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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 7, 2018 11:23 pm 
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thx so much, cookntyme, for the overview. it'll be my 4th summer in my new place (moved up from town) and i'm still learning the nuances of the place. rabbits are on to me big time, as last year my container garden was a totally wasted endeavor, whereas the previous 3 yrs started out good, going to frustrating. my first 2 yrs' attempt at in-ground didn't do any better. too many trees & no funds for greenhousing, but i can rent a tiller & renew my attempts at the one in-ground location possible, since giving it a 6-12" layer of aged manure didn't do anything. there is hope yet, and starting small is the key! ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 6:30 am 
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mtnhsmama wrote:
thx so much, cookntyme, for the overview. it'll be my 4th summer in my new place (moved up from town) and i'm still learning the nuances of the place.


I moved up here 12 years ago and I too am still learning the nuances of the place.

Tis my pleasure to teach what I can. With 4+ decades of gardening experience in various climates, I have learned a few things. But I continue to learn something new every year. I wonder what it might be this year.

Successful gardening anywhere is first and foremost about the soil. Up here I don't use any native soil in the top 15-18 inches. I rotate my crops and I want all root zones to be good soil (some veggies like tomatoes have very deep roots). But I know people who only replace the top 6-8 inches and they seem to do fine.

Battling the elements (weather and critters) is the second priority here. Each location has a different microclimate and different population of critters. So what works for one person might not work well for you. Keep experimenting and please let us know what is and is not working for you.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 7:13 am 
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I read over CooknThyme's post and really can't think of anything to add. She did a really good job with her overview of gardening up here.

I am thinking of using 1 inch chicken wire under my protected bed down in my vegi garden since my problem is pocket gophers - I've never had voles which are much smaller and need the smaller holes.

SamanthaPittman, congratulations on moving up here. My husband and I, after over 30 years, still think of this as paradise. I lived here for 3 years before I even began to think about gardening. We moved to our home in December and the winter and very long spring were a wakeup call to me that this wasn't Maryland. I had huge gardens back there and could grow just about anything; up here, it's a continuous learning experience. And every season is so different from the last. Some summers have rain every day, some no rain for weeks, some summers are cloudy and cool, some clear and hot.

CooknThyme wrote:
Successful gardening anywhere is first and foremost about the soil.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have a south sloping meadow where I put my vegi garden. The soil seemed to be black and fertile. When I had the soil tested, I was surprised there was no organic matter in the soil and very little nutrients. Later I learned the sun is so strong here that organic matter just decayed into nothing quickly.

I would say a close second to the soil is an access to water. With very little organic matter and no clay up here, rain just percolates down through the soil. And the sun tends to come out quickly and dries the top 6 inches or so of soil in no time. I initially thought our afternoon thunder storms (when we have them...) would be enough. Not so. Every gardener that I know of waters their gardens, some more often then others.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 7:29 am 
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This is all excellent advice from very experienced gardeners! I’ll add a couple of thoughts.

I plant in ground and amend the soil as others have suggested. But I also container garden on my deck, and in my driveway, in plastic pots. I do all my tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, beans, carrots, broccoli raab, lettuce, spinach, garlic, shallots and potatoes (in potato bags) in containers. That way I can use organic soil and control some of the critter problems. Last year was setting up to be as great as 2012 until that dang hailstorm, but I still got loads of beans, carrots, potatoes and a few tomatoes and squash. So a container garden might be an option and a little less work (at my age).

I will usually set my plants up on an inexpensive folding table, but last season I got a little creative and set up a sheet of plywood on my husband’s sawhorses. So this can be done pretty inexpensively.

Another thing you will face here is that your nightshades may suffer blossom drop or fail to set fruit because our nights at elevation are not that warm. I have used a spray called Tomato and Blossom Set made by Bonide, with good success. I got mine online from Gardeners Supply but some of the local greenhouses may carry it.

Gardening up here is a big adventure as I’ve learned over almost 25 years. One year may be great, next may be awful. So, steel yourself, but always try to enjoy it!


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 8:14 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
I am thinking of using 1 inch chicken wire under my protected bed down in my vegi garden since my problem is pocket gophers - I've never had voles which are much smaller and need the smaller holes.


I know that is very tempting given that the cost of hardware cloth is so incredibly expensive. Perhaps if you double up the chicken wire trying to overlap to create 1/2 inch openings.

But I still have to recommend 1/4 hardware cloth.

For my first 8 years up here I didn't have much trouble with GM ground squirrels or voles in my veggie garden. But these past 4 years have been getting worse and worse (probably due to the decline in the fox population) and now they destroy soooooooooooo much (even with all my various forms of protection) that I often consider giving up outdoor gardening all together.

But with the various hawk populations increasing so dramatically, perhaps they will eat more rodents and make gardening easier up here.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 8:30 am 
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mummydog wrote:
But I also container garden on my deck

For several years, that's what I do with geraniums and other flowers. It's just too hard to keep the critters from eating most flowers in my open rock gardens. I just love flowers and can see these every morning while we eat breakfast.

But even then, the golden mantle squirrels come up the stairs and drink from the tubs. And twice now, I've had some large critter come up at night and totally dump plants and pots all around. I say large due to the incredible mess it makes. I think it's after the water also.

CooknThyme wrote:
I know that is very tempting given that the cost of hardware cloth is so incredibly expensive. Perhaps if you double up the chicken wire trying to overlap to create 1/2 inch openings.

I've caught at least a dozen pocket gophers over the last several years and not one was small enough to get through a 1 inch hole. Probably they were so fat because they ate so much of my garden.

The HAGS did use 1/2 inch hardware cloth at the Pine Post Office for the roses we planted. Initially, we had a very expensive ball spruce, ornamental grass, and several prostrate firs in the round garden by the entrance. They did great the first summer and the next spring, were dead. Voles had completely eaten the roots. I had never seen such damage and wished I had taken a picture of the rootless bushes. So, yes if you have voles, you need very, very small holes.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 8:46 am 
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TillerBee wrote:
And twice now, I've had some large critter come up at night and totally dump plants and pots all around. I say large due to the incredible mess it makes. I think it's after the water also.


I've had raccoons do that. So I try not to use drip trays anymore and that has essentially eliminated the overturned pots.
But that means more watering and deck damage.

I agree that 1 inch chicken wire (which is really ~ 2 sq inch opening) will likely reduce the gopher damage.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 11:48 am 
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CooknThyme wrote:
I agree that 1 inch chicken wire (which is really ~ 2 sq inch opening) will likely reduce the gopher damage.

I thought about this and you are correct. Chicken wire has hexagon shaped openings. If each side of the hexagon is 1 inch, the longest diagonal is 2 inches. Hexagon Calculator

Whereas mesh is square or rectangular openings. So a 1 inch square mesh would have the longest diagonal as the square root of 2, or ~1.414 inches, more than a half inch smaller. A vole could get through this but not a pocket gopher.

A 1/2 inch square mesh has a long diagonal of .707 inch, it would be hard for even a vole to get through this.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 1:04 pm 
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TillerBee wrote:
A 1/2 inch square mesh has a long diagonal of .707 inch, it would be hard for even a vole to get through this.


Sorry for sounding so argumentative today. But a vole can get through an opening as small as a dime. Dime diameter = 0.7 inches.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 1:22 pm 
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Yikes! :yikes: I am so glad I don't have voles here.

And you are not argumentative. Different opinions and ideas are always welcome, to me anyway. And I learned that 1 inch chicken wire won't do to put around my garden. A chipmunk can get through a 2 inch hole so you saved me from an expense and a mistake.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 8, 2018 1:32 pm 
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I'm glad you see it that way. ;)
Oh yes indeed, a chipmunk can fly through 1 inch chicken wire. Just ask my chickens about that! :dancing chicken:

A GM ground squirrel can get through 1 inch cw too but it slows them down a little.


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 Post subject: Re: 2018 Gardening Plans, Progress, Successes, Questions
Post Posted: Feb 9, 2018 10:21 am 
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I have a question?

Has anyone with a greenhouse attempted to grow grapes? I have a friend with a growing dome and she had a beautiful grape vine that had a nice harvest each year, but her greenhouse house was at 7,000 ft.

I found a variety of grape that is suppose to grow at our planting zone and even colder. It apparently grows in Alaska as well. It is a Somerset Seedless Grape, with a small sweet grape and a short growing season.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated! Thanks


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