Gardeners of AW, unite

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

mrsmig

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Pretty much right now. :greenie
Central VA has been getting hammered, for sure. Here in Northern Virginia we've only had some boomers and sudden downpours, although bad weather may continue through the evening.
 
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SWest

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Yeah, it's headed slowly this way for overnight (S. NJ), but because it is running south-north, it's just dumping buckets over the same places.

We're in a funny spot on the butt-curve where we miss a lot of crazy tracks.
 
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Alessandra Kelley

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I'd try acetone (nail polish remover) but, honestly, we re-use our labels by re-using them for the same thing. If a label says cauliflower, I harvest the cauliflower, collect the label, put it into the 'save' box, and next year when I put out a cauliflower seedling I'll dig out the label and re-use it.

The other thing you may be able to do is slather a lot of the same ink as the original (same pen type) and then rub it clean before it dries. That works on white boards when you accidentally use a permanent Sharpie instead of a white board marker.
Sharpie ink is oil soluble. I haven’t tried this on old Sharpie yet, but baby oil wipes relatively fresh Sharpie ink away in a snap.

(And acrylic paint softens and loosens in rubbing alcohol. Occasionally someone tries to tag our rubbish bins and between baby oil and rubbing alcohol, it’s never been a problem cleaning them up.)
 
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ElaineB

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... I can't get the ink off. I tried washing liquid, soaking in hot water, hard sponges, elbow grease, and eventually cleaning alcohol. The last one bleached the plastic a little.
Leave them in the sun. They'll likely fade. Even a Sharpie will fade. We had three shrubs marked male and female but the ink faded, so now we're left guessing (well, hopefully two will fruit).
 
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Chris P

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Eeeee, be careful with the acetone. Depending on the type of plastic, you might end up with a pool of plastic goo. It makes other plastics brittle, and other plastics it just does wonky things to them.

For the ash, it definitely would raise the pH of the soil, and I wonder if the plants you were trying to save were acid-loving? A quick Google shows that garlic likes slightly acidic to alkaline (6.0 to 8.4), so if you have strongly acid soil this might help (might help me too--I confess I've not had my soil analyzed). The same article also noted onion maggots when the soil is alkaline, which I noticed on my (poor, underperforming and early bolting) onions, but they left the garlic alone.
 
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Chris P

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Yeah, not much here (same area as mrsmig), just a couple moderate downpours that filled my rain barrel. It's so bizarre that it's heading straight south, and popping up over the mountains. Earlier today, I checked Wunderground, and wondered (Wundered?) where the rain was going to come from. Now I know.
 
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Brigid Barry

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Random:

Today I asked my husband to come get a tarp (that had been sitting half in the woods for at least a year) because it had icky bugs on it and a snake. Show me a reptile and I scream like a five year old and run away with jazz hands. I am not good at outside sometimes.

Apparently it was a red-belly snake. They aren't seen frequently because they're good at hiding. They eat bugs, which are my favorite animals to have.

Does anyone know anything about pear trees? Mine have black spots on the leaves and fruit and the internet wasn't super clear.
 
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Alessandra Kelley

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Eeeee, be careful with the acetone. Depending on the type of plastic, you might end up with a pool of plastic goo. It makes other plastics brittle, and other plastics it just does wonky things to them.
That's why I prefer baby oil and rubbing alcohol as solvents. They work beautifully against permanent marker and acrylic paint, respectively, while posing little hazard to plastics.

I trained in the fine arts with a focus on health hazards and one thing I learned was to use the least reactive, least toxic solvent that still does the job.

You don't want to get a noseful of rubbing alcohol, but it's still less dangerous to breathe than acetone.
 
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Chris P

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Random:

Today I asked my husband to come get a tarp (that had been sitting half in the woods for at least a year) because it had icky bugs on it and a snake. Show me a reptile and I scream like a five year old and run away with jazz hands. I am not good at outside sometimes.

Apparently it was a red-belly snake. They aren't seen frequently because they're good at hiding. They eat bugs, which are my favorite animals to have.

Does anyone know anything about pear trees? Mine have black spots on the leaves and fruit and the internet wasn't super clear.
By no means an expert on pears, but an arborist told me that if the deer don't get my apple tree, the fungal diseases will.

Pruning to increase air flow will help, as will just generally increasing air flow around the trees (such as strategically removing obstacles). For fungicides, it looks like these all need to be applied while the tree is dormant, or at least pre-bloom. I suspect pears would be similar.
 

Woollybear

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I pulled some plants! A few broccolis came out, they were still producing wee florets but the heat is making them bitter. Now the little plants underneath (bean sprouts, attempt #3, never had trouble with beans before) are getting decent sun. :)
 

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Pulled the garlic, the radishes-to-seed, the lettuce-to-seed, and the broccoli. This puts more sunlight on the basil, which I hope helps it grow more quickly and bushily. :)

Then dug deep into the newly empty spots and buried some half-finished compost, for the worms down there. Piled the dirt back on top, and then, daughter and I planted another round of beans and pie pumpkins.

The acorn squash (second planting from a couple weeks ago) seems to be giving me one or two sprouts. The first planting had been eaten by whatever eats squash sprouts, and most of the second planting was eaten as well, but enough sprouts have pulled through that I think we might get an acorn squash.

The sweet corn is maturing and I'll harvest that before long.

I pulled a lot of the carrots and threw them in a lamb tagine on the grill the other night. They were tasty. Made a third batch of pesto the following night with some cherry tomatoes thrown in.

Aside from food, I found a third hummingbird's nest, which I mentioned elsewhere. They like the fruit files that buzz around the compost bin, so it's all very habitaty. :)
 
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Maryn

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I am not a gardener or I'd have known of your plight(s) regarding deer earlier by reading this thread. I've been directed here to help.

The previous owners of this house clearly had it professionally landscaped not too long before putting it on the market (and it worked because we bought it fast!) by a company that put in deer favorites even though deer are plentiful, the back of the lot wooded.

I'd dealt with munchie deer at my old house, but these deer are more numerous and perhaps hungrier. They were not deterred by commercial deer repellent, so I got crafty and started making my own.

It works.

Start with a sturdy plastic jug. I use the one liquid detergent comes in, 92 fluid ounces. (A gallon is 128.) I empty it but don't bother to rinse it.

In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat together 1/2 cup milk (or sour milk) and 1 or 2 eggs. Pour into the jug. This forms the basis for the rotting smell you want, and the egg is essential in making the repellent stick to leaves.

Grate one bar of original-clean formula Irish Spring bar soap. No substitutions. Put the shavings into your measuring cup. Add very hot water to nearly fill it. Stir to blend. The goal is for the soap to fully dissolve. In a hurry? Use a blender at the lowest speed. Pour the resulting soapy liquid into the jug. Deer dislike this soap's scent nearly as much as I do.

To the jug, add 1 Tablespoon cayenne powder and 1 Tablespoon garlic powder or granules. The lowest quality at the dollar store is fine. Add 1 Tablespoon cooking oil, any type.

Fill the jug to the top with warm water, tighten the cap securely, shake well to blend ingredients, and let it sit outside in full sun for three to five days.

You can spray it on plants to make it go far, but it's common for the sprayer's tube to clog. Although it uses the entire jug, I've recently switched to using a one-gallon watering can with a sprinkler-type head to distribute it on about fifty hostas.

Be aware that flies are quite interested as you apply it and will follow you from plant to plant. Once the repellent dries, the plants have only a faint Irish freshness, the flies leave the plants alone, and so do the deer and rabbits.

Don't apply this to any garden product you will eat, since it's deliberately hard to wash off. It does wash off after several rains; I reapply it about every two or three weeks.

Maryn, shocked that she has a garden tip, since she also has zero garden skills
 

mrsmig

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Harvesting the last of the garlic this week - the ones I planted in grow bags. I'm calling that experiment a bust. Most of the bulbs are pretty small. Even though the bags were nested in mulch over the winter, and well-mulched with straw on top, I feel the growing environment may have been too exposed, particularly over the winter. The in-ground bulbs I pulled last month are much bigger.

Next year I'll have to dedicate a section of the garden just for garlic. I kind of hate it, since that means the section can't be used for anything else for nine months - an awfully long time when your garden space is limited. On the other hand, garlic is too pungent for deer, which means perhaps I should think outside the box (and the garden fence) a bit. Hmmm....

My Roma II beans are starting to produce, and I'm overjoyed with basil at the moment. My cucumber vines have begun to spread more vigorously, and I've got green tomatoes everywhere. I must say, I'm loving having flowers in with the vegetables. I don't know if they're attracting more pollinators, but they sure look pretty.

On the topic of pollinators, I'm concerned. In the spring I had any number of bees in the yard, but right now, even with so many flowers in bloom throughout the property, I'm not seeing nearly as many as I did last year. I know at least one near neighbor had their yard treated for mosquitoes a month back, and I'm wondering if that harmed the local beneficial population. :confused:
 
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SWest

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...On the topic of pollinators, I'm concerned. In the spring I had any number of bees in the yard, but right now, with so many flowers in bloom throughout the property, I'm not seeing nearly as many as I did last year....
Try setting out wee caps of sugar water in late morning...I find that "tea" parties are a big hit, especially since it's been mostly dry in between gushers.

Take up the caps in the evening to avoid attracting slugs and critters.
 
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Catriona Grace

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My daughter had a bad day today when she found deer tracks all around her trashed flower garden.
She would be absolutely justified in having venison for dinner. I hate those damned ungulate rats. This year I'm hoping the smells deposited by three dogs will deter the deer from regarding my garden as a smorgasbord, but I put up my dangling CD deer fence as well. My roses are really hitting their stride, and I don't need deer to come in pruning the lot for me.
 

mrsmig

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I'm in that lull where stuff is growing like crazy but not ready for harvest just yet. I shifted some grow-bagged plants into the area formerly occupied by my garlic, and moved a container of nasturtiums up to the deck, which freed up a nice little patch of garden. I prepped the soil and planted some additional bush beans there.

Last year I got started far too late in my attempt at year-round vegetable gardening, so this year I'm planning well ahead. This past weekend I set up my indoor Germination Station, including grow lights and heat mats, and planted some broccoli and cabbage seeds. They've already begun to sprout, and with luck they'll be ready to plant in August for a fall harvest. I ordered turnip and dill seeds as well, and pre-ordered my seed garlic - last year I waited too long and couldn't get the variety I wanted. I was hoping to plant more potatoes this week, too - I can probably squeeze in a second harvest before our first frost - but none of my seed companies have potatoes now. Maybe I'll experiment with some potatoes from my local organic market (organic potatoes haven't been treated with chemicals to inhibit sprouting). Even if I don't get a crop, I'll only be out the cost of the potatoes, the time and the soil.
 

Chris P

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My gardening woes mostly continue. The only thing doing decently well are the green beans, and even they are not quite the cornucopia folks say they should be. Nothing got very tall, the edamame have only a few pods, I got ONE kale plant (it's tiny) and the corn didn't even get waist high at the most, and now have tassels but no silk or ears. Some corn didn't even get a foot tall. The raspberry plants stalled out, and I've been able to get maybe 5 berries off them so far. The grapevines will have less than 30 grapes (not 30 bunches, but 30 GRAPES!). The rhubarb looks dead, but at least the apple tree looks good and healthy. Oh, the asparagus is growing well, so next year I should get some good spears.

The stuff in the good soil seems to have gotten too dry, the stuff in the bad soil stayed too wet (and bad soil). I got one of those "slurry soil in water and stick in the probe" thingies, and the soil was just slightly acid and the nutrients registered just slightly "too low." I think amending the hell out of my plots next year and improving drainage is in my future.
 

Chris P

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She would be absolutely justified in having venison for dinner. I hate those damned ungulate rats. This year I'm hoping the smells deposited by three dogs will deter the deer from regarding my garden as a smorgasbord, but I put up my dangling CD deer fence as well. My roses are really hitting their stride, and I don't need deer to come in pruning the lot for me.
I still don't know what color my hasta flowers are. They got chomped again. I have deer repellent, but it doesn't do much good still in the jar in the garage.
 

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It's the middle of winter here, so not much happening in the garden other than cauliflower and cabbage. At least, I think they're still out there. It's cold, rainy, and howling wind with 50+ kph gales, so I'm not gonna go out and check. Plus, the wind is coming from the 'wrong' direction (the opposite to our usual) so none of the trees and shrubs are braced for it. I'm guessing that if this keeps up we'll be getting out the chainsaw to deal with whatever falls/gets uprooted.
 

Woollybear

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First rabbit in three years appeared in our back yard earlier today. We are watching Alone and so while I always think of stew when I see a rabbit, this time I had a better idea about the steps that involves.

Part of our garden is also 'between.' The beans we planted a couple weeks back are sprouting strong next to another planting of pie pumpkin. Not much to harvest there. In the other garden there's stuff--cherry tomatoes and about a zucchini each week and a pepper each week.

Mostly I'm excited to try to find a work-around to the lawn-watering restrictions here in soCal. We have a runnel of water down the street, it never stops, comes from a spring or something, and separately I thought I might spread compost on the brown patches in the lawn to hold in more moisture. Then it occurred to me to soak the compost in the runnel before spreading it. Ta-da! I have not yet implemented this stroke of genius idea, but I have started sifting compost, which is a two-day affair.
 
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