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Posts posted by JWXnc

  1. I'm going to be on my third year of having a small garden.   Anyone have some ideas of some additions for a novice.   Lat year I had:



    Potatoes -- good, but they work well for me one year and were awful in subsequent years. Probably the wet/cool weather we had a couple years ago. They took up too much space for me for such a small return, but I'll try them again sometime.

    Tomatoes -- try a variety like Big Beef, or most any variety with "Mountain" in it's name. You'll want to look for the disease resistant varieties if disease takes over your plants each year. Nobody I know has had consistent results with Better Boy or many of the main kinds they sell as plants at stores. If you want to go heirloom, try Black Krim -- usually the first in my garden to produce, and produces a lot!

    Beans (snap beans) -- try a bush bean like Contender or Provider, or to save space try a pole bean like Rattlesnake. Rattlesnake beans do awesome, and I usually have to pick the beans every single day to keep up with them. The vines for me usually climb up a 7ft fence, and all the way back down again.

    Squash -- I prefer the flavor of yellow crookneck squash. But whatever you do, plant squash/cucumbers/melons/pumpkins from SEED -- do not buy plants for them at stores. Melon seed, for me at least, always do 200% better than bought plants. It's amazing how much difference it makes.

    Pumpkins -- To save space, try a semi-bush variety like Gladiator, which is also somewhat resistant to powdery mildew (they still get mildew in my garden in the humid summer with afternoon thunderstorms, but by the time it hits, the pumpkins are almost ready to harvest). I plant my pumpkin seeds around the end of April for the Raleigh area, and I usually pick my pumpkins around the 2nd week of July, wash them off with a bleach water mix, and store them in a dark closet indoors. They will still keep through January. Planting early also helps the plants get a jumpstart on the squash bugs, which show up for me around the end of May or early June. By then, pumpkins have already set and are steadily growing before the insects hit hard. I also tend to plant a trap crop of yellow squash -- the bugs in my garden always go for the squash plants before hitting my pumpkins. I also plant marigolds throughout my melon plants. Whether it helps or not, who knows.

    Cucumbers -- Arkansas Little Leaf has very small leaves, compact vine, and doesn't need good pollination to set fruit. Try a variety that is compact/bush or intended for containers

    Okra -- try a cowhorn variety, and you will have okra stalks about 7-8ft tall that grow all summer. I've also noticed that with the cowhorn varieties, you can let the okra pods get larger than with the common clemson spineless, and they wont get woody as fast.

    Peppers -- bell peppers are hit or miss for me. Some season they do well, some seasons I only get 2-3 from each plant.

    Purple Hull Peas -- always do well for me, are very forgiving of growing conditions


    Watermelons? Look for a compact or semi-vine or bush variety to save space

    Cantaloupe? Same, look for compact/semi-vine/bush

    Sweet Potatoes? Long vines, morning-glory-like flowers


    Corn? I never have luck with corn because it requires a LOT of nitrogen and water. My neighbors, however, always have corn plants that are seriously 10 foot tall with ears of corn almost the size of footballs...


    Plant some marigolds and zinnias or other annual flowers in and around your garden to attract the butterflies and bees and other pollinators. Keep-up with fertilizing and providing enough water. And if you want to bump-it-up a notch, look into a fungicide routine if your garden usually gets hit with disease early in the season. But most fungicides only work as a preventative... if you wait until disease already starts, it's typically too late!


    Spring and Fall stuff (I plant most of these in August/September for the Raleigh area, which allows them to mature in cooler weather):











  2. Beautiful pics, JWXnc.  Thanks for sharing.  I particularly like the one with the miniature windmill.  At least somebody got some ice out of this event...after 24 pages of discussion.


    Thanks, calc!  The ground is still white with all the ice on the grass (it looks like a heavy frost), trees are still covered, the porch is still a sheet of ice. It was a decent event here. The roads seem fine, but the landscape is beautiful with all the ice and icicles everywhere. Doesn't look like anything melted much today.

  3. Do any of y'all used tapatalk with your mobile phone. And is it better/faster I have a I phone 5s and at the bottom it says get the free IP board app for iPhone what is that? Just trying to see if anything is easier and faster for posting. Thanks!

    I use tapatalk. It's definitely convenient and easier than using the mobile website version of the forum when you're on the go. But I'm also using a 2 year old droid, so everything these days feels sluggish. Tapatalk is nice, though, since I keep track of 4-5 other different community forums, so having everything in one place with notifications is worth it, to me.

  4. ...




    NWS Raleigh surveyed the area today:









    * FATALITIES...0

    * INJURIES...0





    Another neat pic below of the storm in Franklin County shared by a neighbor who lives half a mile south of the damage site, she took this picture looking north where the damage in the photos occurred.


  5. radar indicated tornado warning, now, in the last 2 minutes.



    Nice hook echo headed towards Centerville, NC.  Doesn't appear to be reaching the ground on echo top scan.




    That Louisburg cell is about the best looking non tornado warned storm I have seen in a while....just based on radar you would think it had something going on.


    I was directly under the path of that storm today. All of a sudden during the storm the wind picked up strong blowing toward the north and snapped a few tree limbs in the backyard. Power went out. Within a few seconds, the wind flipped to blowing just as strong toward the south and snapped more tree limbs. The neighborhood has some pretty bad wind damage. Many, many trees down. Several barns destroyed. Pics attached. It all happened around the same time the tornado warning was issued -- I never even got the warning on my phone until after the winds calmed down. The path of this damage lines up pretty well with the storm reports of funnel clouds/tornadoes in Aventon a few minutes later. In fact, I was a little shocked to check the NWS storm reports when my power came back around 8:30PM and saw no reports for the area where these pictures were taken.






  6. I try and rotate, nothing specific. Kinda like tomatoes were here last year, I'll put them here this year. Same with squash etc..

    My buddy swears by seven, and I might give it a shot. As CR said some people really frown upon it. I've only used on my Birch trees to control Japanese beetles.

    A lot of people frown upon sevin and other broad-scale insect killers because they kill 100+ types of bugs, including honeybees and other beneficial insects that help pollinate and protect the garden. Ladybugs, for example, eat aphids off your plants, and the specific type of wasp can take care of horn worms on your plants. Sevin can supposedly be carried back to the beehive and wipe out the entire colony of bees. Unless you have an overwhelming bug problem, I think most experts would suggest using targeted products that kill the specific bugs you have trouble with, and not the beneficial bees/insects. That said, there was one year my apple tree was absolutely covered with Japanese beetles, so I pulled out the sevin dust. Same for the year I had literally thousands of squash bugs in my garden. I use it as an absolute last resort, not as a weekly treatment.

  7. I think you hit on something I started to put together last year. I have been buying packs of seeds from the grocery store every year. Each year the plants come out and grow vigorously. Then, the vine borers, squash bugs, and powdery mildew go to work on them. I might get one pumpkin to even start growing. But the plant dies before it can really even get going.

    So the year before last, I bought a big pumpkin from a local farmer. I saved some of the seeds. I planted them last year. This time, it seemed the plant was much more resistant to the various attackers. I actually grew a pumpkin about the size of a cantaloupe. Unfortunately, I planted too late (trying to avoid the pests) and the frost got me.

    So this year, I'm not going to buy those seeds from the store. I'll use the seeds I got out of the local pumpkin. Not sure why that makes a difference, but it seems like it does....especially since you mentioned about the store seeds not working for you either.


    If the local pumpkin was a hybrid variety, the seeds may not produce the same pumpkin with the same disease resistance, strength, vigor, etc. The grocery store variety I grew was the plain Jack o Lantern. Those vines grew straight for about 10-15 feet, and the pumpkins were the size of cantaloupes, like you said. The hybrid pumpkins often have much better disease resistance and vigor. Gladiator, for example, is also a semi-vine. It is much much more bushy than the store variety, so the pumpkins grow within about 3 feet of where I planted the seed. Eventually, later in the season, the vines spread to about 10 feet, but that's well after I have already cut the pumpkins off. So some varieties are much better space savers if you have a small garden.



  8. The Vine Borer is the worst enemy in my garden. I love to grow squash and pumpkins, but these things are ridiculous. There's literally nothing you can do about them other than pull the plant after they find it. I've cut out the larva, but they always come back. I can't keep a pumpkin plant alive long enough to grow a pumpkin. This year, I'm going to use sevin dust on my pumpkins. I know some don't like that stuff, I don't care. I'm not going to eat them.

    I never had luck with the pumpkin varieties you get in packs from retail stores. So I bought a variety called Gladiator from an online store (Harris Seeds carries them, so does Southern States), and they grow great in my backyard! I also plant my pumpkin seeds this time of year, cut the fully-grown pumpkins shortly after July 4, wash them with a very mild bleach-water mix, and store them in a dark closet until September. They still last outside through about the end of January, and growing them early in the season avoids the heat and summer pests.

  9. The only pests I have a problem with year after year in my vegetable garden:

    • the so-far unidentified critters (slugs, snails maybes?) that always eat holes in my young beans and seedlings. Diatomaceous Earth takes care of those as long as it's not rainy every single day.
    • aphids on a few of my tomatoes. Soapy water takes care of those.
    • stink bugs on beans and tomatoes, and squash bugs on my pumpkins. I plant marigolds among all my squash/cukes/pumpkins, and I hand-pick the bugs and drop them in soapy water. And watch them drown. And it gives me a good feeling inside.

    Nothing else has really bothered my garden so far. So far.

  10. Yeah, the white things on the back are eggs from a wasp that preys on the hornworm. The worms are nasty and show up overnight. They can easily be picked off if you stay diligent. Don't know of anything to kill them, putting insecticide on edibles for humans can be tricky. Just read labels and check the Internet and maybe Clemson extension , call them or online , they are very helpful and knowledgable , and used science based facts!

    Bt (Bacillus Thuringienses) usually works for most all caterpillars or worm-like pests. It's not an instant kill, but I have found it very effective on my cabbage plants and walnut tree that was overtaken by caterpillars last year. For hornworms, I usually just hand pick them if the wasps haven't killed them already.

  11. Have the peach trees started budding/flowering yet? Wondering what tonight and tomorrow night's lows in the 20's are going to do to them and the strawberries, which should be close to flowering as well.


    Check the critical temperatures for fruit trees: I usually protect my trees (and berries) if the overnight lows are within 3-4 degrees of the critical temps, just to be safe. My backyard tends to run colder since it's a rural area.

  12. December 2002 was not a surprise.

    I agree -- I remember Greg Fishel showing a computer model a few days before that wasn't just showing pink colors for intensity of freezing rain in/NW of Raleigh -- it was dark pink and almost black at times.

    I think the surprise was that most people didn't know what to expect in terms of damage and having never seen that much freezing rain before. It's not that they were calling for plain rain the entire event and it ended up as ice all of a sudden. Freezing rain/mix was in the forecast.

  13. By the way, if school is cancelled after the buses begin to run their morning routes it counts as a full day. Some counties play games with that one.

    I'm curious if they really still count a day as full if the busses run. I remember they used to, but it seems like there has been a ton of talk on TV this year about instructional hours and basing makeup days on the number of hours that are required by law to be instruction time. Several schools systems around here are making up days by extending the school day by 5-10+ minutes each day for the rest of the school year.


    Well I guess all the watches and warning of impending doom weren't enough for Raleigh folks.  I'll have to give the NWS a grade of F in their primary mission of protecting life and property.   :whistle:


    The weather in the Raleigh-Durham area caught North Carolinians off guard when it changed from a "non-precipitation event to heavy snowfall," the State Highway Patrol's Public Information Officer tells us.
    by Sarah Aarthun 4:24 PM




    Yeah, that change happened three days ago. WTF are they smoking?



    It's always easy to blame someone else for their own failings.



    The start time for this event was actually pretty well forecast. The models were consistently showing the precip getting here between noon and 2 PM, and the NWS was saying the same. They shouldn't be blamed for their forecast actually being correct. I guess everyone figured that since the last one took forever to start, that that meant all storms would take forever to start.



    I think that quote is open to misinterpretation. I would bet the State Highway Patrol's Public Information Officer meant something along the lines of "it went from cloudy skies and clear roads to heavy snow and covered roads in less than 20 minutes" -- not that the forecast was bad, just how the observable conditions changed rapidly and caught people off-guard.

  15. Thats what I don't understand.

    Every time we have a winter storm the News crews are reporting " the snow shovels and sleds are gone" yada yada yada.

    I moved here 16 years ago and invested in a snow shovel and still have the same shovel. I know we have a hard time getting a good thumping in the SE but why in the world does all the snow shovels disappear every time we get a storm?

    A friend shared a photo of snow shovels for sale at Walmart back before the January storm... ALL of the shovels looked obviously used, with dirt and scratches on the edges. Maybe people use them, then return them? Was a funny picture to see!

  16. As Greg Fishel just said...


    I fixed your quote for you:


    "Five days ago, there were computer model forecasts that were DUMPING on the east coast this weekend... and suddenly that storm is gone! Just like that! So, (Debra Morgan interrupting: "too soon to tell?") yea, same thing could happen to this one."

  17. It's been several days, though.  My neighborhood roads were never treated (and never have been except in the aftermath of January 2000 ... a week later), but they're clear except for some ice/snow in the shady areas.  Yes, there are icy spots in the shade, but sometimes you just have to deal with it.  You can't shut down forever.

    This is an interesting news story related to all this: http://www.wral.com/tryon-road-a-study-in-snow-plowing/13347442/