Author Topic: Endurance Garden 2014  (Read 29861 times)

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2014, 06:36:49 PM »
What is your little reptilian friend.

Cedar
I don't really know.  This was his first appearance and I haven't had a chance to look him up.  I had three large garter-like snakes in the garden this morning.  Unfortunately the dogs got to one of them before I had the chance to shoo them away.  One is getting large enough that it might have an impact on my mouse and vole population, too.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2014, 06:48:02 PM »
impact on my mouse and vole population, too.

King Rat Snakes!!! You got any there? Harmess to people, but scary looking.. and eats alot of rodents.

Cedar

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2014, 06:52:25 PM »
King Rat Snakes!!! You got any there? Harmess to people, but scary looking.. and eats alot of rodents.

Cedar
Not currently, but given enough time I'm sure some will move into the area.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2014, 01:51:38 PM »
What is your little reptilian friend.

Cedar
Near as I can figure, it's an Ornate Tree Lizard.  However, it would appear to be outside its range if it is, but that's the only critter native to Colorado that looks remotely close.  http://www.reptilesofcolorado.com/lizards-of-colorado.html

It should be a western slope critter and I'm on the Front Range, so it's not that far out of range.  It's honestly the first lizard I can recall seeing on the Front Range, but that doesn't mean much.  My memory isn't what it used to be. ;)

Offline David in MN

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2014, 02:55:10 PM »
I love your use of rock. Elegant and functional. My former mason buddies would call me a "woodpecker" now but as a guy who has put in fountains, facades, and Lord knows how many foundations, nice work. Something to aspire to.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2014, 03:31:07 PM »
I love your use of rock. Elegant and functional. My former mason buddies would call me a "woodpecker" now but as a guy who has put in fountains, facades, and Lord knows how many foundations, nice work. Something to aspire to.
My inspiration came from riding in the Peak District in the UK and seeing miles and miles of stone walls to delineate property lines and pastures for as far as the eye could see.  Over the centuries, the local farmers would clean up their fields and pile rocks along their property lines and eventually it would create these formidable fences. 



Of course my handy work pales in comparison to their craftsmanship, but it really is just a utilitarian solution to a real-world pair of problems.  Too much rock for a garden and the need for retaining wall material to build terraces.  If I had abundant logs, I'd make them out of wood.  The fact that I've dry-stacked the walls gives me the flexibility to change them, run water lines under them, and repair them without machinery or expense.  Sure, once in a while a dog will jump onto the edge and I'll get a minor rock slide, but in five minute's time I have it all fixed up and no harm, no foul.  It also provides a home for snakes, lizards, and other critters along with serving to act as a thermal sink, absorbing the heat of the day and radiating it at night.

Would I rather have 36" deep rich, black topsoil with 30-40" of precipitation a year?  Sure, but every area has its benefits and pitfalls.  For me, having the ability to grow lettuce throughout the summer without it bolting is a serious plus.  Growing potatoes by the bushel is another plus.  Living in a place that has 300+ sunny days a year is a huge plus.  Never getting over 85F or below -18F in an average year is nice, too.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 07:31:55 PM by endurance »

Offline cohutt

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2014, 07:06:41 PM »
What is your little reptilian friend.

Cedar

A young male plateau lizard <<< my guess

Since i put in the pond and was careful to keep a lot of cover around the garden, my lizard and frog population has exploded.  Lots of anole and skinks plus an actively and noisily breeding tree frog and toad population.  They are out there raising the roof as I type this.

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2014, 07:56:03 PM »
I like Blue Tongued Skinks.. never seen another kind, but me and SP would probably like them too.

Cedar

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2014, 08:10:23 PM »
A young male plateau lizard <<< my guess

...
That was my original thought, but that means he's even further out of his range by many hundreds of miles.  I think I'll send the pic to my ex.  She was a wildlife biologist and might have a better clue than me.

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2014, 08:17:06 PM »
We all get lost once in every once in a while ;)


endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2014, 08:28:42 PM »
We all get lost once in every once in a while ;)
and we're both wrong!  According to my ex-pert it's a Western Fence Lizard.  Right range, right pattern, right size.  Yay!

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2014, 07:28:49 PM »
Finished off the new bed today, watering hydrant installed in the bed, used the soaker hoses for about a half hour, and gave away about 40 strawberry plants to friends and neighbors trying to re-establish my walkways in some of my older beds.



I still need to get out there with a tape measure and officially measure my new bed space.  I'm curious how many square feet I have under cultivation now. 

I also chipped/shredded up over a half yard of aged manure and wood chips for soil amendments, mulch and for use in my potato boxes.  After watching a Charles Dowding video on No Dig gardening, I'm going to use straight manure and wood chips to grow my potatoes in.  I'm hoping I can avoid buying any more garden mix soil this year.  While it's great for getting a weed-free start, it's also time consuming to drive the 25 miles round-trip to the garden center and back.  Personally, I'd rather run my chipper for a couple hours getting rid of yard waste and horse manure than burning up time, gas and money driving.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2014, 08:30:50 PM »
At second glance, while doing a little light watering tonight I noticed that my peach tree that lost its top last fall when an early wet, heavy snow broke it, I noticed that it's probably dead.  No sign of any buds and the branches look rather desiccated and brittle.  While it is a loss, I have several trees already ordered from earlier this winter that will arrive in a few weeks and rather than putting them in the new beds, I'll just stick with keeping the new beds in veggies and shrubs and replace what I lost.  So far it's looking like I'll be replacing a plum that died last summer due to vole issues (which appear to be gone so far.  Thank you Mr. snake), a hawthorne that struggled last summer, a filbert (one of seven planted), and a the plum.  Considering how much is doing well, I have little to complain about. 

Offline cohutt

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2014, 04:24:53 AM »
You never know until mid spring do you?
I've lost some random things due to the freeze here. It is hard to tell until things should be "awake" with the spring, but even then some I thought gone have put out new growth just in last few days.  It was so much colder here this past winter vs the previous 2 years it is easy to get impatient and not give the wounded enough chance to come back.
Some things that are apparently never going to wake up include a few herbs mainly: the row of ginger lily that was off to such a good start last year, one of my rosemary bushes, a nice clump of lavender, one of 3 Russian sage plants plus scattered perennials. 

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2014, 04:51:08 AM »
You never know until mid spring do you?
I've lost some random things due to the freeze here. It is hard to tell until things should be "awake" with the spring, but even then some I thought gone have put out new growth just in last few days.  It was so much colder here this past winter vs the previous 2 years it is easy to get impatient and not give the wounded enough chance to come back.
Some things that are apparently never going to wake up include a few herbs mainly: the row of ginger lily that was off to such a good start last year, one of my rosemary bushes, a nice clump of lavender, one of 3 Russian sage plants plus scattered perennials.

We count ourselves lucky that the Russian sage made it through.  Great plants for summertime blooms and resulting bee visitors.   

Offline busymomx3

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #45 on: May 05, 2014, 03:30:01 PM »
Wow that is a lot of impressive work. 

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #46 on: May 05, 2014, 04:11:46 PM »
Wow that is a lot of impressive work.
It's a labor of love.  I flattened out a spot for my 'tater boxes and started filling the boxes with manure and wood, but ran out of what I'd cached, so I couldn't get everything planted over the weekend.  I started making more but didn't have the time to finish the fill.  Pics to follow when completed.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2014, 10:56:15 AM »
I'm writing this after a busy week in the garden knowing that today's snow was coming.  The forecast says 10-20 inches, but I'll believe it when I see it.  Since so far the only stuff I've put in is cold hardy stuff like lettuce, kale, spinach, beets, carrots, and peas, I think the moisture will do more good than harm.

I finished my potato beds on Thursday.


laid down about 4-6" of aged manure and wood chips run through my chipper/shredder, put in the potatoes, tossed on a bunch of comfrey (eventually all beds were covered completely), and put in the leaky hose. 


after that I tossed on about 6-8" of loose manure and wood chips. 

Why did I do what I did?  Potatoes are an experiment every year for me.  I'm always looking for ways to get good production with minimal expense in my dry climate with very little soil.  My first year I grew them in a bed that was filled with local soils mixed with gardener's mix from my local nursery.  The next year I used these same boxes with nothing but gardener's mix and had great production, but buying $35 worth of soil and burning up 40 minutes of gas for my truck to get 70 pounds of potatoes isn't exactly cost effective.  The next year I dug more traditional rows, but they were hard to keep wet and my production was about a third of the previous year despite having more yard space consumed by them.  So this year I'm using a soil-medium that took me about two gallons of gasoline running my chipper/shredder for about 2-3 hours. 

I also didn't want to water the surface where I get a ton of evaporation, I'm short on wood to mulch this year, but long on manure, so why not just mulch with what is effectively, two to three shovel loads of 18-24 month old manure to one shovel load of course wood chips (made into fine wood chips after doing through my machine).  The ratio was dictated by how wet my manure was.  It was wet enough to pack up like clay in the discharge screen, so without running some course woodchips through to beat the screen into submission it would inevitably clog up and seize the drive belt.  I abuse the hell out of my chipper, but it's my only way to make soil cheaply and on season four, it's doing alright.

The new bed is looking good.  About half is planted in early season stuff, the rest will wait until my last frost, May 21 or so.


Otherwise, things are greening up nicely and at the moment are actually covered in white.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2014, 11:14:10 AM »
I can't look at strawberry plants without salivating. Mine are just starting to perk up. Good luck with the snow!

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2014, 02:07:41 PM »
I cannot imagine snow this time of the year. Even in Canada where I was, it did not generally snow now.

Cedar

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #50 on: May 11, 2014, 02:31:09 PM »
I cannot imagine snow this time of the year. Even in Canada where I was, it did not generally snow now.

Cedar
It doesnt generally, though it is not unknown apparently.  It reached 80 a few days ago in the Springs.  Stupid snow.  On mother's day no less.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #51 on: May 11, 2014, 03:26:55 PM »
I cannot imagine snow this time of the year. Even in Canada where I was, it did not generally snow now.

Cedar
Somewhere in an old photo album I have a picture of me with a hand-written sign that says, May 22, 197? standing on the porch with 6" of snow around me.  My dad took the picture to show my mom every time she said it never snowed this late... every single year.

It's not the latitude, it's the altitude.  What everyone else gets as spring showers, we get as snow when the conditions line up just right.  ...which seems to be about 4-5 times after the first rains start in April.  Usually by June 6 or so we're completely safe from snow where I'm at, but another 2,000' higher things are very different.  I've seen 4-6" of snow on the 4th of July in Summit County, CO.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #52 on: May 11, 2014, 04:14:18 PM »
I joke with my wife that the only months we're pretty sure won't have snow are June, July, and August. Snow in May isn't really that rare.

I've been begging my wife to move south for years. For those that don't know, Minneapolis is considerably colder than Moscow. Most Canadians live in a warmer climate than Minnesota (coasts).

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2014, 04:19:22 PM »
Woke up this morning to 12" of wet, heavy snow.  I've very grateful nothing was fully leafed out yet our I would have certainly have some branch breakage.  Of course the worst comes tonight.  The forecast is for temperatures in the upper-teens tonight and then warming into the 70s by this weekend.  There's buds on all my trees and I have no real way to keep them warm, so I'm hoping I don't lose any budding blossoms (and thus my fruit production for the year). 

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #54 on: May 19, 2014, 09:41:22 AM »
I just can't believe how we the soil is right now and how deep that moisture goes.  This is awesome!  I did some more mulching in various spots around the garden, ordered another 25 asparagus crowns, planted my Raintree Nursery order that finally came it.  I can't recall the exact count, but it included two late-blooming peach trees, yellow raspberries, salmonberries, and some all-field berries.  Given the moisture in the ground, they should do great!

Looking at the forecast for the next week it looks like we're past our last frost, so next up, getting the non-frost tolerant stuff in the ground.  Looks like it's time for another trip to harbor freight for leaky hose.  I also need to make some more short sections of hose to connect the leaky hose.  I bought a bunch of hose ends last year and I have a couple hoses that have bad spots in them, so it'll just take some time to put them together this week.  The good news is there's a good chance of rain mid-week, so there's no rush to get it done ASAP.

I put in a small bed (about 2'x3') along the fence just for snap peas.  It's a spot that gets good morning sun, but almost no sun after 1pm, so I should get a good, long production cycle out of the bed.  It wasn't the easiest digging and took bringing in lots of soil mix and dirt from other areas of the garden, but if you ever wanted to see where all my rock for my walls comes from, here's a hint:


One pile of rocks...

For one little bed (dug to about 12-18"):



In any case, peas planted, but I still need to set up drip watering for them.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #55 on: May 27, 2014, 02:20:40 PM »
It's been a very wet week.  About 2.5" of rain in six days at my place.  This follows over 1 1/4" of moisture from the snow the preceding week.  The garden is thriving right now with all sorts of things popping up.

I made it out to Krendl's place with ChemSoldier over the weekend and really enjoyed the tour.  He has a fantastic piece of land to play with and has done a lot of really cool things.  It's like a giant laboratory.  His timing couldn't be better given how wet we've been so far this spring and with the forecast for an El Nino cycle starting in the fall (which means lots of snow for us for a while).  I'm also very grateful as Krendl was kind enough to give me a few bare root hazelnut and seaberries to put in the ground.  I came straight home and put them in the ground already.

I broke ground on another climber bed for peas Monday, but due to other pressing projects (new railing on the deck), I wasn't able to get it completed.  I should be able to finish it by Thursday, which is kind of my self-imposed deadline with the heat and dryness of summer right around the corner.  It's an afternoon shaded spot so it should be ok, but I think any later and I just won't have a chance with peas.

I was going to do more potatoes but I think I'm out of time with them.  Instead, now I'm thinking about starting a new diversion ditch to pull storm water into the garden and possibly build a new water retention area (300 gallon horse trough I might sink into the ground that I could pump out of).  Other projects on my radar include adding a high pressure water line for the garden so I can run more circuits at one time and maintain pressure, putting in the new Harbor Freight 920GPH pump so I can draw water out of my underground IBC Totes and send it out to the garden (my current pump is going bad and only rated at 4.9GPM), and getting another two IBC totes for water storage on the property.  That would bring me up to 1650 gallons, which is approaching a month's worth of watering based on last year's calculations during the early (dry) summer.  Additionally, I have at least three drip irrigation projects that need completion... if/when I get around to them.  They save a ton of work in the long run, but they take a lot of time to set up in the first place.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2014, 09:45:49 PM »
Things are definitely greening up around here.  My asparagus has shot up over three feet in a couple weeks with the recent moisture.



My rhubarb is out of control!



My greens are just starting to be identifiable, my potatoes are just breaking through, and my first bed of peas is starting to show up.  It won't be long now until things really start thriving.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2014, 09:47:01 PM »
Your rhubarb and borage are nuts. I STILL don't have anything in the ground yet.

Cedar

Offline David in MN

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #58 on: May 30, 2014, 06:17:26 AM »
I feel the pain too. Gardening forums are like spurs sometimes. Maybe everything goes in today.

Nice stuff, Endurance. Good inspiration.

endurance

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Re: Endurance Garden 2014
« Reply #59 on: June 05, 2014, 06:02:58 PM »
Oh hail no.

Yep, some pretty big stuff hit today, about 1/2-3/4" at largest but it could have been a lot worse.  It was a very fast moving storm and we were on the very edge, so we didn't take the worst of it. 




My potatoes hardly noticed at all.  Of course they've only started to come up in the last week or so, so they make small targets at this time of year.


The veggie bed looks pretty bad from this angle, but again, the short duration of the storm and the small size of the plants might have saved the day.


Most of the greens that are coming up don't look very beat up at all.  Whew!


Some holes in some leaves, some of my asparagus was broken off, but overall, it could have been a lot worse.

I was feeding the horses about five minutes before the storm and heard a very odd noise coming through the trees.  Like approaching wind, but different enough to key me in to something unusual happening.  After feeding, I went out to the garden and within a couple minutes the wind picked up and I heard a loud report from the neighbor's steel roof.  A few seconds later I heard a similar sound come from another neighbor's roof.  At that point I'd figured out that it was large hail and ran for the cars so I could get them in the garage.  As I got out of the second car I got zinged by a hail stone between the shoulder blades and decided that staying in the garage rather than going out and around the house to get inside was probably the best move.  I waited it out, only about 7-8 minutes and returned to two dogs cowering under the kitchen table.

All's well now.  The horses went a bit wild, but from what I can tell, no injuries and no shoes thrown.  The smart one hunkered in his shelter most of the time.  The other one was vying for a darwin award. ::)