Wednesday, May 26, 2010

8am. 89 degrees already according to NWS
My weather center gadget is saying its 84.2 in out yard right now. We have a nice breeze that comes through the windows so it isn't horrible.
We didn't get any severe weather, rain or Tstorms yesterday.  I wonder how hot it will get today.

I need to get the Zsa Zsa pepper seedlings acclimated to outdoor life. We will likely be out and about for the long weekend and i will probably forget them. Usually this is the big planting weekend for this area. Everyone hits the garden center and its a one-time gardening glut all at once.
I think i'm glad i was able to start so early this year.

I do have one concern though, i read the blog of a lady who is about a zone South of me (Skippy's Vegetable Garden) and she just posted an entry yesterday about her broccoli buttoning.  She said it was possibly from them getting too warm too fast or being left in the seed flats too long.  So i wonder if i can expect a similar result.  I had my broccoli in 2.5# ground beef trays.  They are almost the same size, volume and dimension as the brown pulp trays i used to get my seedlings in when i went to the nursery.  I tried to keep them out of the greenhouses so they wouldn't get too hot. I don't know if they did get too hot when i kept them out, they only went under cover when frost was expected.
Its something to watch for.
Broccoli usually continues to head from the sides for a while, maybe that is what hers will do and hopefully mine would too.

The breezes feel nice.

I planted  some Germander seeds the other day and they are up now.

I took the seedling flats out from under the covers. I couldn't see them well enough to make sure they weren't drying out. Since they are in small cells, it will happen fast if i don't pay attention.
I told my parents to take the extras, they will probably do that sometime next week.

School is almost over now. One more day to go. Our school gets out about 2 weeks ahead of the public school.  We don't do the 'early out' day that the public schools do, so even if we have a bad winter and school gets canceled due to snow storms we end up with an abundance of  total classroom hours. So that translates into a longer Summer vacation for our kids. My daughter says that the extra 2 weeks is a fair trade for the uniform code. 

I'm trying to figure out how long to keep the row covers on in the garden.  In normal years, they would be needed right now.  But its so warm out that the heat advantage isn't really necessary.  The bug advantage is what i'm leaning on now.  I'm not sure how this will balance out.   I think it is likely that it will cool down.  We normally only get 14-30 days of temperatures above 86 degrees in my area.  Many of those happen at the end of June through the middle of August.  So, um, yeah... this year is weird.
There are different types of row cover fabric. Mine is the grade that is supposed to help moderate temperatures in the garden. It lets through 85% of sunlight, holds in moisture and does not block rain. Maybe it is moderating the temps inside... i have never put a thermometer on garden soil before, so maybe it stays cooler in there than it does on the outside soil surface.  I remember the garden's surface soil being so hot in the summer that it felt like it was burning my bare feet. I know plants can handle surface temperatures like that to some extent....  My parents never watered their garden unless it was just after planting or it was super dry for a long time.
My Reemay cover is comparable to Agribon-19 according to my local Paris Farmer's Union (without the bells and whistles of seams and possibly without the UV stabilizers), and here is the description of what the Ag-19 does:
High quality spun-bonded polypropylene cover is light enough (0.55 oz./sq.yd.) to be laid directly over plants without hoops or frames but strong enough to withstand light to moderate wind and other stress. No need to remove it during the season because it is porous to water and air and has 85% light transmittance. It provides up to 4°F of frost protection, warms the soil and is a good pest barrier. It also conserves water by reducing evaporation. It is similar to other rowcovers but generally longer lasting. UV stabilizers increase expected field life to 2 to 3 seasons.
Agribon™ rowcovers have all the qualities of other brands, while being more affordable and with seams double-bonded for ultra-strength.  These floating rowcovers increase yields, prolong seasons, reduce soil erosion, protect against frost, speed up germination, minimize wind damage, conserve soil moisture, deter insects and birds and protect against extreme temperatures.   source

That is what i remember reading when i first decided to So,  i'm just not going to worry about the inside temps anymore.  I'll still look and write it down, but i won't worry about venting the ends anymore.

I had found and read a few PDF papers on tomato and squash growing under various row covers while i was researching it. The studies used slitted plastic, Ag-19 and a type of grow mesh that is fairly common in other countries (and is expensive to get over here).  The plastic was slitted for obvious reasons, the mesh didn't need slitting and i don't remember there being mention of venting the Ag-19 at all.

So second-guessing is over for now, lol.

I did some research on grapes and this article was very helpful  Grapes for the North

The University of Minnesota's page was also very helpful. Many of the grapes in that article were developed by UofM and the UofM site lists licensed sellers of their varieties (and others') of wine, juice and table grapes. There are a lot of commercial growers, but there are also some vineyards that are willing to sell retail in small amounts...  not sure if they are willing to sell as small as me, since i can only have maybe 2 or 3 of any one kind, and only 5 kinds at the most. But around the middle of this winter i will be emailing my questions.

These seem to be my choices:

Vailant (purple)

Frontenac (purple)

Edelweiss (white)

Kay Gray (white)

Niagra (white)

Catawba (red)

Swenson Red (red)

I'll see what i have room for if my berry seeds go anywhere.

For blueberries, i think i'll try "Patriot" next Spring.

I'm looking into how much room thornless blackberries would take.

1 comment:

Faith said...

Make sure you get at least two varieties. I think you 'can' get by with one, but they produce way better if you have more than one variety.

I did not get a Kay Grey or Swenson Red. So many grapes, so little of everything else. LOL