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All Natural FLEA Remedies! Please Help!

posted by: Daliah on 08.29.2004 at 03:49 pm in Herbalism Forum

Anyone have all natural Flea Remedies for the following:
I need household remedies I can make up! Thanks in Advance!

- flea shampoo
- flea powder
- satchels for hanging in closet/drawers
- flea sprays
- flea collars

Gratefully Yours,
Daliah

NOTES:

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clipped on: 08.06.2008 at 02:56 pm    last updated on: 08.06.2008 at 02:57 pm

Using my urine to fertilize lawn?

posted by: gbig2 on 05.01.2008 at 08:28 am in Lawn Care Forum

I've done the math and it will cost me $500 a year to fertilize my acre lawn with SBM. I've read that human urine is about %5-%10 nitrogen, and we produce 1-2 liters per day. Can someone help with the math here... If I saved all my urine each day and daily sprayed it with a hose end sprayer to a section of lawn, would I produce enough urine to get the 4lbs per 1000 sq. ft it needs? Maybe divide the lawn in 5000 sq ft. sections and spray each section every 8 days? The ulimate foliar fertilizer?

NOTES:

Be prepared to laugh and laugh and laugh
clipped on: 06.27.2008 at 12:57 am    last updated on: 06.27.2008 at 12:58 am

Proper Storage of Seeds?

posted by: backyardmomma on 06.16.2008 at 10:11 am in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Now that planting is done I was wondering if anyone has great advice on storing seeds for extended periods of time. Any tips?
Thanks everyone for all the help- this forum is like having my grandpa around for advice :) NOT that I am callin' anyone old- just saying thanks so much for passing along your wisdom.
OT- my latest ultrasound says I'm having a BOY! Can't wait because I have big plans for having a strapping boy to help share in the garden work! haha :)

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.21.2008 at 12:02 am    last updated on: 06.21.2008 at 12:04 am

RE: Planting Lettuce (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: okiedawn on 06.18.2008 at 11:23 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Sheri,

For your zone, the OSU recommendations of Aug. 1st-15th for planting fall lettuce ought to work out just fine. For bush beans, I think I'd plant about the same time, or maybe a week or two earlier.

Here's the OSU planting dates:

JULY 15-AUG 15:

Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Parsnips

AUG 1 - AUG 15:

Beets
Irish Potato
Leaf Lettuce (This is the date recommmended by OSU, but I think it is too hot in southern OK in August, so I wait at least until Sept. 1)

AUG 1 - AUG 25:
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cauliflower

AUG 1 - SEPT 1:
Collards

AUG 1 - SEPT 15:
Swiss Chard
Turnip

AUG 15 - SEPT 1:
Peas (green, not southern)

AUG 15 - SEPT 15:
Rutabaga

AUG 15 - OCT 10:
Radish

SEPT 1:
Kale Kohlrabi
Leek
Onions

SEPT 1 - OCT 15:
Garlic

SEPT 5 - SEPT 25:
Spinach

SEPT 10 - OCT 10:
Mustard

Because I lived in Texas forever, I still use my fall gardening dates from Texas to help me figure out what to plant when. Here's their planting dates for the part of North Texas that is just across the Red River from me. If you are in central or northern Oklahoma, you might want to plant a week or two earlier than the TAMU dates given below.

These dates are for SEED sown directly into the garden.

JUNE 15:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

JULY 1:
Southern Peas (Black-eyes, cream, crowder, etc.)
Pumpkin
Winter Squash

JULY 25:
Bush Lima Beans

AUGUST 1:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Cucumber
Garlic (from cloves, not seed)
Irish Potato

AUG 10:
Sweet Corn

AUG 15:
Bush beans (green, purple, yellow or bicolor)
Carrots
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash

SEPT 1:
Beets
Kohlrabi
Leaf Lettuce
Mustard
Spinach

OCT 1:
Parsley (overwinters)
Radish

OCT 15:
Turnip

If Planting From TRANSPLANTS:

JUL 10:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

AUG 20:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower

Isn't it hard to believe it is already time to start planning the fall garden? Seems like spring just began, but here it is...almost officially summer.

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.20.2008 at 11:55 pm    last updated on: 06.20.2008 at 11:56 pm

Varieties of Thyme

posted by: annewaldron on 08.01.2005 at 04:53 pm in Herbs Forum

I did not know there were so many! Which are the best for cooking? Are there any I should stay away from?

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.19.2008 at 10:48 pm    last updated on: 06.19.2008 at 10:49 pm

RE: My Chiro was sooo proud! LOL (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: belgianpup on 04.13.2008 at 09:16 pm in Accessible Gardening Forum

One way to space small seeds so you don't have to waste time thinning them later is to do it at your kitchen table.

I'm sure you've seen those expensive seed tapes for sale, but it's easy and cheap to make your own, using just strips of newspaper (it breaks down faster than computer paper), a bit of flour/water glue, and your seeds.

Cut or rip (with a ruler for straight edges) a sheet of newspaper into strips 3/4 or 1" wide. WRITE the type/variety of seed on the strips (a Sharpie is good).

Mix a spoonful of flour with water to make a thin "gravy".

Scatter your seeds onto a saucer and spread them out.

Take a pointy artist-type paintbrush and dip it lightly into the glue, then touch it to a seed, then transfer the seed to the paper. Repeat. Know your spacing. If your final spacing for say, carrots, is 2", space the seeds 2" apart.

Let the strips dry separately without additional heat (heat can easily kill the seed).

Roll them up loosely. If you're SURE they're completely dry, you can put them in plastic bags, but if they might be slightly damp, put them in small paper lunch bags to finish drying (and so they won't mold).

When ready to plant, just lay them out and cover with the recommended amount of soil, press to make good contact, and water carefully with a light spray.

Sue

NOTES:

make your own seed spreader.
clipped on: 04.18.2008 at 04:57 pm    last updated on: 04.18.2008 at 04:58 pm

fence posts: how do I dig deep holes in this hard clay and rock

posted by: purplelotus on 04.08.2007 at 03:27 am in Accessible Gardening Forum

hi
our soil is very hard clay and rock. how do I dig holes for putting fence?

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.18.2008 at 04:52 pm    last updated on: 04.18.2008 at 04:52 pm

RE: Beets (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: okiedawn on 03.14.2008 at 08:05 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Pistol,

You said "I have a hard time with these". Can you describe what you meant......is it that you have a hard time getting them to germinate? Or, do they germinate and then grow poorly?

I'm not sure of the exact soil temperature you'd need in order to expect good germination, but I think that the general rule is to sow beet seed 4 to 6 weeks prior to your average last frost date. In most parts of Oklahoma, that timing probably would put your soil in the 45 degree and warmer range. And, for many cool season crops, 45 degrees is just about the lowest temperature at which you can expect germination to occur.

The key to remember with beets is that they do prefer the cooler weather, as George said, so early planting is necessary. This allows them to do most of their growth before the daytime high temperatures begin consistently exceeding the 60 to 65 degree range. Your best beets will be those produced during this cool temperature range. However, you still will get good beets as long as they mature before the daytime high temperatures begin exceeding 80 degrees. If the weather gets way too hot way too quickly, your beets will be lower in quality--with the beets themselves being tough and fibrous and the leaves being excessively bitter.

If you want to plant beets for a fall crop, plant the seed only after daytime highs are 80 degrees or lower. Your beets should remain vigorous for a long time in the cool fall weather, and will be fine until the nighttime lows start getting down into the mid-20s. Sometimes it is easier to get a good beet crop in the fall than in the spring.

And, of course, beets tend to bolt, much like onions do, if this specific sequence of events occurs: (1) seeds planted, (2) seeds sprout and grow in relatively warm spring weather, (3) a late cold spell occurs and keeps low temps under 45 degrees for about 10 to 14 days which (4) forces the plants into a period of dormancy, (5) followed by warmer weather which tricks them into thinking they are in their second season, and leads to (6) the initiating of a flower stalk and seeds, which (7) ruins the crop. If the bolting is the problem you've been having with them, then there really isn't a solution, since none of us can control the weather.

And, if getting the seed to germinate is the problem, you might want to pre-soak it in water for 12 to 24 hours prior to planting. Two other common problems in getting beets and similar crops to sprout are (a) soil that crusts over and gets hard, preventing new sprouts from breaking through the soil surface, and (b) planting seed too deeply. On heavy clay soil, plant seed no more than 1/2" deep, and on lighter sandy or sandy loam soil, plant it no deeper than 1". If your soil crusts over and the beets can't break through the surface of the soil, interplant the beet seed with radish seeds. Radishes are good at breaking through a crusty soil surface...and they mature fast, so you can pull them out and the beets will have plenty of growing space.

Dawn

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clipped on: 03.17.2008 at 10:45 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2008 at 10:45 pm

First the Bees and now the Bats

posted by: kkfromnj on 02.01.2008 at 09:42 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

NOTES:

Probable Monsanto connection
clipped on: 02.24.2008 at 01:09 am    last updated on: 02.24.2008 at 01:10 am

Companion Planting

posted by: grow_now on 02.19.2008 at 10:32 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I was firing questions at my gardening expert friend and she directed me to this website.

There is a busload of companion planting information

http://www.countrybrookfarms.com/Vegetable_Garden.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Companion Planting

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clipped on: 02.24.2008 at 01:07 am    last updated on: 02.24.2008 at 01:08 am

RE: Crape Myrtle cuttings (propagation) (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Texarkanaboy on 09.08.2004 at 09:41 am in Ozarks Region Forum

Perhaps the link below will have the information on Crape Myrtle propagation you want.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crape Myrtle

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.22.2008 at 04:58 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2008 at 04:59 pm

RE: who likes who ? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: trampas on 01.27.2008 at 10:31 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

A really cool website for companion planting is:

http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

It gives good advice on what plants complement each other, what plants deter pests, and what plants encourage beneficial bugs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Harvest Companion Planting

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 02:52 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 02:53 pm

Raising Healthy Tomato and Vegetable Transplants

posted by: okiedawn on 02.16.2008 at 11:29 am in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Several of us have been talking lately about starting pepper, tomato, herb and other transplants.

I like to start my tomato transplants a bit early and then pot them up to progressively larger pots. This technique can give you larger, stronger, more vigorous plants with well-developed root systems.

Here's my favorite way to do it.

START THE SEEDS: Start seeds about 8 to 10 weeks before your anticipated spring transplanting date, which should be around the time of your average last frost date.

Start seeds in peat pellets or a sterile soil-less seed-starting mix in flats. Grow under fluorescent lights or in very bright, sunny windows so you will have strong, stocky plants that are not leggy.

REPOT. Once the plants have two sets of true leaves (do not count the cotyledons as true leaves), move the plants up to a small pot or small paper/plastic/foam cup with holes poked in the bottom for drainage. Set the small plant deeply in the soil (with the soil level ending just below the leaves). Water and put back under grow lights. Allow these plants to continue growing until there are now a total of ten true leaves....the original 4 plus 6 new ones.

REPOT AGAIN. At this point, it is time to repot again. First, prepare a set of larger paper, plastic or foam cups or small plastic flower pots or whatever you are going to transplant into. Then, remove the lower 4 (old) leaves. Set the plants into the soil in the new cups with the soil level right up to the bottom of the lowest of the six remaining leaves.

Do this again as soon as the plants have ten leaves. I usually do it between 2 and 4 times, depending on how long the weather stays cold and how long I have to keep the plants growing inside.

WHY? Why does this give you bigger, healthier transplants and why in the world do you remove the lower leaves?

Well, obviously, each time the plant goes into a new container, it has more room to send out more roots. That is only part of it though.

Every time you stress the plant by removing those lowest leaves, it responds by putting out new root growth....and you only get a small amount of new topgrowth. This is important because too much topgrowth gives large plants that can be hard to fit underneath the grow lights. Planting the stem deeply in the soil also encourages the plants to send out new roots from all buried parts of the stem. (This works for tomatoes and some other vegetable but not for all other veggies.)

HARDEN OFF THE PLANTS. As your transplanting date arrives, harden off the plants gradually by setting them outside in a protected area, like a covered porch where they get partial sun or under a shade cloth or even under a tree.....the limbs still provide some shade even if the tree isn't leafed out. On the first day, only give them a couple of hours of direct sun. Then, each day give them more and more sun. By the way, the plants need gradual exposure to stronger winds too. Going from "no wind" to a large amount of strong wind can cause enough windburn to kill the plants too.

TRANSPLANT: Unless you are willing to take heroic measures to protect early plantings from cold nights, do not transplant until you are pretty sure that your area will not experience another frost.

Transplant into well prepared soil. Carefully remove the plants from their containers, place them in holes dug into the ground, and pat the soil down firmly around them. The deeper you plant them, the better, so you can remove a couple of the lower leaves in order to bury more of the stem under the soil if you wish. Water well. Your plants have large, strong, healthy root systems so they should take off and grow quickly once they've adjusted to being transplanted.

IF YOU PLANT "EARLY": If you choose to plant earlier than the recommended date (last frost date or after), there are a few "tricks" you can employ to get the plants off to a good start.

First, you can warm up the soil for a couple of weeks prior to planting by covering it with thick black plastic held down by boards or rocks.

Secondly, you can give your plants a temporary wind break. One of my neighbors does this by cutting the bottom out of 5-gallon white buckets and placing the bucket firmly into the soil so it surrounds the tomato plant and gives it several weeks of wind protection. As a bonus, he has saved the lids that came with his white 5-gallon buckets and can snap them onto the top of the bucket at night if frost is predicted.

I provide my plants with wind protection for the first 2 to 4 weeks by wrapping the tomato cages with 6 mm plastic held to the cage with duct tape. Some people use bubble wrap in the same way, but I don't know if it is worth the extra expense or if it keeps them that much warmer than the 6mm plastic.

Not only does a windbreak shelter the tender foliage of young transplants from our often rowdy March and April winds, it also keeps the air around the plant slightly warmer (the greenhouse effect) which encourages good growth.

THIRD, you can use Wall-O-Waters or Cozy Coats to provide extra protection (down to 16 degrees in some cases) from the elements. They are a bit expensive and only work if you have flat, level ground. If your garden is on a slope (like mine) these types of plant protectors don't work as they tend to fall over and roll down hill.

FOURTH, mulch a little at planting time to be followed by more mulch later. At planting time, the ground is still relatively cool so you only add a little mulch....just enough to keep weeds from sprouting. This is because mulch that is too thick or deep will keep the ground cold longer and that will impede plant growth. Later, as the ground warms up, add more mulch to help conserve moisture and to keep the soil and roots cool.

A COUPLE OF MISCELLANEOUS TIPS FOR RAISING TOMATO TRANSPLANTS:

1. Play music for them. Some people swear that this encourages better growth and some scientific studies back up these claims. (I don't do this.)

2. Touch or stroke the plant stems. Every day, take a moment or two to stand there by the plants and lightly run your index finger up and down the plant stem. This stimulus is supposed to cause increased growth.

An alternate method if you have a lot of seedlings growing closely together is to gently run your hands over the top of the plants just barely making contact with the topmost foliage. Do this for a minute or two once or twice a day to stimulate growth.

3. Give them great air circulation. Set up a small oscillating fan so it blows a GENTLE breeze towards the plants. Research shows that the breeze stimulates growth and helps the plants to have stronger, stockier stems. As a bonus, it improves air circulation and that helps cut down on foliar disease problems.

4. Water carefully and sparingly, and from the bottom if possible. Too much water keeps the soil too wet and can cause all sorts of problems including damping off (sudden death of seedlings). Plants should be moist but can be allowed to get almost completely dry before you water them again. At all costs, avoid keeping them sopping wet.

5. Don't feed them. Young plants, in general, do not need to be fed. The exception is that, if you are keeping them in peat pellets for a prolonged period of time, they may need to be fed once or twice with a water-soluable fertilizer. In that case, though, it is best to dilute the fertilizer so that it is very weak. Strong fertilizer on young, tender roots can cause damage.

6. Give them periods of light AND darkness. Some people leave their plants' growlights on 24 hours a day. However, research shows that most plants benefit from at least 8 hours of darkness.

OTHER VEGGIE TRANSPLANTS:

PEPPERS: I raise my pepper transplants the same as tomatoes, except they DON'T go through the process of being potted up into larger pots and having their lower leaves removed. Also, pepper plants DO NOT benefit from being planted deeply and also DO NOT form roots along the buried parts of the stems. Also, I don't move them outside or plant them as early since they like significantly warmer soil and air temps.

RAISING OTHER VEGGIE SEEDLINGS: You can raise many other plants from seed indoors and then transplant them into the ground. These are the ones, in addition to peppers and tomatoes, that are most often raised to transplant size: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, lettuce and other greens (can be grown from transplant or by direct seeding in the garden), peas, cantaloupe and other melons, squash, pumpkins, and okra.

The ones most commonly direct seeded into the ground include green beans and other beans, southern peas, carrots, lettuce and other greens including spinach, corn, radishes, turnips and rutabagas.

Sometimes, when cold, wet weather delays outdoor planting, I have started peas, beans and corn in peat pellets and have transplanted them while they were still very small plants.

Some plants have to be started from sets or tubers. These include Irish potatoes, horseradish, most onions, garlic and leeks, and rhubarb. (You can start rhubarb from seed but are unlikely to get a harvest the first year.) Sweet potatoes are started from 'slips' which are basically sprouts that grow off of a mother potato, are pulled off and bundled up and then sold. You can grow your own slips inside and then remove them and plant them inside.

If you have a really hard time sprouting carrot seeds (a more common problem than you'd think), you can start them indoors in cardboard-paper tubes and then transplant them, tube and all, into the garden.

Most warm-season veggies can be grown from seed to transplant size in only 3 to 5 weeks. If you have to hold these transplants inside too long, it can stunt their growth.

Any seed that is large enough to handle easily (like pepper or tomato seeds, melon seeds, etc.) will sprout more quickly if pre-soaked in water or half-strength compost tea or liquid seaweed. Soak them for only 4 to 8 hours. If you want to presoak legumes, only soak them for a couple of hours.

All transplants grown indoors need proper lighting and to be hardened off before transplantation.

That's all I can think of, and I'm sure there's a lot I forgot, but it is a start.

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.16.2008 at 02:37 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2008 at 02:39 pm

RE: How soon do we start our seeds for transplants? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: okiedawn on 01.30.2008 at 07:35 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Dan,

You should be thinking about doing it any time now. I'm about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City and I started my tomatoes on Monday. I haven't started peppers yet, but probably will start them tomorrow or the next day.

Tomatoes do best when transplanted out into the garden as soon as possible after the average last frost date for your area. So, first, you have to determine the average last frost date for your part of the state. Once you know that date, count back approximately 6 to 8 weeks and start your seeds then. It is that simple.

Here in southern Oklahoma, our average last frost date is March 28th, more or less (more about that later), so I like to start my plants the last week in January.

What does an average frost date mean? It means that in half of the years, that average frost date will fall later than the "average last date" and half of the years it will fall earlier. So, some years, you can plant earlier and some years you have to plant later...and you have to be a good guesser to figure out which year to plant early and which year to plant late!

In our county, our average last frost date 5 out of 10 years is later than March 28. In 2 years in ten, though, that last frost date is later than April 10th, and in 1 year in 10 it is later than April 14. So, if I am feeling REALLY adventurous, I might take a chance and plant early like I did last year. (It took heroic measures, though, to save the plants from the late cold spell.) If the winter weather and cold are hanging on late in the season, I will carry my seedlings outside every morning and inside every night and not plant them in the ground until the nights are safely warm in mid-April. I try to plant them no later than mid-April because tomatoes planted later than that may blossom too late and not set much fruit if it gets too hot too early in the growing season.

Regardless of when the plants finally end up in the ground, though, I start them in late January with an eye towards planting them around the average last frost date.

Peppers are a little pickier about being "too cold" so I start them anywhere from the same time I start tomatoes to as much as 3 or 4 weeks later because they need to be transplanted into the garden later than tomatoes, at least 2 weeks later and up to 4 weeks later if it is a very cold spring.

How early you want to start your tomatoes and peppers also depends on your growing set-up. I have light shelves with adjustable lights that I can raise higher and higher as the plants get taller and taller. I also have a heat mat that helps speed up germination a little, which is nice to have, but not necessary. I also have a screened-in porch where I can harden off the plants once the weather is kinda warm. If your space to grow the plants indoors is restricted, you'd be better off starting a couple of weeks later as opposed to starting a couple of weeks earlier.

The ideal tomato transplant is one that is anywhere from five to eight weeks old, short and stocky with a thick main stem, and a healthy vibrant green. The most important thing is to have your lights so close to the tiny seedlings that they almost touch the plants. Otherwise the plants may stretch and get leggy. A good rule of thumb is to give the seedlings anyhere from 12 to 16 hours of light and the remaining time dark. Studies have shown that tomato plants that get too much artificial light while in the seedling stage (24 hours a day) do not grow as well as those that get 16 hours or less.

So, pick your target date.....and your average frost dates should be only a week or two later than mine, I should think, and start your seeds about 2 months before that.

If you need detailed last average freeze data for your county, it is available at the website of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey (www.ocs.ou.edu).

Hope this info helps.

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.15.2008 at 07:15 pm    last updated on: 02.15.2008 at 07:16 pm

RE: Strawberry Question (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: OkieDawn on 03.07.2005 at 02:53 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I love gardening and I love strawberries but I don't grow them here. Grew 'em in Texas and will grow them here at some point. When growing strawberries, there are so many things to decide and so much that can go wrong. Here's a few tips:

For success:

1.) Good soil is essential. Strawberries need a good sandy loam soil in order to thrive. If you have soil that is mostly clay or silt, you will have to amend it heavily. The recommended "formula" for strawberry soil in the southern U.S. is 50% sand. 25% peat moss and 25% soil.

2.) Strawberries need good drainage. Raised beds that are six inches above the normal grade of the garden are what is recommended.

3.) Irrigation is essential. Drip irrigation is recomended because it lessens the amount of water that gets on the leaves and this helps lessen disease problems. Strawberry roots are very shallow and will have to be watered often. How often will depend on all those variables like how much it is raining, the pan evaporation rate, etc. Some people like to use sprinklers on their strawberry beds in late winter/early spring when they are first planted to help get the roots off to a good start. It is usually too cool at that point in time for disease to be a huge worry. Then, as it warms up, they switch to drip irrigation to keep moisture off the leaves.

4. Feed your plants for good production. Don't give them too much nitrogen though or you'll have lots of leaves and little berries. You can give them any fertilizer that has a 3-1-2 ratio. Feed when you plant them.

5. Set the strawberry plants at the right depth in the soil. Planting instructions usually come with the berries and show how to do this. Basically you set the mid-point of the plant's crown right at the soil line. Plant too deeply and they will rot. Plant too high (with the whole crown above the soil line) and they will dry out and die.

6.If you can set out your plants on a cloudy day, that is preferred. It gives them a small time to adjust before they have to deal with the bright rays of the sun.

7. Sprinkle irrigate every day or so for the first couple of weeks if it is not raining. This helps the shallow roots grow and keeps them from drying out.

8. It is best to use the Matted Row System of spacing, planting, thinning, etc. I think our winters are kind of cold for the Annual System, unless you are growing them in a hoophouse.

9. Diseases! All strawberries, even those bred for disease resistance, will have some problems with fungal leaf disease. Apply the fungicide of your choice (making sure it is labeled for use on strawberries) or use an organic fungicide as soon as leaf spotting is noticed.

10. Spider mites & sow bugs. Spider mites love strawberries. Watch for them. They will appear as tiny spots (gray or white) on the leaves and you will notice the leaves have turned dull-looking from the damage. I think the miticide Kelthane is back on the market again after being gone for a few years. If you garden organically, you can release predatory mites to eat the mites on your strawberries. Sow bugs like to eat the ripening fruit. I don't know how to control them.

11. Plastic mulch. Many people have had success by putting down a black plastic sheet mulch, cutting holes and planting the strawberries in the cut-out areas. I haven't tried this, but it is based on a sound premise. That premise is that many leaf spot diseases occur when rain or irrigation splashes up from the soil onto the leaves of the plants. By covering the soil, you lessen the risk. It is hard to mulch with ordinary straw or bark mulch, though, because it will serve as a hideout for sow bugs!

12. I hope your plants are certified to arrive disease-free. They should be, and in fact I think MUST BE, as they are coming from a reputable nursery.

13. Established plants will begin to ripen their fruit 3 or 4 weeks after the last freeze, most years. You should let the fruits ripen wholly on the plant. You will need to harvest every single day so you can pick the berries before the birds and other pests get them. You may want to cover your berry bed with bird netting on some sort of frame.

I could go on forever, but hope this gives you food for thought. I had moderate success getting a good crop of strawberries in Texas once I understood and used the Matted Row System. I was much less experienced in gardening then. I know I should give them another try one of these days because home-grown strawberries are so good!

The variety you purchased is not one that I have seen recommended for this part of the country. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't do well here. I know it is bred for disease-resistance, so that will help. It is a day-neutral one, right? I always grew June-bearing strawberries and don't know a lot about day-neutrals.

A few years ago the Sam Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore was doing some research on using plasticulture in growing strawberries as annuals in Oklahoma. At the time they were hoping to have success in planting and harvesting strawberries and then destroying the plants, all within a 12-month time frame to avoid the whole disease issue. You might check their website (www.noble.org) & see if they have reported results on their research. It would probably be in the horticulture sub-section of the agriculture section. It was research aimed primarily at hoophouse growing, but might have some useful info.

Hope this info helps!

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.13.2008 at 02:08 am    last updated on: 02.13.2008 at 02:08 am

RE: potatoes (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: okiedawn on 02.09.2008 at 01:18 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Brandy,

Potatoes are amazingly easy, except for the whole disease and potato bug thing.

Down here in southern Oklahoma in zone 7B, we usually plant our potatoes around Valentine's Day. The recomended dates for Oklahoma are Feb. 15th thru Mar. 10th, so you can plant anywhere in the timeframe. However, the farther north you are, the later you should plant.

Here's how I plant.

I buy seed potatoes a couple of weeks before I intend to plant them. About a week before the anticipated planting date, I cut each seed potato into pieces. Each piece must have at least one eye (bud) or nothing will sprout from it. I put the pieces into a paper bag with a little garden sulphur and shake the bag to coat the potato pieces. The sulphur will help prevent soil-related diseases. Then I spread the pieces out on a table covered with newspaper and let them cure for 5 to 7 days. You can cure them inside the house or in a garage or similar area. You can cover the pieces with damp paper towels or damp burlap bags. The damp covering helps maintain the pieces in higher humidity and that is what you want.

On planting day I take the pieces outside to the garden and plant them in the ground. I like to dig a trench about 6 to 8 inches deep. I place the potatoes in the trench, about 8" to 12" apart in rows that are about 30" apart. I cover the seed potato pieces with only 2" to 3" of soil. After the plants emerge and begin to grow, I gradually fill in the trench with the remaining soil. Once the trench is full and the potatoes continue to grow, I continually add straw mulch as the potatoes continue to grow. I usually stop adding straw when it is about 12" deep. If you don't want to use mulch, you can "dirt" the potatoes by adding soil around the plants (also referred to as 'hilling'). Wherever you have added soil, potato tubers will form underground. Your ultimate goal is to have 6" to 8" of potato plant underground.

Now, you just weed, water and watch them grow. Watch the foliage carefully for potato bugs. The bugs are easy to control if you spot them early and handpick them off the plants. If you don't do this, they can totally defoliate your plants in no time at all. Also watch for signs of foliar disease and treat promptly if they appear.

In case you are curious about why so much of the potato plant is underground, remember that the potatoes themselves form along the underground portions of the plants' stolons (secondary underground stems). Thus, the more plant you have underground (within reason), the more potatoes you will have.

It is not necessary to dig the trench, but I do it because it is easier for me to dig the trench deep and gradually fill it in than to plant them more shallowly and then hill up the dirt around them. Deeper trench planting works in very well drained soil. If you soil drains slowly and stays wet for a prolonged period of time, you might be better off to only plant a couple of inches beneath the soil surface and hill up soil around the plants as they grow.

The reason you don't dig a deep trench and completely fill it in immediately is that, in cold and wet years, seed potato pieces planted that deeply may rot before they can grow up out of the deep trench. And, the longer the seed potatoes are underground without top growth exposed to the sun, the more susceptible they are to soil-borne disease.

Remember to prepare your soil properly because potatoes are heavy feeders.

I have grown potatoes above ground in a circular wire container filled with compost and soil for the lower few inches and straw/hay/grass clippings on top of that. In an average to wet year it works pretty well to grow them this way. In a very dry spring, though, it is hard to keep this above-ground set-up wet enough to work since it dries out very quickly.

And, in case you are wondering, 6" to 8" is about the maximum depth at which you can plant potatoes and get a good yield. Planting them deeper than that has not been shown to increase yields.

You'll have to evaluate your soil, how quickly it drains, how heavy or light it is, how much precipitation you generally have in the spring to early summer, etc. and decide which method would work best for you. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, plant them a couple of different ways and see what works best for you in your soil and your climate.

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.09.2008 at 01:55 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2008 at 01:56 pm

Planning , Planting And Maintaining A Vegetable Garden

posted by: okiedawn on 02.01.2008 at 02:02 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Lately we've had quite a lot of new gardeners asking various questions about vegetable gardening, so I thought I'd say a few things about planning a vegetable garden. I hope others of you will add the things I forget, 'cause you know I won't think of everything.

1.) Do your research and make a plan. Understand that some plants which grow well in some other parts of the country simply cannot tolerate our heat and, depending on where you live in Oklahoma, our humidity (or lack of such).

I'll give just a couple of examples. Rhubard grows great in areas with milder summer weather...like Pennsylvania, where my DH grew up. Here, rhubard struggles to get through the July and August heat and often dies out in the heat of the summer, even though it is partially shaded and well-watered.

Apples are another challenge to grow here, but more because of their susceptibility to cedar apple rust....since our millions of cedar trees are host to this disease. Raspberries can be very challenging (though not necessarily impossible) to grow here but blackberries aren't hard at all.

Some crops that will grow here are "backwards" from how they grow in some other parts of the country. Brussels sprouts are one of those. You'll tend to have greater success with Brussels Sprouts if you plant them in mid- to late-summer and harvest them in the fall. When planted in the spring here, brussels sprouts often "burn up" in the heat before they can make much of a crop.

2.) Obtain your seed and draw out a garden plan based on the plant spacing recommended for each variety of plants. This will help you figure how large to make your garden plot OR it will show you that you need to cut back on your list of things you want to grow because you don't have room for them all.

3.) Select your garden site based on available sunlight. Most vegetables need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day, although a few can get by on 6. If you property is heavily shaded, a vegetable garden may not be possible.

4.) Prepare your soil properly. It all starts with the soil. You CANNOT grow bountiful crops without loose, fertile soil, and most of us start out with less than ideal soil. Ideal garden soil is going to be loose, fluffy, loamy soil that has a lot of organic material in it. Many of us start out with very sandy, very silty or very, very clayey soil and have to add a lot of soil amendements to create ideal garden soil. You should ideally add a minimum of 6 to 8 inches of organic material and till it into the soil or double-dig the beds (google to find instructions for that) and work in the amendments by hand.

You can add anything organic to enrich your soil: compost, chopped or shredded leaves or straw, animal manure, peat moss, small pine bark fines, greensand, lava sand, mushroom compost, used coffee grounds, composted cotton hulls, etc.

Just the act of adding several inches of organic material will raise the grade of the soil above the surrounding area. Raised beds are best for veggie gardens. (Think about last year's heavy rains and you can understand why.) You can use mounded soil as a raised bed. You can use stacked stone or lumber that has NOT been chemically treated to build raised beds. Avoid creosote-treated railroad ties and chemically-treated landscape timbers.

Raised beds offer improved drainage and they warm up faster in the spring. If properly mulched they do not erode.

If you go to all the trouble to build raised beds, walk only in the pathways so you don't compact the loose, fluffy soil in the raised beds.

5.) Select varieties recommended for Oklahoma. Many vegetable varieties recommended for the USA in general are really geared towards cooler climates and don't do as well in our heat as we would like. Be sure you select varieties proven to do well in Oklahoma.

6.) Understand that our long growing season is really several mini-seasons. You have to plant each crop in the proper mini-season for success.

Cool season crops include asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, Chinese cabbage, chives, collards, endive, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, green peas, parsley (can plant in fall also), parsnip (can plant in spring or fall) potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, salsify, shallots, spinach, swiss chard (planted early is best, but it can produce all summer in our heat), and turnips/rutabagas. They need to be planted in mid-February (in more southern parts of the state) to mid-March (in more northern parts of the sate). If you plant them too late, they won't produce a crop, because once it heats up, their productivity seriously declines or stops. Most of them are harvested in late spring to early summer. Garlic is best planted in the fall, by the way, and harvested in mid- to late-spring.

Warm season crops include artichokes, beans, cantaloupe/muskmelons and other melons, cucumbers, eggplant, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, pumpkins, southern peas (including black-eyed peas, crowder peas and cream peas), summer and winter squash, sweet corn and popcorn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tomatilloes and watermelons. In general, most warm season crops are planted on or after your average last frost date. Some of them, like southern peas, sweet potatoes, and okra like REALLY warm soil and should be planted a month or more after the average last frost date once the soil is really, really warm.

These plants will produce for varying amounts of time. Keep in mind that many crops play out in the July heat, which brings us to the next mini-season, which is the fall vegetable garden. The fall veggie garden is actually planted in summer for a fall harvest. You can grow almost anything in the fall garden if it matures in about 100 days or less.

Tomatoes are popular for fall gardens because they often stop producing in the heat of the summer and have a hard time rebounding in the fall, so many gardeners set out fresh transplants in June or early July for a fall harvest.

I didn't list many herbs, but most of them grow well when planted in the spring. They are not, in general, as affected by the heat and often produce well into the fall, unless you let them go to flower and set seed. Cilantro is an exception. It likes to grow in cooler Spring weather.

Some fall crops that are very cold-hardy, like spinach and collard greens can be planted very late and will overwinter and give you a spring crop in most of the state.

7. If your garden is on the smallish size, choose dwarf size plants that take up less space. Many of the plants developed/advertised as being "great for containers" also grow well in the ground and take up less space.

8. Grow vertically to save space, create shade, and prevent disease. Tomatoes should be staged or caged. Tomato plants that sprawl on the ground tend to get more diseases, especially of the type that cause tomatoes to rot. Many vining type crops like pole beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, muskmelons, winter squash and malabar spinach can be grown on fences, bamboo teepees, trellises, etc.

9. Create your own shade. Plant taller crops like corn, okra or trellised plants on the west and south sides of your garden and plants that benefit from some summer shade, like peppers, on the north side of the taller plants. The taller plants will shade the pepper plants part of the day and help keep the peppers from getting sunscald (sunburn).

10. Avoid bare soil. Newly tilled or turned-over soil looks lovely, doesn't it? Just wait a few weeks, though, and EVERY INCH of bare soil will have weeds and grass sprouting in it. So, plant your crops and, as soon as they have emerged from the ground and gotten a little height, add mulch, mulch, mulch, to keep the weeds from sprouting. For cool season crops, mulch heavily as soon as you can because it will help keep the soil cooler and the cool-season plants like that.

For warm season crops, though, I start out with a light layer of mulch as soon as possible in spring, and add to it as the season progresses. There is a reason for this. A very thick layer of mulch will keep the soil from warming up, and warm-season crops need warm soil. They DON'T need hot soil, though, so I add layer after layer of seed-free grass clippings throughout the summer to keep the soil cool, moist and weed-free.

11. Water efficiently. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are best. They waste less water (a lot of the water from sprinklers evaporates before it reaches the ground) and keep water off the plant foliage. In general, water on the plant foliage increases the odds they'll have disease problems and you want to avoid that.

12. Feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants. It is not necessary to feed your plants with a chemical or synthetic fertilizer. If you enrich your soil with a variety of amendments as listed above, your soil will feed the plants. If you think plants need an extra boost, use natural and organic fertilizers like compost tea, liquid seaweed, animal manure, liquid fish or fish meal, blood or bone meal, or granular or liquid fertilizers made from safe, organic ingredients. Too much fertilizer (whether synthetic or organic) is actually harmful to the plants and plants that are over-fertilized have lots more disease and pest problems.

13. Please don't poison your soil, your groundwater and your food. Many pesticides are, in fact, nerve agents to which you should not expose yourself or your families. Many chemical fertilizers are made of hazardous materials. Go organic as much as possible. Use Integrated Pest Management. THINK before you act. I know someone who decided to put a popular chemical fire ant product in his garden. Clearly he didn't read the label as it was not labeled for use in a veggie garden. Once he realized he'd contaminated his soil, he found he should not eat crops from that soil, nor grow food crops in it again for several years. Don't let something like that happen to you.

14. Practice safe pest control. Understand that there ALWAYS will be insects and bugs in the garden. Some of them are good, some are bad, and some of them are necessary for pollination. You cannot use broad-spectrum measures to kill the bad bugs because they will kill the good bugs (the ones that prey upon bad bugs) and the pollinators. Without pollination, some crops will fail.

Safe pest controls include releasing good bugs like lady bugs, parasitic wasps and green lacewings to prey upon the bad bugs. Avoid releasing praying mantids as they will kill all the bugs--both the good ones and the bad ones--including one another. You can handpick slow-moving bugs like potato bugs and drop them into a bucket of water to drown them. You can remove many insect eggs from the back of leaves before they hatch. You don't have to panic and go into "wipeout" mode every time you see an insect. People in this world have grown crops for thousands of years withou chemical pesticides. Work with nature and not against it.

15. Fence in the garden. Keep in mind that EVERY living creature around will find your garden attractive, including your pets, children and wildlife. This is especially important in a rural area.

Even in our fenced-in rural garden we have lots of wild creatures who try to find their way over or under the fence (and sometimes succeed), including deer, bobcats, squirrels, moles, voles, gophers, skunks, possums, rabbits, birds of all types, mice, turtles, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes (including poisonous ones), etc. Our fence keeps out most of them, but every now and then one or two find their way in.

Make your life easier and fence in the garden to begin with. If you are in town, you still will need fencing to keep the pets (or neighbors' pets) and kids out of the garden. Even small pets can trample and dig up plants and even terrific kids can unintentionally wreck a garden.

16. Don't forget to feed the birds! Wild birds are a double-edged sword, but generally are beneficial to your garden and a delight to have around. I attract birds to the garden by keeping a water source there for them and by planting a border of flowers and herbs that produce seeds they like. I also have bird feeders around the yard and especially around the perimeter of the garden. Birds are VERY beneficial as they eat lots of insect pests. However, if they get hungry or thirsty, they will nibble at some veggies, especially tomatoes, and may eat tree fruits and berries. So, you kind of walk a fine line with them.

17. Weed early and often. Pull sprouting weeds as soon as they are large enough to pull up. If you let the weeds hang around a while, they will steal food and water from your garden plants AND they are a lot harder to pull up once their roots are big and well-developed. After you pull up the weeds, mulch the area to keep new weed seeds from sprouting. Weeds will even sprout in mulch, though not as much as they do in soil, so you will have to keep after them all season.

18. Keep bermuda grass out of the garden. Every time it sprouts there, dig it up and dispose of it. Bermuda is evil and will completely take over the garden if you let it. Don't let it.

19. Plant from seeds or transplants and follow all applicable directions. If you raise your own transplants indoors, be sure to harden them off gradually by giving them increasing amounts of sunlight over a period of a few days. If you take plants that have grown exclusively indoors and put them out in the sun for a full day without hardening them off, they likely will sunburn and possibly die. Windburn can kill tender vegetation too, so harden them off in a sheltered location out of the wind.

20. A garden is a journey and not a destination, so enjoy it every step of the way. When you harvest and eat something fresh and delicious and wonderful that you grew yourself, you will be so proud!

OK, hope this basic guide to growing a veggie garden helps. I hope the rest of you experienced gardeners add to this thread as I am sure there is so much that I did not think to mention. One of the wonderful things about gardening is that even long-time experienced gardeners are constantly learning, exploring and trying new things. I think that is part of the appeal of gardening--it isn't just the garden that grows, but the gardener as well.

Oh, and I barely touched on fruit at all. If someone wants to talk about growing fruit in detail in another thread, we can do that!

Happy Growing,

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.03.2008 at 12:01 am    last updated on: 02.03.2008 at 12:02 am

Rhubarb

posted by: outdoor-girl on 01.29.2008 at 09:55 am in Ozarks Region Forum

Anyone in the region successful at growing rhubarb? We're right on the Mo/Ark border, and I'd really like to try some. However, my last try was unsuccessful, and my mom has tried for two years without success (and she's two hours north). My grandpa could grow the heck out of it, and we're just wondering what we're doing wrong? We're both putting it in rich composted soil, north sides of buildings.

Are we just rhubarb stupid? :)

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.29.2008 at 10:38 pm    last updated on: 01.29.2008 at 10:39 pm

RE: Bell Peppers (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: okiedawn on 01.21.2008 at 12:41 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Ilene,

Peppers are easy, so don't let them intimidate you! Just think of them as spoiled children....as long as they get their way and you give them EXACTLY what they want, they'll do what you want. (Not that I know any children like that. LOL)

I have grown several dozen varieties of peppers over the years and about the only thing they have in common is that they are picky, picky, picky!

I love to grow peppers.....sweet, hot and ornamental, but it has taken me lots and lots of experimentation to get them to do what I want for them to do, which is to produce a steady crop throughout the growing season. And, in order to get them to do what I want, I have to do what they want. (So, I guess the peppers have trained me to do what they want, right?) By the way, from reading your post I think you have 98% of this already figured out, so I am just reinforcing what you already know.

What do peppers want (and need)?

1. Full sun. I will qualify this by saying that sometimes the intensity of the mid July to late August sun will cause the fruit to have sunscald, but there's ways to work around that. And, sometimes I do put some shadecloth or sheets over them to keep late summer sun from just burning them up. Also, in horticultural terms, "full sun" requirements can be met with only 6 to 8 hours of sun a day for most plants, and you know that plants in our climate can get significantly more than that, so you may want to plant them in a location where they don't get more than 8 hours or so.

2. Well-drained soil. I have had them grow equally well in well-amended black clay, red clay, caliche clay and sandy/silty soil. The key is just tons of organic material added to ensure good drainage. Also, they love nitrogen, so I like to amend their soil with more manure than I generally put in tomato beds.

3. They HATE being exposed to cold temps. Early exposure to cold temps in the spring can impair their ability to produce fruit for the entire season. (It took me a long time to really grasp this because I love to plant early.)

4. They crave attention. I think that peppers could be thought of as the "diva" of the garden. For them, it really is "all about me".

WHAT WORKS:

1) Planting peppers from transplants. (I know you know this, but thought I'd throw it in for any newbies who might be reading.) You can direct sow peppers in the spring after the soil is really warm, but you won't usually won't get a harvest from these plants until fall. It is best to set them out when they are 5, 6 or 7 weeks old, BUT I have started them really early some years, and kept them growing in paper cups until they were 12 to 16 weeks old before setting them out, and they grew just fine.

2) Keeping the transplants inside and good and warm until the ground and air temperatures are really, really warm. Plant them in their permanent location only after the soil temp is 55 degrees or above for several consecutive days. (You can speed up the warming-up of the soil by covering it with black plastic for a couple of weeks, but the air temps. need to be warm also.) IF peppers are exposed to soil temps below 55 degrees, the roots can be seriously damaged. The plants may recover and grow just fine, but the pepper production likely will be negatively impacted. I plant peppers about 2 to 3 weeks after I set out tomatoes in a normal year (i.e., when I set out tomatoes on time, not early).

Once the pepper transplants are getting too tall to fit underneath the lights on my light shelf, I carry them outside every day and inside every night. This way they can benefit from the sunlight and warmth without suffering the nighttime coolness.

3) Understand that peppers are very much like large-fruited tomatoes when it comes to setting fruit: ideal temps result in ideal production. The plants set fruit best when the nighttime lows remain below 60 degrees and the daytime highs are around 80. That is a small window of opportunity in our climate. Don't get me wrong, plenty of peppers WILL set fruit at other temps, but it is while they are in this ideal range that you will get the best fruit set. You may notice, especially in VERY hot years, the fruit that sets at higher temps is not of the best quality--the walls may remain very thin and the fruit is often misshapen. Once high temps are consistently in the 90s, fruit doesn't set very well. However, just keep watering and feeding the plants and they will bloom and set fruit in the fall under the more moderate temperatures.

4) They like lots of moisture but not soggy soil, which is why they grow so well in raised beds and well-draining containers. If they have inadequate moisture while the fruit is growing, the peppers will grow slowly and additional bloom/fruit set may not occur. Peppers really hate to wilt, so try to keep them evenly moist.

Remember that heat is NOT the only cause of plant wilt. Many plants wilt when their fruit is TOO WET and that may have been the problem last year, when you think about how excessively wet it was!

5) I also think that it does matter which peppers you choose to grow. I get the best production from those that are considered early-maturing varieties, which ought to give you ripe fruit 65 to 80 days after their transplanting date. One of my all-time (and relatively new) favorites is Blushing Beauty.

Your hybrid (F1) plants may give you plants in the F2 generation that are fairly true to type. It is sort of the luck of the draw. Some hybrids grow out consistently for many successive generations, and some don't. I think a lot depends on how complicated their parentage was.

6) Spacing is criticial. To get really good production, space them 18" to 24" apart. If they are too close, production can be impaired, unless they are one of the varieties that stays REALLY small.

7) They love to eat. It is hard to overfeed peppers because they thrive on nitrogen. If you plant them at the proper time AND your transplants are about 6 or 7 weeks old, healthy and disease/insect-free, you should see blossoms about 18 to 24 days after the transplants are set out in the garden (or container). I like to feed them when this first set of blooms occur. By feeding them, you are giving them the energy to turn those blooms into fruit AND to set more blooms and make more fruit. If you do not feed them at this time, that first bloom set may be all you get for a long time. Use a food that is heavy in nitrogen for best results.

Finally, about black spots on the peppers. Usually the black spots indicate either a fungal disease or a bacterial disease. Spraying the plants periodically with a baking soda spray can help to head this off. If you had black spots on peppers in one location, rotate your peppers to a different location the next year because the fungal spores can overwinter and attack the next season's crops.

IF you go out of town for a few days in the hottest part of the summer, you may return and find brown to black spots that probably are sunscald/sunburn. They start out at beige to brown blister-like spots on the skin of the peppers but may turn black after a few days, especially in a wet year.

Don't give up on your peppers....just spoil those cranky little things!

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.21.2008 at 08:09 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2008 at 08:10 pm

Old cookbooks online!

posted by: teresa_nc7 on 11.07.2007 at 10:43 am in Cooking Forum

Here is a site with many old, old cookbooks for you to browse.....grab a cup of tea/coffee/soda, etc. and get comfortable!

Here is a link that might be useful: Feeding America: Food history and old cookbooks

NOTES:

fascinating site
clipped on: 11.10.2007 at 09:50 pm    last updated on: 11.10.2007 at 09:51 pm

When can I start trying to root some roses?

posted by: cityboygonecountry on 08.27.2007 at 05:58 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

This will be my first attempt. I'm going to be using one gallon pots filled with peatmoss and perlite, covered with plastic bags with holes punched for circulation.

Is it too hot right now?

NOTES:

How to start rose cuttings
clipped on: 08.28.2007 at 07:00 am    last updated on: 08.28.2007 at 07:01 am

Onion Advice

posted by: ilene_in_neok on 08.26.2007 at 01:20 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I'm having a lot of trouble growing onions. I've tried with seed sown directly in the raised bed and haven't had good germination. The last two springs I've bought sweet red onion sets in March or April, they sprout and grow until the weather gets hot and then the green tops die back. If I leave them in the ground, planning to pick them the next year, they bolt to seed and never get any size. A few times I have actually forgotten they were there and have dug some up accidentally. They are never bigger than a golf ball and often they are only the size of a new roll of postage stamps.

I've been doing a little research, and have found that onions are a biennial, so when they bolt to seed they've experienced two cold spells and think they're in their second year and doing what they're supposed to do.

If I'm understanding correctly, I'm planting at the wrong time? Should be planting in October?? Why would Atwoods sell sets in the spring, if that's the case? So then, when am I supposed to pull the onion? The following spring? Mid-summer? Fall?

I plant them amongst other things, one year I planted them in the strawberry bed, this year I planted them near the trellis that green beans climb on. So they're getting water regularly. But the green tops always die back. Is this normal? Are the onions still growing or did they go dormant? Should I just pull them and use what little is there, and then plant new in October? If I wait till fall to pull them will they grow any between now and then without tops?

Somebody set me straight, please?

NOTES:

how to grow onions
clipped on: 08.28.2007 at 06:57 am    last updated on: 08.28.2007 at 06:58 am

Other than tea-uses/recipe for mints?

posted by: kittymommy on 05.07.2005 at 07:05 pm in Herbs Forum

I have peppermint, spirmint, apple mint and chocolate mint herbs. I have stored enough to make teas for a very long time! What other uses are there for these mints? I think I may have seen a cookie recipe using mint. I use to have one for a rosemary shortbread that was wonderful. Any suggestions for other uses woudld be appreciated!

NOTES:

great links and recipes for mints
clipped on: 07.15.2007 at 04:45 pm    last updated on: 07.15.2007 at 04:46 pm

Getting rid of Poison Ivy without killing trees/plants???

posted by: firsthome on 07.05.2006 at 01:57 pm in Woodlands Forum

We just purchased a house in the winter and this summer discovered we have poison ivy in just about all of our flower beds.

Because we live in a semi-wooded area with hills, several of our flower beds are all ground cover so the poison ivy is in many places inter-mingled in the ground cover. In other places it is growing in our flower beds, tangled in bushes, or growing up our dogwood tree.

How do we get rid of the poison ivy without killing our groundcover/trees/flowers/bushes, etc.? My husband and I are extreamly sensitive to poison ivy and have already gotten it once this year so bad that we had to go to the doctor (both of us had it all over, including our faces).

We are planning on starting a family and since the poison is all over our yard we want to try and get rid of most of it before we have children getting exposed to it.

Thanks!

NOTES:

GOOD ADVICE
clipped on: 04.30.2007 at 01:06 am    last updated on: 04.30.2007 at 01:06 am

Pet Rules

posted by: pameliap on 04.28.2007 at 09:05 pm in Pets Forum

Pet Rules

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other
dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in
the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming
your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me
to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than
you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about
this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your
comfort.

Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not
necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest
extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having
tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by
some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not
necessary to claw, whine, meow, bark, try to turn the knob or get your paw
under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same
door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine or
feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butts. I
cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our
front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
That's why they call it "fur"niture.
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you , it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter
who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember:
Dogs and Cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college,
and...
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their offsprings.

NOTES:

Too Funny
clipped on: 04.29.2007 at 02:17 am    last updated on: 04.29.2007 at 02:17 am

FYI - houseplants article, Mtgy Advertiser

posted by: roseyp8255 on 01.20.2007 at 12:01 pm in Alabama Gardening Forum

Thought ya'll might be interested in this article......

All of the foliage plants tested effectively removed pollutants from the air. Some were better than others were. Plants also removed different levels of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. The plants NASA tested and found effective were aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis), arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum), banana (Musa oriana), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum), elephant ear (Philodendron domesticum), English ivy (Ficus benjamina), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium), Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis), lacy tree philodendron (Philodendron selloum), marginata (Dracaena marginata), mass cane or corn cane (Dracaena massangeana), mini-schlefflera (Brassaia arboricola), mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria lauentii), oyster plant (Tradescantia), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), pot mum (Chrysanthemum elatum) and spider plant (Chlorophytum elatum).

The tests so far suggest that many more plants will likely help clear the air. The main need seems to be a healthy, growing plant.

Plants vary in how well they remove pollutants. To get the best effects, it's best to have as many kinds of plants as you can.

George Tabb is an agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He can be reached at (334) 738-2580 or by e-mail at tabbgeo@aces.edu

Here is a link that might be useful: Houseplants - Mtgy Advertiser - full article

NOTES:

Houseplants clean the air.
clipped on: 02.09.2007 at 02:18 am    last updated on: 03.06.2007 at 11:18 pm

Best Info Sites

posted by: andrea81 on 02.14.2007 at 01:24 am in Daylily Forum

Hi there. I would like some opinions and advice on the best place online to find DL info. Easy to navigate would be great too! Thank you for any input :-)

Stay warm!!
Andrea

NOTES:

<none>
clipped on: 02.17.2007 at 02:50 am    last updated on: 02.17.2007 at 03:01 am

Are You Blessed?

posted by: kimmie5 on 01.26.2007 at 10:52 am in Kitchen Table Forum

As the World Turns
Author Unknown

If we could shrink the earth's population to village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.

There would be:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 From the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 would be Africans

52 would be female
48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all
6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition

(ONE) 1 would be near death;

(ONE) 1 would be near birth;

(ONE) 1(yes, only 1) would have a college education;

(ONE) 1 (yes, only 1) would own computer.

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

And, therefore:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed that three billion people in the world.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can read this message, you have just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

As you read this and reminded how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed you really are!

NOTES:

Feeling Sorry For Yourself?? Read this.
clipped on: 01.26.2007 at 11:13 am    last updated on: 01.26.2007 at 11:15 am

A tribute to Keebler

posted by: triple_creek on 10.05.2006 at 12:15 pm in Perennials Forum

This is a little tribute to my loyal dog Keebler who was with us for fourteen years until yesterday.
Some of you may remember the story of how he got his name. His mother was a stray who had a litter of pups in a hollow tree. Hence his name Keebler (as in the Keebler elves of cookie fame).
I found him beside the road while walking one day. He was just a young dog when we moved to this property and established Triple Creek. He was allowed to run free on our 52 acres and stayed with me whatever I was doing waiting patiently for me to finish. Always ready for a walk. Always welcoming us home with an excited bark. Warning of any approaching visitors as soon as they turned in the driveway.Patient and gentle with the grandkids. Barely tolerant of a new puppy (Rebel) that pulled on his tail constantly, but who he came to accept as a pal. He will be greatly missed.

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Norma


And on a lighter note:

TO GOD: from the dogs

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell
one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it
still the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the
mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for
a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice
ride! Would it be so hard to rename the "Chrysler Eagle" the Chrysler
Beagle"?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears
him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand
signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's,
electromagnetic
energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to
apologize?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must
remember in order to be a good dog;

1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they
throw
it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I
like the way they smell.

3. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.

4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.

5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff

6. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

7. I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's
driver's license and registration.

8. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the
toilet.

9. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of
saying "hello".

10. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the
coffee
table.

11. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house
- not after.

12. I will not throw up in the car.

13. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

14. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch
when we have company.

15. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he
makes
that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

And, finally, my last question...

Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?

NOTES:

A beautiful tribute for all our canine friends all through the thread.
clipped on: 10.16.2006 at 03:24 am    last updated on: 10.16.2006 at 10:26 pm