COLD WIND AND RAIN USHER IN SPRING AND SLOW OUR GARDEN GROWTH

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 25-03-2013

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I’d say that the ground hog missed the prediction this spring.  It has been consistently 15 degrees below normal here but I am not complaining as we have not had a killing frost this winter.

I have been setting out many seedlings that I have started over the heat mats and under the grow lights.  Mostly tomatoes and a few peppers but I have many other varieties coming along to join the tomatoes in the garden.  This year I have two kinds of Malabar Spinach – a red stemmed and a green stemmed variety.  We have grown the red stemmed type before and everyone loved it.  The green stemmed looks to be bigger so we should like it even better.  Remember that this is not a spinach at all but a climbing vine that can over winter.  It taste just like spinach and thrives in the heat of our summer so it is a perfect match for our garden.   I am growing a yellow form of zucchini squash this year that does not require pollination by bees.  This will allow me to isolate the plants from the squash bore via an insect cover and get a crop which has not been possible for the last couple years.  We have grown beautiful squash plants only to watch them wilt and die just as squash are starting to enlarge.  I have tried several methods to control the bore but have not been successful.  I am hoping that the yellow zucchini will satisfy my desire for crook necked squash.  These I am growing the squash in the new tall raised bed along with root crops that don’t require insect pollination (leeks, garlic, radish, etc.).    The tomatoes and peppers (and a few artichoke) will fill out the other 3 new raised beds.  Beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, greens, turnips, cukes and mints are all in.  I have a potted cold hardy avocado tree in the garden that is supposed to produce up to a thousand Haas type fruit/yr in a couple years.   I can only hope.  The blue berries are blooming and the bees are making the most of it.  Speaking of bees – I lost a large swarm (80,000 bees) a couple weeks ago.  I was working in the garden and heard a loud buzzing sound and watched the swarm fly 40 feet into an oak tree and settle.  Two days later, they went to their new home.  I hate losing a swarm but in a couple days the new brood had hatched out and filled the hive again.

BEE SWARM

DRIP IRRIGATION

Our hot summers always stress our plants and no matter how much we water, it is not enough.  I don’t like over head sprinklers because they encourage diseases and often cause sun scald.  Hand watering is almost always too light and causes shallow roots.  The solution is to install drip irrigation.  This is a very expensive undertaking with each emitter costing between .50 and a dollar plus all the connectors and tubes, timers, filters, pressure regulators etc.  Our system has exceeded $2,000 but should repay us with lush crops and bountiful vegetables.

DRIP IRRIGATION TUBING AT BASE OF FUTURE FIG HEDGE

DRIP IRRIGATION ON RAISED BEDS

TRELLIS FOR CUKES AND MALABAR SPINACH

GRAFTED TOMATOES UNDER BELL JARS

This year I am trying a few grafted tomatoes.  They are supposed to be far more resistant to disease due to the grafting root stock and should produce many more tomatoes.  If it is so, I will graft more heirloom varieties next year.

 

GARDEN LOCATION

Many of our blog members know where we are located but since we have members from all over the world (every continent), I thought I thought I would talk about our little place in heaven.  We are on the north tip of Lady’s Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA.  We can look across the Coosaw River and see the ACE Basin which is a protected 350,000 acre maritime forest/salt marsh ecosystem.  Our garden on the north edge of the river sits within a 2000 acre – lightly developed forest so we enjoy most of the amenities of the ACE Basin.  The Coosaw River modifies our weather by about 5 degrees in both the winter and the summer making it possible to avoid a killing frost for the third year in a row and enjoy the summer slightly cooler than those on the interior of the island.

AERIAL OF THE NORTHERN TIP OF LADY'S ISLAND SHOWING HOUSE, POND AND GARDEN SITE WITHIN THE FOREST

AERIAL OF GARDEN LAYOUT

Much of the garden is in shade in this Google Earth photo but one can see the vegetable garden to the left of the photo including the new raised beds and the blackberry support arches towards the center of the image.  The key hole hedge is a  Pittosporum tobira hedge that I rooted 15 years ago.  The thick bush between the legs of the key hole is the wisteria arbor where we will be holding our 3rd Annual Wisteria Soiree in a couple weeks.  Remember to stay tuned as you are all invited.

 

MULCHED BLACKBERRIES

PROTECTED AND PARTIALLY MULTCHED CABBGE

RAISED BED FOR SQUASH

A START ON THE TOMATOES

 

Stay tuned to watch the garden grow.  Time for me to go get dirty.

 

PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND ASK THEM TO SUBSCRIBE AS IT MAGNIFIES OUR PLEASURE WE WE CAN GARDEN WITH AN AUDIENCE.

 

GORDON

 

Comments (1)

Gordon,

Always enjoy a tour of your garden as I did week before last. The term garden is very misleading in your case, for it encompases such a large area of most all things planted. The end of season grapefruit and oranges given me were well used for consumption by myself and friends.

This particular blog is very interesting with the garden additions of raised beds, new plantings, and the aerial of the entire property and garden. Looking forward the the Wisteria Soiree in a couple of weeks, as I have in the past two years.

Bob Campbell

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