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mrsmig

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May I ask what growing zone you're in? (If you don't know, this USDA site can tell you. Just enter your zip code.)

If you could share photos of your carnation plants, I might be able to make some suggestions. It could be that they've outgrown the cups you planted in, and might have become rootbound. Are there drainage holes in the cups?

If you planted your garlic in the fall (as is typical), then the leaves are probably turning brown by now, which means it's time to harvest. If you planted in spring, then you may indeed have dead plants - garlic needs a long cool growing season to do well.
 
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H.L.Dyer

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I live in growing zone 4b.
I did include drainage holes in the bottoms of the cups and have a secondary cup over the plant cup to catch excess water.
The cup on the right is the one with the skinny stem. Please excuse the messy table šŸ˜…
Carnations
I also included my wilted garlic plants for the heck of it. I did plant them this past may-june. Unfortunate to hear they're gone. But at least now I know to better plant them closer to the fall.
Garlic
 

mrsmig

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So....the problem with your carnation set-up is that it doesn't really allow your plants to drain. The excess may flow into the second cup, but it has no place to go. So unless you're dumping out the excess from cup #2 after you've watered the plants, the water just backs up into cup #1. Members of the dianthus family prefer well-drained soil, so your guys may be suffering from wet feet. If you're planning to plant them outside, bear in mind that, depending on the variety of carnation you've planted, they may not survive the winter due to your growing zone. (4b is a little cold for them.)

And yeah - your garlic is history. It looks like it died of some kind of fungal rot. I was assuming you'd planted it outside, but I see you have it in a shallow pot in what looks like regular potting soil. It's possible to grow garlic in containers, but the containers have to have good drainage and be deep enough for the plant to strike roots, and the soil can't be too heavy. Here's an article you may find helpful: How to Grow Garlic in Pots.

You may want to do some research on what grows well in your zone, and when to plant it. There are lots of websites out there with good advice and suggestions.
 
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Chris P

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Sorry to hear about the carnations and garlic! But thanks for the info on the garlic; I was planning on planting some in containers this fall. I was going to do them as a winter crop in the raised beds, but if I can't harvest until July that eats up space (which I don't have much of--yet :greenie) for next spring's plants.

My grapevines are doing what they are supposed to, and I'll trim them back this winter as head-trained trunks and next year, fingers crossed!

Now the mystery: My bell peppers bloom just fine, but no sooner do they get pea-sized fruit on them the fruits vanish. The tomatoes are setting fruit just fine, so it's not the pollinators. I want to blame the squirrels, but they might just be an easy target and they're leaving the tomatoes alone.

Ideas, anyone?
 

mrsmig

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I'm thinking about putting in garlic this fall myself and have the same dilemma as you, Chris P. I just don't have a lot of space for all the things I want to plant. I've got some garlic in my cart at Southernexposure.com, but since it won't ship until the fall, I'm giving myself time to think it over before I purchase. In August I'm going to get some fall crops into the ground: beets, broccoli, collards, cabbage and radish. I picked varieties that do well in colder weather (in fact, the cabbage variety is called January King).

I harvested one of my two bags of Yukon Gold potatoes and was disappointed in the small yield and small potatoes - so many that were dime- and quarter-sized. My biggest one had begun to rot, and I'm wondering if the first-generation grow bags I planted them in (which seem more plastic-y than the ones I bought this year) aren't providing enough drainage.

The four Mortgage Lifter tomatoes I started at the end of June got moved into their own grow bags this morning. This is an experiment; I've never tried planting a second crop of tomatoes but I had the seed and the bags and the soil, so I figured, why not? I'm getting nice-sized bell peppers on my plants, so Chris P, it may be that chipmunks are getting yours (birds will peck at them, too). Squirrels will generally leave your tomatoes alone until they start to ripen.

I couldn't figure out why I'm inundated with cucumber blossoms but no fruit, but yesterday I took an online class ("Problems of the Summer Garden") and the instructor told me that the male blossoms will appear first, to get pollinators attracted, and then the female blossoms will follow. So we'll see.
 
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mrsmig

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(Deleted - tried to edit my own post and ended up replying to it instead. :rolleyes: )
 

Chris P

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it may be that chipmunks are getting yours

Argh! Chippies! Those loveable fuzzy little monsters.

Non-gardening chippie story, relayed to me by an auto mechanic: One customer brought the car in complaining that it would start like normal, then die within a few seconds. The mechanic ran his tests, and found that as soon as the engine turned over the pressure would skyrocket and the engine would die. Like there was a blockage in the exhaust causing it to back up and smother the cylindars. They start at the back, and finally when they got to the catalytic converted, it was packed full of dog food. The customer kept the dog's food bag in the garage, and the chipmunks were stealing it and squirreling it away in the tail pipe. Catalytic converters generate water vapor, which caused the dog food to expand and choke off the engine.

I really do hope this story is true. That's just too cute.
 
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Friendly Frog

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It's been a pretty wet summer this year. I'm not complaining really, because it meant I didn't have to do much watering outside. And as my parents could safely travel, I was minding this zoo and garden alone. So I didn't have to worry about the state of the rain water barrels or hassle with hoses.

It's clear that our garden can deal with deluges far better than heat waves. This is good to know.

It means that the sneaky pruning I did of the plants I am otherwise forbidden to touch wasn't as noticable, but I noticed my dad looking so he suspects I did so. Even though I had less good weather days to do it.

Now with the rains everything is crazily lush and I have more legitimate pruning to do! The wisteria went wild, with runners all the way to the ground floor and I have been batting strands trying to invade my balcony rockgarden almost daily.

But the near constant rains means little to no bee swarms and so my brand new hive I got to replace the now closed off bee wall nest (They died over winter so I could safely close off the entrance.) remains empty. Which is a big bummer because I needed it to be a succes to move dad to do something about the other bee nest in the wall on the other side of the house.

And there's a worse twist. There apparently was another entrance in the other side of the wall, which means the old bee nest is now taken over by hornets. AND just this week I discovered wasps have made a nest in the shutterbox of the bathroom window, a meter below the still extisting bee nest whose presence masked the wasps' up until now.

Honestly, I have had it up TO HERE with these bloody insects mussling in on my house. Ordered poison for the wasps, couldn't find anything in the local shops with a directed delivery to reach inside the wall. Still unsure about the hornets. It's almost a pity they're the native ones, if they were asian hornets I could have destroyed them with extreme prejudice.
 
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mrsmig

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Friendly Frog, I feel your dilemma about killing the hornets. I hate using chemical sprays of any kind; I'm always afraid I'm going to harm beneficials along with pests. About the only thing I'll do is use a soapy water spray to discourage aphids. Hornets and wasps nesting on/in the house, though - that's a different matter.

I wonder what it is about your home that is making it so attractive to the little devils?
 

Friendly Frog

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Hah, I wish I knew, mrsmig. Maybe because it's an old stone house with lots of tiny crooks and crannies and hollow walls where a lot of newer houses have had their walls filled with isolation. But we have about EVERY social insect nesting in our walls at least twice.

A few years ago we had a hornet nest in the wall of my dad's workspace. We didn't know all that much about hornets, they targetted our butterflies, we panicked a bit and poisoned it and closed it off immediately. This was unwise because the surviving hornets tunnelled one by one through the inner wall and my dad had to catch dusty, pissed off hornets pretty much daily.

After that I researched hornets more, learned that they were useful insects and did not deserve their bad reputation. (Later hornets did not target my butterflies as much as the first one did, though.) And that the nest is abandoned in October and never re-used. If we had waited just a month longer the first time, they would have left naturally. Lesson learned.

The main problem with the current hornet nest is that its entrance in on the balcony so interaction is a lot more likely. I've learned not to swat at them when they're inquisitive, but whether that is enough is another matter. And they live like just one floor down from the new hive. I don't know whether the presence of the hornets is part deterrent of why I don't have bees in the hive this year or whether I put the hive out too late, or whether it's the weather. I just don't know.
 
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dolores haze

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Am enjoying my second summer in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Really miss my garden at my old house, which I'd worked on for years. *sigh* Oh well, the garden really added to the value. Glad we listed it in summer :)

So, starting fresh in Vermont I didn't do too much last summer as I wanted to see what would pop up. I seem to have inherited masses of overgrown lilies and hosta. Spent a lot of time dividing them up and spreading, and they're still really overgrown. Planted tomatoes, beans, peppers, strawberries, chard, bok choy in the two raised veggie beds. Built a brand new raised bed with river stone along one side of the house. Me and my husband made some lovely rustic funnel trellises and I filled two with native honeysuckle. Got some marijuana plants growing (legal here), and planted a few perennials (shasta, susans) I grew from seed. I do indoor gardening in winter (long, freeeeezing) using the aerogardens my guys keep buying me. Kind of experimenting to see what will survive the Vermont winter.

The yard is huge and mostly grass, so have been making lots of plans for interesting features. One thing I'd like advice about. I have this huge boulder in my yard that is perfect for lizarding on. I'd love to plant some scented perennials around the boulder, so I can lay there in the warm sun and be surrounded by heavenly scents. Any suggestions for Zone 4B?

Need to remember how to post pics, lol Haven't been here in a while.
 
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Friendly Frog

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I'm thinking there are worse plants to inherit than overgrown hostas and lilies, but that sounds like quite a lot!

A huge lizarding boulder sounds awesome! I can't help you with planting suggestions, I'm afraid, it looks like a lot colder than I'm used to.
 
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mrsmig

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I'm afraid I haven't any suggestions, either. I do know 4B has a pretty short growing season. Maybe you and H.L Dyer (above) should compare notes - she's in 4B too.
 
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Friendly Frog

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We've had a few consecutive days of summer and I'm finally starting to see butterflies in numbers that don't make me instantly despair. Far too few compared to a decade or so ago, mind. Just ones and twos. But more than I've seen all spring.

Seen the very first peacock butterfly of the year, despite it is theoretically the most numerous species in these parts and I just... sighed with relief. It came from deep.

The butterfly bushes have come into bloom and they are very, very aptly named.

I have to stop myself from hovering around my lepidopteran visitors: "have you see the salvia? full in bloom! Can you smell them? Don't go yet! Did you see the nettles? There's more nectar here, tell your friends!"

Nettles are the major foodsource for a lot of the native catterpillars and normally I keep them very contained (because ouch), but with the butterflies struggling in the changing climate, this year I have let them run pretty wild in the unreasonable hope I get caterpillars this year.

Them and frogs are pretty much the reason I ever bothered with a wildlife garden.
 

Chris P

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Friendly Frog, your post reminds me of this article from 2017: The Tragedy of the Common. Basically, the author argues that although the loss of endangered species is a tragedy, we should be paying much more attention to the decline of common (or formerly common) species as true indicators of what's going on. This somewhat goes in the face of how common diversity indexes are calculated, where a predominance of one species over others indicates poor diversity and therefore poor ecosystems (in the article, decline of common species even if less common species remain extant), or ecology theory saying that loss in one species causes an increase in others. If EVERYONE is declining, things are bad indeed.
 
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MaeZe

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Monarchs are mind-boggling. They not only travel incredible distances, a butterfly way up there in the sky, even over the ocean, but they take a couple generations to do it! 'Generations' that's right. Their biological mandate to get to that breeding ground in Mexico (and I think there are a couple other places they migrate south to) is passed on through multiple generations. That includes the generations it takes to get back north. I'll find an article on it and post it in the science sub-forum.


I'm wondering if you knowledgeable folks think it is too late for me to plant giant pumpkins. I live near Seattle so that is the climate. I really need to plant a garden here and I've not gotten around to it. Instead of digging in this very hard glacial till I think I'll build a little raised bed and fill it with store-bought soil.

I hate mowing the lawn and blowing the driveway off because it seems so meaningless. But I would love to be outside doing something. I need to plant a garden.
 

mrsmig

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Seattle straddles USDA growing zones 8b and 9a, so you have a longish growing season. However, the larger pumpkin varieties generally need in excess of 100 days to mature, so you may be too late to get them started, particularly if you're direct-sowing (rather than planting seedlings). Check the seed packet for "days to maturity," and then compare that against your first frost date. This article may be helpful; it includes a link to various pumpkin varieties and also a link to finding out your first frost date: When To Plant Pumpkins.

If you really want to plant something now, look for vegetables that like cooler weather and/or mature quickly. Here's a fall planting calendar for your area that will give you some ideas: Planting Calendar for Seattle, WA
 

Friendly Frog

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Despite the rains, August has been a good month for butterflies. A good one for flying insects in total, I should say.

I'm seeing several different species of solitary bees, hoverflies and two giant dragonflies have divided the garden between them, patrolling their own patch. If the big ones stay in the garden that means they keep finding enough food here. At least I must be doing something right, then.

Aparantly one of my potatoes survived. It was shaded by another plant that had a tendency to flop and escaped detection that way until now. It's alive, but I wonder whether there will be any taters worth the name come harvest time. Got it topped up and into the sun anyway.
 
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mrsmig

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We had several weeks' worth of rain all crammed into about four days here, so everything is soggy. The gardens seem happy, though, particularly since July was So. Darned. Hot. We were above 90F most of the month. The rain has cooled things down about ten degrees.

My cucumbers finally started producing, and this morning I discovered a couple of giant ones hiding under the leaves, including one that's 4 inches in diameter. We'd been eating a fair amount of cuke and onion salad already, but I'm going to have to get creative if this keeps up. Bell and jalapeno peppers have been producing steadily, as have the pole beans, and I harvested my first cocozelle last week (a kind of heirloom zucchini). My spaghetti squash vine has a whopping ONE squash on it, and my sugar baby mini watermelon has one wee little fruit, although I think there may be more to come. Tomatoes are fading; most of mine are determinate varieties (which fruit and then die back). My four experimental mid-season Mortgage Lifters seem to be doing all right; the two in grow bags actually look better than the two I planted in-ground, and one actually has blossoms on it. I will probably have to find room for them in my Tomato Fortress to keep the squirrels and chippies off them.

I bought a big farm cart the other day (kind of like an overgrown wheelbarrow, made of heavy duty plastic), because I wanted something to mix and transport soil. It'll also come in handy to move bags of mulch. We have an elderly metal wheelbarrow that belonged to my late father-in-law, but the pan has rusted through and it's prone to tipping over. I may plant some mums in it this fall so it'll get a second life as yard decor.

I went ahead and ordered some garlic, so that will be my big experiment for the fall/winter garden. I was hoping to plant some of my fall crops this week, but more rain is in the forecast, so that may get put off to the end of the month.
 

Helix

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I don't have a garden, but I do have an increasing number of plants in pots. Since we're coming into Spring here, they're going nuts, pushing out new growth and looking all shiny and bright. I have a collection policy that focuses on 1) short-range endemic species 2) from the tropics. I might have to narrow this down, because quite a lot of plants fit those criteria.
 

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