Rutgers are the extra tomatoes that I replanted instead of just pinching them off. They are all doing well – this picture is a week old. Tomato and pepper seedlings seem to transplant very well with no stunting.

transplanted tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings in the original plug trays.  You can see Arizona Cypress seedlings in small pots.

tomato seedlings

These are 2 pepper plug trays.  Hot peppers are in one tray and sweet peppers in another.  These are not quite big enough for me to want to transplant them yet.   I am very pleased with the pepper germination.

transplanted tomato seedlings

I learned to seed tomatoes and peppers in separate trays because tomatoes germinate quicker and I can put them out in the cool greenhouse earlier.  I have to keep the peppers in the warm house longer as they fully germinate and this would cause any tomato seedlings to not get sufficient sun and get leggy.  Peppers also take longer for all different varieties to fully germinate and so I have to put them out in the sun during the day, then bring them back into the warm house for the night, then back outside the next day.  They only go out to the cooler greenhouse after all varieties have finally germinated.

Please follow and like us:

White Flies – Minuscule Bug, Massive Damage

This past season I was plagued by White Flies, a new problem for me, especially in the greenhouse.

The vicious end result of an explosion of white flies is the death of the plant.  The tiny, barely visible pests secrete a sticky substance called honeydew.  This honeydew causes fungus to grow on it and creates a black coating on the affected plant leaves.  This plant is a baby osage orange tree.  (The flies seem to especially like osage orange trees.)  Before you know what is happening, the leaves are covered with a drying, crusty black coating.  Here, I have sprayed water on the leaves and tried to rub some of it off.

black crust from honeydew caused by white flies

I googled around and found that insecticidal soap was the best natural treatment for them.  I used numerous applications of liquid soap – Murphy Wood Oil soap – increasing soap content percentage each try and nothing killed them.  The soap may have killed the flies that it actually landed on, but it obviously did nothing for the eggs and nymphs that were all over the underside of the leaves.  The next day, flies were all over the place again – either the ones I sprayed the day before, or a new hatching.  I also used my old favorite, neem oil, but that didn’t work either.

These are some white flies on the underside of flower leaves.  They are all over on most of the leaves.

white flies under leaves

There are so many flies that they are also on the top of the leaves.  They are tiny white bugs and the other spots are either eggs or nymphs – so tiny I can’t see them clearly.

white flies on top of leaves

The white fly is very tiny, maybe about 1/12 of an inch.  This past fall they were getting so bad all over the yard that they killed my large Cypress Vine planting and were getting all over the remaining garden plants.  Outside of the greenhouse, I didn’t spray the poison because there were other bugs that seemed to keep them in check.  However, inside the greenhouse, they were breeding rapidly and getting all over all of my plants that I was slowly bringing inside for the coming winter.  They even ruined numerous pots of Rosemary, Gum trees and other strong oiled plants.  Over just a few weeks, they contaminated almost every plant so I had to do something drastic.  That was to buy a bottle of Bifen I/T.  I read extensively online about killing white flies in the greenhouse and this seemed the best answer to solve the problem.  Several applications seemed to take care of the problem.  I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t let them survive and thrive overwinter in the greenhouse.

As of early February, I haven’t noticed a white fly problem.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

Late Season Bean Planting

After trying to get over the failure of my spring garden, probably due to Dow Agriscience’s poison aminopyralid, I have decided to replant some quick growers for the second half of our growing season here in Texas.  This bed is scheduled to have broccoli, cabbage and greens this fall.  However, since these crops won’t be planted for at least 6 to 8 weeks, I am going to try to get a quick crop of beans.

So far, the beans look OK.  I think that maybe most of the poison aminopyralid may have degraded in this bed.

This half of the bed is planted with yellow wax beans. I intend to pick them for fresh yellow beans and have no intention of saving seeds. This means that this crop should be done in 60 days.  There is basil planted all thru this bed – I planted it after my squash mysteriously started to dye – probably thanks to Dow’s poison aminopyralid that is now loose and ruining compost piles all over the western world.  One okra plant survived – barely holding on for the past few months, but now seems to have taken off – it is in the lower left side, circled in red. In the front right corner is a lone surviving pepper plant.  The peppers seem to be doing better – again I suspect that maybe Dow’s poison aminopyralid may be degrading.  The tomato next to the okra never recovered and really needs to be pulled.

yellow wax beans

This end of the garden – below – was initially planted with left over Seed Savers Painted Pony beans from a 2009 batch. The seeds were refrigerated, but I guess they were just too old – only 2 seeds sprouted. So, a week later I replanted the area with a few Bolita Bush bean seeds that I had left from Baker Creek, dated 2010. They sprouted and now they look like they are actually pole beans! As such, I had to put some tomato cages among them so that they have something to climb onto.  I had intended to only grow bush beans for 2 reasons: to improve the nitrogen in the bed and for something quick – bush beans mature quicker than pole beans. Well, this is a surprise an I hope that they will be done and producing by the time I have to yank them out to plant my broccoli seedlings in. I didn’t have enough seeds to cover this whole half of the bed, so I’ll just leave that bare spot unplanted for now.  I had planed to save some of these Bolita seeds – if the plants can mature quickly enough.

late summer bean crop

I still don’t have my greenhouse moved over to our new property and have had a very difficult time trying to get seeds to sprout.  These are my cabbages and broccoli seedlings.  The chinese cabbage seedlings were rained on and over half of them were lost.  I have reseeded these trays. I need several hundred chinese cabbage seedlings and at least 6 dozen cabbage transplants and at least that many broccoli seedlings.  I plan to grow the broccoli under my winter hooped garden beds and stick the cabbages all over – under the hoops and outside.  It can take the freeze.

broccoli cabbage seedlings

I have trouble knowing when to start the cabbages and broccoli because it is so hot here for so long and quickly gets cool.  It is almost too hot to get the seedlings started and then gets too cool to get them growing good in the garden.  I can’t even start the spinach until the soil cools to 75 degrees and at the same time I plant my lettuce.  I plan to direct seed the carrots, chard, beets and kale pretty soon.  The turnips are the last thing to get planted.  The winters seem to be getting colder and get here sooner.  I’m having trouble timing plantings.

Please follow and like us:

Sprouting Honeysuckle

We cut down some little trees that had honeysuckle growing on them.  I decided to try to sprout the honeysuckle.  Some parts of the vines were woody and some parts were soft and green.  I sliced the vines into 6 to 8 inch sections, dipped them into rooting hormone and placed them into a deep starter tray with regular potting soil.  A bit over half of the cuttings look like they made it.  Neither of the woody pieces rooted.

And the roots:

honey suckle roots

I think that I’ll wait until next spring to plant these little plants in the wild.  Hopefully I’ll have my greenhouse moved over by then and I can leave them in it overwinter.  This is the first time that I have rooted honeysuckle and I’ll just have to see how it does.

 

Please follow and like us:

Lavender Seedlings

I love to start plants from both seeds and cuttings.  While I have a large lavender plant to take cuttings from when I try to root them, I also have started many lavender seeds.  (Most of them died because at the time I couldn’t keep the seedlings moist).  This nifty, roomy 6 place tray is from the recycle shelf at a big box store – I have gotten quite a few nice trays and pots from the recycle center – recycled them right into my green house!!.  Note that this potting container is sitting in a tray to hold water so that the plants don’t dry out.
lavender seedlings

These are shelves on a little junior green house shelf, waiting for my real green house to get moved over here.  Note 2 of my brand new seedling trays sitting in a no-hole bottom tray to hold water and keep the seeding trays moist.  On the second shelf, to the left of my lavender is a recycled tray with a few coleus in it.  I am so pleased that a few coleus survived.  They are easier to propagate from cuttings, but I also like to start seeds.  Unfortunately, most of this batch of coleus dried out.  So, with new propagation/seeding trays, I am starting another batch of coleus.
lavender seedlings starting

Please follow and like us:

Cactus On The Porch – Waiting For The Greenhouse

My baby cactus patiently waiting on the porch for the arrival of the greenhouse.
cactus on porch waiting for greenhouse

Many of the little cactus were started from seed.  It ain’t easy, but some of the seeds do survive and grow.  Most of the tiny cactus are started from cuttings and pieces of larger cactus.  These guys can’t take all day full sun.  Where they are now, they get late afternoon soon.  They seem to be OK with that.

Please follow and like us:

Under the Hoops

This is the first winter that I have had a covered hoop garden.  A few posts ago, you can see the garden beds with the hoops in place.  The hoops are 10′ under ground gray conduit.  About a dollar and a half each, not bad. They are secured into the ground with a 2′ section of 3/8″ rebar, cut to 2′ sections and pounded half way into the ground.

The tent is a 24′ section of thicker plastic from Lowes.  It was a 100′ roll that cost $40 something.  I cut it into 4 sections, allowing about 4′ to hang over the ends and be gathered and secured.  I did not nail the plastic on – I simply weighed the long sides down with pieces of lumber.  Seemed to work OK.

Since the plastic is only on the beds for half the year – about October thru March – and not the hard summer sun, I am hoping that the pieces will last several years.

I was surprised at the amount of heat under the plastic on a cool winter day.  The greens seemed to like it.

under the hoop

You can see a few garlic scattered about.  The greens in the front are luculus chard.  The greens on the left side, mid way back are kohlrabi, which we are eating for the greens.  On the front right side, out of view, is Parris Isle cos lettuce.  (Some of it seemed to freeze to death – unusual because I have never had it freeze to death before).  Scarlet nantes carrots are growing in the far back right side.  They seem to be happy.  They better fill out in the next month because by mid-March when I plan on pulling them to make room for some of my summer squash to get an early start.  They prefer warm weather, but I am going to see if I can start them early under the hoops with the plastic sheeting protecting and warming them.  The yellow flowers on the back left side are bok choy going to seed.  It won’t be any good because no insects were in the tent to pollinate them.  They took a beating when the outside temps reached down to the mid-teens – the white stems died but the green leaves seemed to survive just fine.  Every thing else – except possibly some lettuce – survived the seriously freezing temps.

This was my first winter to experiment with plastic covered garden tents for winter hardening.  Next winter I need to get some serious production since I now have an idea of what’s going on.  I also found out that to protect my winter crops from the rabbits and deer, I need to grow everything except the turnips and curly kale under the hoops.  All of my lettuce and spinach that I planted outside the tents was eaten.

Please follow and like us: