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Thread: A general gardening thread

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Blah. You're supposed to tell me there's some magical cure made from common household materials, like soda mixed with mustard (of the brown variety), that when a drop is placed on an unwanted plant, it will magically wither and die all the way down through the roots! Oh well.
    Ever see what cooking oil, like Wesson, does to plants? (Go ahead, check it out. Just not on plants you like.)

    Plus I got to work with some absolutely terrifying herbicides in my greenhouse days. We had one butthead who didn't believe the proper mix was one drop per 55 gallons of water. (Made in 2000 gallon batchs usually. Achieves satisfatory results within three days with minimal regrowth. Often used as a pretreatment for future parking lots and roadways.) He wanted just enough to clear a 80 foot by ten foot area between greenhouses that was going to be regravelled and didn't want to do the math. Some obnoxious, like mint. It was coming under the greenhouse's foundation and invading them as well

    There was a major session of "What the *heck* did you do!" when the guys work was checked a few hours later and all the top growth in the sprayed area had literally liquified. He exceeded the labelling directions a wee bit. (And was too high up the food chain for me to really impress with my displeasure. One of the drawbacks of working for a large privately owned company. Lower level workers with pull.) Probably still barren to this day.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    There was a major session of "What the *heck* did you do!" when the guys work was checked a few hours later and all the top growth in the sprayed area had literally liquified. He exceeded the labelling directions a wee bit.
    Ha! Tempting . . .

    I'm gunshy with any type of chemical treatment for these particular plants because they're in the back yard, and I have dogs. I'm just still in the denial phase of admitting I need to use the weedwacker more than once a month. That's one chore I really don't like. Just imagine if my yard was more than about a quarter acre! Heh.

  3. #63
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    Well then try the first option.

    Fill a small cheap spray bottle with Wesson oil and spray the top growth. Spray in the morning and it will be dead by noon or sooner. (You asked for dramatic results) The oil triggers massive collapse of all the upper folliage of almost all vascular plants. Nothing is immortal and they can only respawn from underground stores three or four times, max. (usually twice, in my experiance) I've taken out pampas grass with that method. Pampas grass stops bulldozers. You have something that fights bulldozers? And salad oil is probably good for your dog's coat. Or give him the screaming runs, I'm not sure which.

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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Ever see what cooking oil, like Wesson, does to plants? (Go ahead, check it out. Just not on plants you like.)
    Hmm.. maybe. Saw what spilling a little lamp oil appeared to do a 3 by 3 ft shrub. Directly affected branches died almost immediately, and now, months later, so much of the plant seemed dead, we ripped it out to do something else with the space. But.. it could also have died of our rather more severe than usual winter.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Fill a small cheap spray bottle with Wesson oil and spray the top growth. Spray in the morning and it will be dead by noon or sooner. (You asked for dramatic results) The oil triggers massive collapse of all the upper folliage of almost all vascular plants. Nothing is immortal and they can only respawn from underground stores three or four times, max.
    Sounds like something to try on the ground-elder/goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) once the back garden clears up from its impeding invasion of construction machinery.

    When I mentioned grafting 24 apple trees in another thread, you mentioned having room for them. Currently they're in a temporary bed while I'm waiting for their grafts to take. The plan is that when the construction machinery is gone in about a years time and has finished converted what was previously an overgrown slope into a 20' high, 40' wide SSE facing wall, I'm going to go seriously nuts with espaliering.
    I picked M7 as the optimal rootstock for that, as it's dwarfing enough that it won't fight espaliering too much, but still vigorous enough to try, thus hopefully making it possible to provoke it to grow as I want it to.

    1) My garden has a 4 lane motorway/freeway as its northern neighbor and they're expanding that to 6 lanes. I'm definitely looking forward to it, as that will replace a basically useless slope straight up to the road with no noise control, with a vertical wall with a 12' noise absorbing wall on top. And though the 3' closest to the wall isn't mine, I'm allowed to plant anything I want there.
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  6. #66
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    I've been to the garden for the first time in about a week, and the apple trees are starting to show signs of some of the grafts succeeding, with a greening of the buds on the scion. Many of them were also trying to bud below the graft which is good as it shows the roots have established themselves enough to support the rest, but as they'll take energy and water from the scion I removed all of the buds below the graft.

    And I've learned something new about Peonies: If people try to tell you that peonies are delicate fragile things, they don't know what they're talking about.
    A bit of additional information is probably needed to set up the situation. When I got the garden about three years ago, my then girlfriend had never had a garden before and was prone to bouts of Toad-like enthusiasm when starting something new1, so when we got is she decided to put one part aside as a rose garden. Being the nice guy I am, I let her do what she wanted with it, which resulted in the planting of 4 roses and the moving of 3 peonies (in Danish, one of the names for the European Peony (Paeonia officinalis) is Bonderose, literally Farmer's Rose, so she was of the opinion that they belonged there).
    This was subsequently a slight point of disagreement between us and after she died last year I decided to get rid of them, both in order to make it a "real" rose garden and because they grow so big that one of them was completely overhanging one of the smaller neighboring rose bushes, and I went about it in fastest and most effortless way I could think of which was by redefined them as part of the lawn, and I subsequently ran them over with the lawnmower repeatedly over the rest of the autumn while mowing.
    Now all three are shooting as if nothing had happened and are already several inches high forming a dense pillow of shoots. Those things are tough!

    1) another example of her enthusiasm was that she'd read that comfrey's good for producing organic fertilizer in the garden2, so after we'd bought two she experimented with various ways of multiplying them in order to get lots of fertilizer, ranging from the traditional cutting the plant into a couple of pieces with a spade and planting each, to simply cutting leaves off and sticking them in the ground. Almost every attempt succeeded including simply sticking leaves in the ground, so now I have 15 plants and have to cut them clean to the ground every other month or so to keep them from taking over everything, but at least I have plenty of greens for the compost and for producing fertilizer extract. I filled a 30 liter milk pail completely with comfrey leaves I picked today.

    2) It isn't a nitrogen fixer like the legumens but it has a very deep tap root so it can access nutrients not accessible by most other plants and bring them to the surface.
    Last edited by HenrikOlsen; 2010-May-01 at 06:44 PM.
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    (in Danish, one of the names for the European Peony (Paeonia officinalis) is Bonderose, literally Farmer's Rose, so she was of the opinion that they belonged there).
    (In Dutch it's "pioenroos", pee-oon-rose)

    In our backyard we have a shrub (actually 2 close together) of Red currant. It does well and gave us a lot of berries last year. Considering the amount of berries already starting to grow, this year should be good too. But.. it suffers from small green caterpillars (a few mm in size, comparable to a grain of rice). From earlier experience I know I have to act quickly or the entire shrub will be without leaves. Is there any "friendly" way to get rid of these critters, except hand-picking? Or will it require a trip to the store for some kind of pesticide?

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  8. #68
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    Wow, great thread! I have started to take interest in gardening the last few years and this year I got my vegetables out last weekend. This weekend of course I had to cover my little garden which is inside my dog pen to prevent frost damage. We are experiencing a late cold streak roughly 20 degrees below normal. My garden space is small but I also have about the property a large grape plant(yields 40 lbs of green grapes) , raspberries 2nd season (no yields yet), and strawberries that have done well the last couple years. The grapes are in bloom, the strawberries well on their way, and from the one raspberries plant that I put in last year I now have about 6 stalks.

    Any suggestions on ensuring that my raspberries fruit? I have friends who claimed that they never could get their raspberries to bear fruit. I have been adding coffee grounds to my strawberry patch as I was told this is good for them, and will help their yield. Are coffee grounds good for the tomato's too? Any word on what to use coffee grounds with or to avoid using on.

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    When did you cut the raspberry canes?

    If they're regular raspberries you should be aware that they're likely a summer bearing variety, which means they bear fruit early to midsummer on second year canes, so you have to be careful about which canes you cut, when.

    One way to have summer bearing raspberries (as they're known) is to grow them in a row with a double trellis so you can tie one year's canes on one side while having last year's canes on the other. Once the second year canes are done fruiting, you cut them an inch off the ground, they won't bear any more fruit anyway, this frees that side of the trellis for next year's growth.
    The advantage is that when you don't have first and second year canes entangled, there's less risk of damaging the new ones when you remove the old.

    As for coffee grounds I put them in the compost heap, saves thinking and the filter can go too.
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    I cut the canes back last fall to about 2 inches from the ground. Suddenly this spring I found several new canes comming up beside the orginal plant, interestingly they actually showed more growth than the original canes, but the orginal canes do show some greening. So I would assume from what you have said that the canes from last year should bear fruit but the new ones will probably not. Typically here in New Mexico the raspberries fruit in the late summer but that is further North in the State so I dont know exactly what to expect here in town.

    Its funny about the coffee grounds, the local Star Bucks coffee shops are slammed with gardeners taking their grounds by the sack full. My timing at getting to Star Bucks in time to get their grounds seems poor so I have been making do with my own. I was told by my barber that coffee grounds are exceptionally good for strawberries and should be hand mixed right into the soil around the plants. I have given this a try so we'll see how that fairs. Our local soils are sandy and probably more base than acid. Roses grow here like weeds though I have managed to kill one in my front yard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynjack1 View Post
    I cut the canes back last fall to about 2 inches from the ground. Suddenly this spring I found several new canes comming up beside the orginal plant, interestingly they actually showed more growth than the original canes, but the orginal canes do show some greening. So I would assume from what you have said that the canes from last year should bear fruit but the new ones will probably not. Typically here in New Mexico the raspberries fruit in the late summer but that is further North in the State so I dont know exactly what to expect here in town.
    When raspberries bear fruit depends more on which type they are than on where they're grown, I expect the late summer bearing is because it's an autumn bearing variety.
    Those will start bearing fruit late summer and if picked regularly will continue to do so through a fairly long period lasting into autumn, while the summer bearing will have a short but intense period in early to mid summer, depending on the exact variety.

    Raspberries, both summer and autumn bearing will make new shoots readily, vigorously, and once settled, all over the place including where you don't want them, their main way of multiplying is by sending roots in all directions and putting up shoots every foot or two.

    When I talk about second year canes it's not about new growth on top of old stumps, it's canes that have been allowed to keep their full length since last year (possibly with the top shortened to 6-7 feet for ease of picking next year).
    Basically they should be allowed to grow as they like for 1 year, then get cut all the way down so they're replace by the new shoots that have been growing since spring.

    Sadly, I suspect you won't get any this year either but if you let them keep their height until next year you should get lots.
    I actually planted a row of summer bearing raspberries late last year and they're only now starting to seriously shoot so I'm in exactly the same situation myself.
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  12. #72
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    I used to cut my raspberries in the Autumn (fall) and they used to give me loads of fruit in the summer, I couldn't keep up with picking them.
    Coffee grounds are good for the garden and they also keep the evil slugs away and the kittehs off the garden, they don't like the taste of it when they clean their paws. Mwhahahaha.
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  13. #73
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    Ha Ha that should prove fun with my cat Josey. As I keep the dog out by planting most of my garden in the dog kennel...the cat has no problem getting in and out whenever she cares too. Fortunately my dog (anAustrailan Shepard) doesnt know she could easily jump over our back wall so hence the lack of need for the kennel. Of couse if I leave the kennel door open she loves to dig around in the damp garden soil. She does have access to my strawberries and I catch her occassionally helping herself to them. As far as the raspberrries go Ill hope for the best and keep your pruning suggestions in mind. Thanks all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    (In Dutch it's "pioenroos", pee-oon-rose)

    In our backyard we have a shrub (actually 2 close together) of Red currant. It does well and gave us a lot of berries last year. Considering the amount of berries already starting to grow, this year should be good too. But.. it suffers from small green caterpillars (a few mm in size, comparable to a grain of rice). From earlier experience I know I have to act quickly or the entire shrub will be without leaves. Is there any "friendly" way to get rid of these critters, except hand-picking? Or will it require a trip to the store for some kind of pesticide?

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    I'm wondering if they are Box Tree Caterpillars

    Does this sound like them?

    The eggs are laid in a flat sheet, overlapping each other, on the underside of box leaves. When first laid, they are pale yellow and difficult to see, but as they mature, the eggs develop a black spot where each larval head capsule is forming.
    Newly hatched larvae are coloured greenish yellow, with black heads. As the larvae get older, the head stays black and the green body develops dark brown stripes. Mature larvae retain the green ground colour to their bodies, and develop a striking pattern of thick black and thin white stripes along the length of the body, with large black dots outlined in white on the dorsal side. They are up to 4 cm long.
    If it does the mainly list chemical treatments.

    http://www.hortweek.com/News/EmailTh...-perspectalis/

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    Quote Originally Posted by rommel543 View Post
    I'm wondering if they are Box Tree Caterpillars

    Does this sound like them?
    Not really, ours are much smaller, and (what I think are) the eggs seem to be somewhat individually placed. Thanks though.
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    (In Dutch it's "pioenroos", pee-oon-rose)

    In our backyard we have a shrub (actually 2 close together) of Red currant. It does well and gave us a lot of berries last year. Considering the amount of berries already starting to grow, this year should be good too. But.. it suffers from small green caterpillars (a few mm in size, comparable to a grain of rice). From earlier experience I know I have to act quickly or the entire shrub will be without leaves. Is there any "friendly" way to get rid of these critters, except hand-picking? Or will it require a trip to the store for some kind of pesticide?

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    I'm just wondering if those critters change colour a bit more as they get a bit older ie: does it get black spots on it later? If so they are magpie moths, then a spray with Bifenthrin - a contact insecticide, will bring them under control. This is best done before the flowers are open, or after petal drop. This prevents any accidental damage to friendly pollinating insects.
    I have used just plain old washing up liquid and a bit of water in a spray bottle, they don't like the taste of it.
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  17. #77
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    Or it could be an Angle shades, these are very common and beautiful to look at when they have pupated into a moth.
    Last edited by chrissy; 2010-May-03 at 08:27 PM. Reason: added moth info
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  18. #78
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    Thanks. I put a couple aside, to see what they'll do. I wouldn't mind them if they only took some leaves, but they take them all and quickly too.
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  19. #79
    Got the some beets and peas in today. Did not get around to burning the brush the weather has been to warm. dry and windy for fires, used some ashes from wood stove for the beets. And one of the cherry trees are already blooming.
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    Well today I filled that spot in the front that always gets too much sun and wind with a tall container that I put a zonal geranium, with metalic crimson blossoms, surrounded by purslane. I could never find purslane before because one; I didn't know what in was called and two, I thought it was a miniature iceplant and kept asking for the wrong thing.

    I found it today on a long shopping trip to the local nursury. Dropped another hundred bucks on color, pots and potting soils.

    I made a cactus bowl today as well. I told people I was thinking of making one and friends bought me two. Both were commercial bowls that are using immature spiney succulents I know I could grow into effective cattle barriers in about three years. The bowl I made today are all cacti and lithops I know have startling flowers and stay reasonable sized for bowl life. As a matter of fact at the moment the bowl looks a little empty as I allowed for growth and budding. And I know no less than two people who have extensive and beautiful cactus gardens.

    Now Treb mentioned trouble with stone fruits like plums. I just bought one for the first time. It's already swelling plums on it. I am now delaying putting it in the ground in my parent's paved backyard. I was going to hire a contractor to remove a 3 x 3 foot section of concrete. Since all the different plums are grafted on a quality rootstock, shouldn't that mean it's a little tamer than a seed grown plum sucker and shoot wise?
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    I didn't do anything that fancy. I did have my father bring out his tiller, and since he beat me home he did most of the tilling. So if the rain holds off (though I don't think it's supposed to), I have a few fresh beds that need raked and planted. One I'm just going to seed for grass, one (back by where we park our cars) will probably get the 'ol mulch treatment, because I'm tired of dealing with the weeds. The last is going to be our vegetable garden. We have five tomato plants living on our kitchen windowsill (it's supposed to get cold this weekend, so we're holding off on planting them until next week). We also bought some various seeds; a few different peppers, lettuce, ... um ... other things? I forget. And a whole lot of herbs. I'm going to start the other veggies inside, as we did last year and it worked much better. The problem was, we never were able to get a garden tilled, so our starts never made it past, well, starting.

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Since all the different plums are grafted on a quality rootstock, shouldn't that mean it's a little tamer than a seed grown plum sucker and shoot wise?
    It should be a little tamer, though not to the same extent as e.g. apples where the dwarfing range of rootstock is immense.
    Really dwarfing rootstock hasn't been found yet for plums, so a little tamer is probably exactly what you'll get.
    Last edited by HenrikOlsen; 2010-May-06 at 06:02 PM. Reason: added quote to show who I was replying to
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    Well, I dug out my garden soil, which is mostly hard clay. I created a dam to catch all the water that runs off from watering the lawn and other things like rain at the property edge. Then, I filled the garden with soil and sand.

    There's a ton of stuff piled everywhere, so I use pots to grow most of my vegetables.

    Oh, I only grow food. You can't eat flowers.

    Here's an inventory of all my plants

    7 Beans (Snap: Vines)
    2 Beets
    13 Corn
    4 Melons
    2 Peppers
    5 Potatoes
    6 Tomatoes
    20 Tomatoes, Cherry
    5 Zucchini

    I only have the space of a queen-sized bed to work with. So I have to maximize everything.

    Cherry Tomatoes grow like weeds; even ever a cherry tomato goes bad or gets half way eaten by a worm, I simply throw it in the dirt and next year, it grows. I usually give them to coworkers in pea pots.

    I'm actually quite pleased with growing corn and potatoes. If civilization should ever collapse, due to Peak oil or what not, those two plants are staples for a good diet.

    I bought a ten pound bag of potatoes for a dollar, but I couldn't finish them before they started growing. I throw one in a planter in mid-Feb. The winter monsoons came and the plant grew and then, a few weeks ago, it died. While preparing the soil for a zucchini, I dug up several small potatoes. I'm quite pleased with that.

  24. #84
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    Ral, I can grow potatoes like nobody's business around here but corn just doesn't do well at all. As a teen my family started a couple of vegetable plots and we were wildly successful with the spuds and collairds. And though I haven't done it myself, tomatoe growing is almost a cult locally. What with all the Italian, Portuguese and Mexicans that live here.

    Ral, as far as corn and The Big Collapse go, educate yourself on "nixtamalization". That's very important, or your colony could suffer from pelagra (AKA Spanish leprosy) should your potatoes get honked by something. (You can actually live on potatoes alone. A nutritional researcher ate nothing but spuds for a year and suffered no defects.) It's a pretreatment for corn that allows for the niacin in the corn to be liberated. Otherwise the niacin is unavailble.

    Edit to add link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    A nutritional researcher ate nothing but spuds for a year and suffered no defects.) It's a pretreatment for corn that allows for the niacin in the corn to be liberated. Otherwise the niacin is unavailble.
    Alton said something about that on a 'Good Eats' that I recently recorded (about making tamales). I haven't actually watched the episode yet (Tara's not really interested, so waiting for the rare occasion that I'm watching tv when she's not), but it was in the first minute or two before I changed the channel.

    I wasn't going to plant corn this year, but now that I think about making fresh corn meal for tamales, I might just have to!

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    Oh, as the bare root grapes I bought were kind of "iffy" to the point the greenhousemen gave me a discount, I planted six hoping for two and it looks like four are going to make it. Two varieties of seedless Concords. As I know a couple of locals also have grapes in their yards I'm going to mooch off of them as pollenizers.

    Seedless grapes produce sterile pollen. The ones I have (var. Mars) can produce without a pollenizer but produce larger yields with one. I'm greatly looking forward to small scale vinticulture (I think it's called.) If the four get really well established I my plant my own pollenizer, just to be sure.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  27. #87
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,010
    Hey Fazor, did I ever tell you the story of my Dad's corn field? Not a commercial sized one, just a big back yard corn plot. Dad lived in the Williamette valley near Roseburg on a half acre plot.

    Since the house was set forward on the property the back lawn was brutal to mow and needed doing weekly. So Dad had the back yard sub-divided. Hmmm, this is going to be a big long story so I probably should give it it's own thread. And I owe ABR. the terrarium report first as far as big long stories go. Well these stories don't write themselves.

    Faz, let me get ABR his story then I'll do this one. But first...er I need a cup of coffee. Going idle for about ten.

    BD
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  28. #88
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    18,442
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    I'm greatly looking forward to small scale vinticulture (I think it's called.)
    It's viticulture if you're talking about growing grapes.
    It's viniculture if you're talking about growing grapes to make wine.

    I have a single vine, currently about to enter its third year of training where it's planted.
    I don't expect much from it production wise, as it was picked as an impulse buy at the nursery during a shopping spree, so I'm basically playing around trying to learn how to train one before I start laying out money for a more well researched selection.

    I selected that specific system of training because a lack of space where it's growing meant I require tall narrow growth and don't have space for multiple trunks and/or long side canes. Being tall also reduces the risk of frost damage which definitely was a bonus with this winter.
    So far the permanent structure has been established and this year the exercise will be about establishing 2-3 spur systems on each horizontal branch. Being one year old, they really want to produce grapes this year but as I really want side growth to establish things for next year, I don't intend to allow them to
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    __________________________________________________
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  29. #89
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    1,166
    I'll have to look into, "nixtamalization". From what I've read, it also enriches corn with vitamins; so it's like taking a daily vitamin as well.

    I've increased watering. Instead of watering when the ground is dry, which is about one or twice a week, I water every two days; side effect, the ground's always muddy, but the tomatoes are really growing.

  30. #90
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Henrik, just a cursory read through on "viniculture" (thanks) shows me it's probably better if I go with "viticulture". I like to have plants I can spoil with love and affection and doing that to wine grapes leads to an inferior product. (for the folks at home, it makes too much sugar and the result is similar to MD 20/20
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

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