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Still waiting on the first tomato, should be pretty soon. Have had some sweet corn in the last couple of days. Wife has put up a bunch of green beens, but they have been a little buggy this year. Lots of squash, cukes, and zuchini. She has been dehydrating some if the squash and zuchini. Was a little behind on the okra so its still a ways off. 

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Not a great year for bell peppers yet w the cool May nights.  They will eventually get going.  Thai, Serrano, and Anaheims are doing well. I am two weeks behind as I had tree removed to get more light...Tomatoes are 2-3 weeks out.   Melons are about four weeks out.  Okra looks good.  Potatoes look good.  Beans are going nuts as are cucumbers/squash(similar to Coach's report).  Stuff is growing like crazy.  So far(fingers crossed) this should be a really good year.  As for squirrels(chipmunks in this case), man they laid waste to my peanuts early on.  Had to net the peanuts...those little #%!s.  I just about went Caddyshack on the little herbivores.  LOL.   Sunflowers are just monsters.  Sweet potatoes finall pay decided to take-off.  

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Here's a big ol' mater from a week ago:

wNcAL2P.jpg

Ended up with the best garlic crop I've ever had, here's a couple of pics from the first of June:

mecR7Um.jpg

 

kt4oKuM.jpg

 

True story time.  I took about a third of the garlic seen in that photo, shelled it, put it in a food processor and then into the dehydrator.  As you can imagine, the smell was STRONG.  It was a good smell, but it stunk up the entire house.  This was in my garage workshop and it got into the air conditioning system and propagated throughout.  I turned some heads at Weigles that day because I REEKED of friggin garlic.  I let it go overnight at 125 degrees.

The next day the smell in the house wasn't quite as strong.  My wife texted around 3pm that she thought she smelled a hint of natural gas in the house, thought perhaps one of the kids had fiddled with a knob on the cook top.  I told her it had to be the garlic and not to worry.  I come home after work, open the garage door and my nose burned from what smelled exactly like natural gas (with the odor that is added to it to ensure you smell it in case of a leak).  On the one hand I thought this is just too much of a coincidence, surely I didn't get a gas leak the day after stinking up the house with garlic.  On the other hand, I wanted to play it safe and figured I'd call KUB.

I get KUB on the phone, told them about the garlic and the current gas smell.  They said I did the right thing by calling and that they'd send someone out to check.  Dude rolls up 20 minutes later with a methane meter.  He takes one step into my garage and the meter was PEGGED!!  He's said "yep, you definitely have a leak.  That smell is unmistakable".  I said "well, s**t are we about to explode?"  He said well no, the meter showed 2,000 ppm and it would take 40,000 ppm to 'splode.  Still, he searched the entire house and said it was baffling that he couldn't find the source.  The meter was getting high readings all over the house.  He said it was stronger than he'd seen in houses where there was a known leak.

Before he shut all the gas off, he wanted to do an experiment.  He put the meter next to one of those big ass garlic heads, and it registered a little higher.  I grabbed the bag of chopped up, weapons grade dehydrated garlic and said "stick it in here and see what you get."  He did and the meter absolutely blew up!  2,500 or more ppm.  He did another test of the outside meter to see if any gas was being consumed, it wasn't, and we confirmed it was the friggin garlic setting off that methane meter!

He said he's been inspecting gas leaks for 20 years and never saw garlic do that lol.  So now if you decide to dry garlic, you know what to expect.  Weapons.  Grade.

:guitar:

 

 

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4 hours ago, Stovepipe said:

Here's a big ol' mater from a week ago:

wNcAL2P.jpg

Ended up with the best garlic crop I've ever had, here's a couple of pics from the first of June:

mecR7Um.jpg

 

kt4oKuM.jpg

 

True story time.  I took about a third of the garlic seen in that photo, shelled it, put it in a food processor and then into the dehydrator.  As you can imagine, the smell was STRONG.  It was a good smell, but it stunk up the entire house.  This was in my garage workshop and it got into the air conditioning system and propagated throughout.  I turned some heads at Weigles that day because I REEKED of friggin garlic.  I let it go overnight at 125 degrees.

The next day the smell in the house wasn't quite as strong.  My wife texted around 3pm that she thought she smelled a hint of natural gas in the house, thought perhaps one of the kids had fiddled with a knob on the cook top.  I told her it had to be the garlic and not to worry.  I come home after work, open the garage door and my nose burned from what smelled exactly like natural gas (with the odor that is added to it to ensure you smell it in case of a leak).  On the one hand I thought this is just too much of a coincidence, surely I didn't get a gas leak the day after stinking up the house with garlic.  On the other hand, I wanted to play it safe and figured I'd call KUB.

I get KUB on the phone, told them about the garlic and the current gas smell.  They said I did the right thing by calling and that they'd send someone out to check.  Dude rolls up 20 minutes later with a methane meter.  He takes one step into my garage and the meter was PEGGED!!  He's said "yep, you definitely have a leak.  That smell is unmistakable".  I said "well, s**t are we about to explode?"  He said well no, the meter showed 2,000 ppm and it would take 40,000 ppm to 'splode.  Still, he searched the entire house and said it was baffling that he couldn't find the source.  The meter was getting high readings all over the house.  He said it was stronger than he'd seen in houses where there was a known leak.

Before he shut all the gas off, he wanted to do an experiment.  He put the meter next to one of those big ass garlic heads, and it registered a little higher.  I grabbed the bag of chopped up, weapons grade dehydrated garlic and said "stick it in here and see what you get."  He did and the meter absolutely blew up!  2,500 or more ppm.  He did another test of the outside meter to see if any gas was being consumed, it wasn't, and we confirmed it was the friggin garlic setting off that methane meter!

He said he's been inspecting gas leaks for 20 years and never saw garlic do that lol.  So now if you decide to dry garlic, you know what to expect.  Weapons.  Grade.

:guitar:

 

 

LOL.  That is freakin awesome.     

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What do y'all have going for the cool season?  I started a few things in August that are looking pretty good right now although I'm fighting the green worms as usual.  Got a few collards, broccoli, cabbage, onions, and garlic.  Also for the first time, I'm trying to some perennial tree collards.  They're in large buckets for now so that I can move them inside if it gets much below 20 degrees, but I'm hoping to see these get really tall and propagate with cuttings later.

Still getting a few tomatoes and peppers.  Herbs are still rocking although basil is just about done.  It's been a pretty good gardening year, I can't complain.

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I moved my 4 buckets of tree collards into the garage during the Dec cold snap, only watered em once since then.  Amazingly enough they look happy right now, despite me being too busy/lazy to move them back outside!  That is one tough variety of plant.  I'm gonna turn em loose into some chicken dirt come March and see what they do.  Might have to organize a Tennessee Valley Forum Collard Cookoff next fall, whose with me?

:guitar:

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Well, what did y'all get planted this past weekend?  Half of east Tennessee showed up at the west Knoxville Lowes Saturday.  The place was as crazy as I've ever seen it.

I've been doing a lot of work on the gardens, still quite a bit more to do.  I'm trying to get more perennials established.  Purple Tree Collards, Walking Stick Tree Kale, Tulsi Basil, Comfrey, Goji berries, grapes, fig and soon apple trees.  The usual warm season annual stuff too of course.  Lets see some garden pics! 

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We are way behind. Had some frost this morning so not a big deal except for the lack of early season stuff. Supposed to get it tilled tomorrow, then will have to fence out the chickens. Hopefully will get much of it in the ground by Friday. MIL says we are getting our own tiller for the tractor next year. 

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50 minutes ago, Stovepipe said:

Well, what did y'all get planted this past weekend?  Half of east Tennessee showed up at the west Knoxville Lowes Saturday.  The place was as crazy as I've ever seen it.

I've been doing a lot of work on the gardens, still quite a bit more to do.  I'm trying to get more perennials established.  Purple Tree Collards, Walking Stick Tree Kale, Tulsi Basil, Comfrey, Goji berries, grapes, fig and soon apple trees.  The usual warm season annual stuff too of course.  Lets see some garden pics! 

I can attest to how busy the garden centers were this weekend! Cleared out the brush trying to overtake all of my blackberries... only to realize I just made the deer's job (finding the tasty blackberry flowers) much easier haha. Haven't tried a garden at our house yet (did a couple of potted veggies last year), still amending the very poor shalely soil. Really good at growing crabgrass :blahblah:

Planted a bunch of triple crown and natchez thornless blackberries two years ago and they have probably quadrupled in size the last few weeks. Hopefully, I get ONE damn blackberry this year hahaha. May have to fence it... or just enjoy the cute critters drawn to it

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Right now I have lettuce, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, strawberries, rhubarb, potatoes, and fava beans planted.  Fava beans are now easily my favorite early, early season crop.  Those suckers can survive anything.  And they look cool too!  Still have a ton to put in the ground.  Just ordered some peppers last night.  I know it sounds crazy, but getting plants by mail is pretty easy.  The plants normally hold-up well during shipping.  Ordered sweet potatoes last night from a local Tennessee company.  My focus this season will be on Italian heirlooms and Middle Eastern heirlooms, specifically from Iraq and Syria.   Italian beans and squashes have a very rich taste.  Middle Eastern heirlooms are in serious trouble...so I am growing 3-4 varieties here this year.   I like history...so maybe that helps.  I also grow several Hispanic varieties of peppers.  They have just the right amount of pop when making Mexican dishes.  I am trying fingerling potatoes again this year along w a staple russet, German Butterball.  I grew peanuts last year and they did well.  However, not enough yield in my medium-sized garden to justify the space.  Now, if I had a large garden...I would plant peanuts every year.  Awesome plant and easy to grow - if you can keep squirrels and chipmunks from digging up the seedlings.  They know that a seed is at the base of it.  Makes me want to go full Caddyshack on those buggers.  

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@StovepipeJust tagging on to your comment in the pattern thread...my garden has gone nuts!  That said, I am worried that this humidity is going to allow tomato blight to take hold.  Do you have anything that you apply to your tomatoes to keep them from getting the blight that begins as yellow leaves on the bottom of the plant and then works its way up - anti fungal spray or fertilizer?

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I will add that the quickly warming weather has put the kibosh on my fava beans.  They needed just normal temps for May....they are similar to peas in that they need it cool.  I still may get a few.  Ah well, such is life.  

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17 hours ago, Carvers Gap said:

@StovepipeJust tagging on to your comment in the pattern thread...my garden has gone nuts!  That said, I am worried that this humidity is going to allow tomato blight to take hold.  Do you have anything that you apply to your tomatoes to keep them from getting the blight that begins as yellow leaves on the bottom of the plant and then works its way up - anti fungal spray or fertilizer?

Glad your garden is thriving too!  As far as tomato blight I don't really have an answer for you as I've not had widespread problems with it.  Although, I do have one random plant that is yellowing and it may very well be due to that.  Last night I pour a compost tea made from chicken poop and comfrey on it, we'll see what happens.

 

17 hours ago, Carvers Gap said:

I will add that the quickly warming weather has put the kibosh on my fava beans.  They needed just normal temps for May....they are similar to peas in that they need it cool.  I still may get a few.  Ah well, such is live.  

I have a few fava beans going this year as well for the first time, evidently I picked the wrong year to try em haha.  Historically I've planted bell beans in the fall as a cover crop along with winter rye.  They are similar to fava beans but are cold hardy and survive the winter.

Along with the annual warm season stuff I've tried to focus on getting perennials setup this year.  We got pear, peach, plum, apple, and kiwi trees in the ground along with a variety of berry bushes.  Throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks in this zone.  The backyard is turning into a food forest!

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17 hours ago, Carvers Gap said:

@StovepipeJust tagging on to your comment in the pattern thread...my garden has gone nuts!  That said, I am worried that this humidity is going to allow tomato blight to take hold.  Do you have anything that you apply to your tomatoes to keep them from getting the blight that begins as yellow leaves on the bottom of the plant and then works its way up - anti fungal spray or fertilizer?

Early blight is pretty much impossible to completely stave off, but you can certainly delay the onset and slow spreading. The most important preventative measure you can take is to prune all leaves, branches, and suckers within about a foot of the ground. The disease starts when dirt containing the fungus splashes up on foliage, so if you can avoid that, it'll go a long way toward keeping the plant healthy longer. Combine that with a normal Daconil type fungicide, and fertilize with Neptune's Harvest or some other slow-release form of nitrogen to ensure that new growth keeps pace with the dying lower vegetation.

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On 6/1/2018 at 10:03 AM, Juliancolton said:

Early blight is pretty much impossible to completely stave off, but you can certainly delay the onset and slow spreading. The most important preventative measure you can take is to prune all leaves, branches, and suckers within about a foot of the ground. The disease starts when dirt containing the fungus splashes up on foliage, so if you can avoid that, it'll go a long way toward keeping the plant healthy longer. Combine that with a normal Daconil type fungicide, and fertilize with Neptune's Harvest or some other slow-release form of nitrogen to ensure that new growth keeps pace with the dying lower vegetation.

Thank you for the post and stop by often!  I normally trim the yellow leaves off...sometimes I wonder if I spread it by working in the tomatoes by doing this.  I usually try to make sure the plants are dry before working in them, and that my scissors are cleaned after each use.  I also put diseased plant material well away from the garden.  I do rotate my tomatoes.  About half of my plants are hybrids that are resistant to blight.  However, we have had a period of near tropical warmth and humidity....that is a killer in my garden.  Now, I only have one or two plants where the yellowing has begun.  I like @Stovepipe 's compost tea idea.  I may have to resort to Daconil as a fungicide.  I have tried to be generally organic in my garden practices over the past few years, but that can be tough at this latitude w the nightshade family.  I did resort to using Sevin this year to hold off some bugs that were in my cucumbers and also in my watermelons.  I think one practice that I will discontinue is using wood chips as garden path material  near the tomatoes.  I have read that chips sometimes can weaken tomato plants.  I should get a decent crop, but late season tomatoes may be doomed in my garden - LOL.  Another solution might be to plant tomatoes that are early producers?  That way they can beat the blight.  What I am really looking for is something to slow down the situation - compost tea and Daconil are probably the most realistic fixes.

Stove, how do you make your compost tea?

 

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On 6/1/2018 at 9:44 AM, Stovepipe said:

Glad your garden is thriving too!  As far as tomato blight I don't really have an answer for you as I've not had widespread problems with it.  Although, I do have one random plant that is yellowing and it may very well be due to that.  Last night I pour a compost tea made from chicken poop and comfrey on it, we'll see what happens.

 

I have a few fava beans going this year as well for the first time, evidently I picked the wrong year to try em haha.  Historically I've planted bell beans in the fall as a cover crop along with winter rye.  They are similar to fava beans but are cold hardy and survive the winter.

Along with the annual warm season stuff I've tried to focus on getting perennials setup this year.  We got pear, peach, plum, apple, and kiwi trees in the ground along with a variety of berry bushes.  Throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks in this zone.  The backyard is turning into a food forest!

I am definitely considering fruit trees...however, deer are a HUGE problem in my neighborhood.  My garden has a 6' fence which deter them, because these deer are relatively and thankfully short.  I have a standard Rio Grande fence for the yard which is barely an inconvenience for them - the aforementioned garden fence is Fort Knox w a lower level of chicken wire embedded in the ground to stop groundhogs.  I suppose I could cage each tree until they are big enough - would make mowing a pain though.  I want to plant plums and apples.  I found some dwarf varieties that will work in terms of space.  I will likely plant some in the fall if time permits.  I had intended to this spring. Keep us updated.   Hey, it is raining so much and w the high humidity....I can barely keep my yard mowed!  LOL.

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So far, this looks like it will be a good year for squash(have cool Italian and Lebanese heirlooms that I think will produce...Rigosa Friulana and Lebanese, respectfully), okra, melons, strawberries, and beans.  As mentioned above, I think my tomatoes will be average in productions.  Last year, I had 96 lbs of sweet potatoes pulled from a 25' row.  I will gladly take half of that.  Those things were massive.  The sweet potatoes should do well again this year.  I am trying a variety of fingerling potatoes again this year of a bit of an absence.  My main crop of potatoes are Cranberry(All Red) and German Butterball.

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Hi guys,  

 

I went  with a smaller garden this year.  My tomato plants are massive this year.  My pepper plants have just recently started going ape **** too.  I’m looking forward to harvesting the first batch of everything in the next week or so.  

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4 hours ago, Carvers Gap said:

Thank you for the post and stop by often!  I normally trim the yellow leaves off...sometimes I wonder if I spread it by working in the tomatoes by doing this.  I usually try to make sure the plants are dry before working in them, and that my scissors are cleaned after each use.  I also put diseased plant material well away from the garden.  I do rotate my tomatoes.  About half of my plants are hybrids that are resistant to blight.  However, we have had a period of near tropical warmth and humidity....that is a killer in my garden.  Now, I only have one or two plants where the yellowing has begun.  I like @Stovepipe 's compost tea idea.  I may have to resort to Daconil as a fungicide.  I have tried to be generally organic in my garden practices over the past few years, but that can be tough at this latitude w the nightshade family.  I did resort to using Sevin this year to hold off some bugs that were in my cucumbers and also in my watermelons.  I think one practice that I will discontinue is using wood chips as garden path material  near the tomatoes.  I have read that chips sometimes can weaken tomato plants.  I should get a decent crop, but late season tomatoes may be doomed in my garden - LOL.  Another solution might be to plant tomatoes that are early producers?  That way they can beat the blight.  What I am really looking for is something to slow down the situation - compost tea and Daconil are probably the most realistic fixes.

Stove, how do you make your compost tea?

 

It sounds like you have your bases pretty well covered! Yeah, handling the plants is a big contributor to spreading the fungus higher, especially if there's a lot of moisture around. At some point you just have to do what ya can and hope for the best.

I neglected to get the first Sevin application out early enough this year, and lost a number of cucurbits to the beetles almost overnight. They seem especially bad in my area this year.

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On 6/2/2018 at 10:24 AM, Carvers Gap said:

Thank you for the post and stop by often!  I normally trim the yellow leaves off...sometimes I wonder if I spread it by working in the tomatoes by doing this.  I usually try to make sure the plants are dry before working in them, and that my scissors are cleaned after each use.  I also put diseased plant material well away from the garden.  I do rotate my tomatoes.  About half of my plants are hybrids that are resistant to blight.  However, we have had a period of near tropical warmth and humidity....that is a killer in my garden.  Now, I only have one or two plants where the yellowing has begun.  I like @Stovepipe 's compost tea idea.  I may have to resort to Daconil as a fungicide.  I have tried to be generally organic in my garden practices over the past few years, but that can be tough at this latitude w the nightshade family.  I did resort to using Sevin this year to hold off some bugs that were in my cucumbers and also in my watermelons.  I think one practice that I will discontinue is using wood chips as garden path material  near the tomatoes.  I have read that chips sometimes can weaken tomato plants.  I should get a decent crop, but late season tomatoes may be doomed in my garden - LOL.  Another solution might be to plant tomatoes that are early producers?  That way they can beat the blight.  What I am really looking for is something to slow down the situation - compost tea and Daconil are probably the most realistic fixes.

Stove, how do you make your compost tea?

 

For compost tea, up to and including this spring, I simply put a handful of chicken poop in a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with rain water.  After soaking a few days, I'll either scoop out some of that concentrate and put it in a watering can with more rain water, or just scoop it directly on to the base of plants.  Seems to work pretty well, a poor mans miracle-grow if you will.

Now, starting this season I've been growing comfrey all over the yard from root cuttings I bought off ebay.  This is known as the swiss army knife of gardening.  There are a ton of great uses for the plant (hit up youtube for some great info).  It has a tap root that sucks up all sorts of nutrients from the soil and puts them in the leaves.   Several times a year you can "chop and drop" the leaves to provide a rich compost on the ground.  You can also put the leaves in a compost tea.  My comfrey isn't huge yet so I've not been able to really add it in large quantities to tea yet but it's taking off like crazy so it won't be long.  Comfrey is also a great protein rich animal fodder for chickens.  The variety I'm using has sterile seed so it won't spread invasively but will grow back from root year after year.  You can propagate it easily from root cuttings.  I'll mail you some roots if you want, just DM me your adddress.

Out of my 25 or so tomato plants, two of them now have the blight.  I always cover my stuff in woodchips and historically haven't had any noticeable problems with that in my backyard but it stands to reason that they will keep the plant wetter for longer so I may push away some of the chips near the base of the blight plants.

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On 6/2/2018 at 10:32 AM, Carvers Gap said:

I am definitely considering fruit trees...however, deer are a HUGE problem in my neighborhood.  My garden has a 6' fence which deter them, because these deer are relatively and thankfully short.  I have a standard Rio Grande fence for the yard which is barely an inconvenience for them - the aforementioned garden fence is Fort Knox w a lower level of chicken wire embedded in the ground to stop groundhogs.  I suppose I could cage each tree until they are big enough - would make mowing a pain though.  I want to plant plums and apples.  I found some dwarf varieties that will work in terms of space.  I will likely plant some in the fall if time permits.  I had intended to this spring. Keep us updated.   Hey, it is raining so much and w the high humidity....I can barely keep my yard mowed!  LOL.

If you decide to plant fruit trees or berry bushes this fall, check out http://www.penseberryfarm.com/.  That's where I ordered all my stuff.  They are located in Arkansas and are decently priced.  More importantly, they have all the information on that site for pairing up compatible varieties.  If you don't have the right pairs of trees/bushes within a pollinator's distance you may not get fruit.  My Pense order this spring consisted of 2 apples, 1 plum, 1 peach, 2 kiwis, 2 elderberrys, 2 honeyberrys, and 2 gooseberrys.  I also put in some grapes, a fig, and 2 goji berries from Lowes.  I put some of these in partial sun so I may not get the best result but I'm going to experiment and see what works.

Following permaculture advise from friend that is an instructor, I've been building garden beds around each tree and putting in plants that support it in a variety of ways.  These "guilds" consist of onions, daffodils, dill, comfrey, yarrow, bee balm, sun flowers, and some strawberries and asparagus.  Again, it's a bit experimental but I always like to try a few new things every year and see what works best for my yard.

Oh, and regarding dwarf varieties.  I've had people tell me that true dwarfs don't do particularly good in east TN and that it's better to go with a semi-drwarf and just keep them pruned well.  Pense uses optimal root stocks on their trees.  You can google the name of the root stock listed and read about it's properties.  Something to think about and research further before you pull the trigger.

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On 6/2/2018 at 10:54 AM, LithiaWx said:

Hi guys,  

 

I went  with a smaller garden this year.  My tomato plants are massive this year.  My pepper plants have just recently started going ape **** too.  I’m looking forward to harvesting the first batch of everything in the next week or so.  

Right on brother, that sounds great!  How are the blooms on your mater plants?  My mom's garden in west TN has massive plants but relatively few blooms.  Granted they have been getting an incredible amount of rain, like 2 and 3 inches per storm in some cases.  I'm sure her blooms will catch up eventually, if she can avoid the blight.  She generously uses Miracle Grow so I'm wondering if perhaps they are getting a little bit too much nitrogen.  We'll all have gardening completely figured out someday then we'll be too old to fool with it haha!

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On 6/2/2018 at 10:40 AM, Carvers Gap said:

So far, this looks like it will be a good year for squash(have cool Italian and Lebanese heirlooms that I think will produce...Rigosa Friulana and Lebanes, respectfully), okra, melons, strawberries, and beans.  As mentioned above, I think my tomatoes will be average in productions.  Last year, I had 96 lbs of sweet potatoes pulled from a 25' row.  I will gladly take half of that.  Those things were massive.  The sweet potatoes should do well again this year.  I am trying a variety of fingerling potatoes again this year of a bit of an absence.  My main crop of potatoes are Cranberry(All Red) and German Butterball.

I'm always impressed with your knowledge of exotic varieties of vegetables.  Are you still doing the seed saver club or whatever it's called?

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On 6/4/2018 at 10:04 AM, Stovepipe said:

If you decide to plant fruit trees or berry bushes this fall, check out http://www.penseberryfarm.com/.  That's where I ordered all my stuff.  They are located in Arkansas and are decently priced.  More importantly, they have all the information on that site for pairing up compatible varieties.  If you don't have the right pairs of trees/bushes within a pollinator's distance you may not get fruit.  My Pense order this spring consisted of 2 apples, 1 plum, 1 peach, 2 kiwis, 2 elderberrys, 2 honeyberrys, and 2 gooseberrys.  I also put in some grapes, a fig, and 2 goji berries from Lowes.  I put some of these in partial sun so I may not get the best result but I'm going to experiment and see what works.

Following permaculture advise from friend that is an instructor, I've been building garden beds around each tree and putting in plants that support it in a variety of ways.  These "guilds" consist of onions, daffodils, dill, comfrey, yarrow, bee balm, sun flowers, and some strawberries and asparagus.  Again, it's a bit experimental but I always like to try a few new things every year and see what works best for my yard.

Oh, and regarding dwarf varieties.  I've had people tell me that true dwarfs don't do particularly good in east TN and that it's better to go with a semi-drwarf and just keep them pruned well.  Pense uses optimal root stocks on their trees.  You can google the name of the root stock listed and read about it's properties.  Something to think about and research further before you pull the trigger.

GREAT info, Stovepipe.  I would definitely like to buy trees from a place of similar latitude.  The sites that I use currently for heirlooms are...

https://www.rareseeds.com

...and I do still use Seedsavers and Southern Exposure.  I get my sweet potato slips from a TN farm...

https://tatorman.com

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Blight update...been trimming out the diseased foliage, rain has eased up which slows the spread, and I am using organic Copper Fungicide by Bonide.  Spreading has been reduced by about 90%.  Also added fish emulsion to each plant.  

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We planted two seemingly hopeless Riesling vines (left for dead on clearance at Lowes... lol) last summer that have really taken off this year.  Of course I now have the pleasure of trying to grow v. vinifera in the southeast and had my first introduction to black rot. Ironically enough, this brutal stretch of hot, dry weather afforded me the time to figure out that not all was right. Oops.  Silver lining. 

No peaches or nectarines this year due to the temperature fakeout in February followed by the later freeze, but more than enough blackberries to make up for it... should be able to make (more than?) a few gallons of wine between the riesling and the blackberries.

If anyone has suggestions on how to effectively use a ghost pepper or a carolina reaper I'm all ears.  The thought of growing them is much more appealing than actually figuring out what to do when then actually grow!  The rest of the garden looks happy, pumpkins in particular are doing quite well.

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Been an excellent tomato, carrot, potato, bean, pepper, squash, and okra year.  Probably my best tomato year in a long, long time - the copper spray as a fungicide has been more than money.  Will try to post some pics, but am out of memory space for my account.  During the last couple of years, I was tucking-in large portions of the garden early due to dry conditions.  I still have a good part of the garden still "in play" right now.  

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