May I say a few words in defense of the Master Gardeners program?
The Master Gardeners program was started in the state I live in by Washington State University. Their extension offices in the counties were overwhelmed by questions from the public and they needed help. They decided to start a volunteer program that would provide assistance to homeowners, to free up their extension offices to support commericial growers. The volunteers are educated by the unverisity and the extension offices so this is a science-based program. You don't learn everything, or even an in depth knowledge about particular things. Instead, you are given the tools you'll need to figure out how to address gardening questions and educate the public about sustainable gardening practices. You learn the basics about plant taxonomy, botany, soils, nutrition, plant pathology and entomology. You learn about weeds, vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and forests. And you learn about how to manage garden challenges like pests, fire risk, drought, heat and water. It's very broad. The intent is to give each volunteer the tools they'll need to be able to provide research-based information to homeowners about sustainable gardening practices.
So, the question is, is the program right for you? What does your sister-in-law see in you that she thinks you'd enjoy it? Are you passionate about sustainable gardening, like knowing what plants grow best under the conditions in a particular environment or addressing issues caused by pests using means that don't harm the environment if at all possible? Would you like to spread the word? Do you love figuring out a particularily puzzling question? Would you like to meet a whole bunch of people with similar interests? If so, it might be. If you're interested, go talk to the Extension Office coordinator and visit their plant and insect clinic and ask them about their program. Each county's program is different, but I bet you'll find a bunch of nice people who would welcome you into their group and provide you with a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from.
Ian, that is a puzzle. I'm not sure I would use that location again next year for sunchokes. You may want to give it a rest if you can. If you've been using the same site a number of years in a row for sunchokes, maybe a pathogen has built up in the soil. I did see this from Perdue, "If possible, susceptible crops should be rotated with small grains or corn. Avoid close rotations with dry edible beans, sunflowers, safflower, mustard and soybeans." And this from the USDA, "Rotation for a minimum of three years into a grass family crop (such as maize) is recommended." I would also start in a new site with new tubers as well.
Another thought - if the roots got infected with a pathogen, that could explain why the plants look like they didn't get enough water.... It may all be connected. :/
All your stories are great! I don't know if mine qualifies but here goes. We have a big, long bed up by the street that really needed a lot of mulch to suppress weeds and we had a 20 yard pile of arborist chips, so we used some of the chips to thickly cover the bed this spring. All of our neighbors have all of their beds covered in what's called bark dust here. It's purchased, standard sized bark chips from the sawmills and, of course, being bark and standard sized, it takes a long time to decay. (Plus, that is what bark is supposed to do.) One of our neighbors came by yesterday and said they had to know where we got our chips as our bed is weedless and not so at all with the neighbors' beds! And, no, we don't spray weed killer on our beds. I'm sure it's because our chips have a lot of fines in them and a lot of size variability so they decompose better, making them a nice robber of the nitrogen at the very top of the soil, and, thus, a good weed suppressant. Here's to arborist chips!
My first suspicion is sun scorch/scald. Whatever is killing your plants seems to be doing it pretty uniformly across all of them, pointing to an abiotic cause. Sunchokes need consistently moist soil. The fact that the leaves seem to be dying from the outside in makes me think they are not getting enough water. You said that this year has been dry, but last year wasn't. I'm wondering if you got enough rain last year for the plants to be consistently moist?
As to the soil being poor (and maybe your prior sunchoke crops in that spot used up what was there that they liked), nutrient deficiencies can show up in a plant when it's not getting enough water. For example, tomatoes get blossom end rot pointing to a calcium deificiency when they are not getting enough water to be able to pull the calcium they need from the soil.
Can you investigate the plants further? Do you see any mold-like growths or any unusual growths at all under the leaves or around the stems at the soil level? Do you see spots on the leaves where they seem to be rotting from a center point out making the area translucent? Pull up one and look at the roots, dissecting one even, to see if you see anything unusual too.
And where are you located?
I tried the companion planting idea of putting asparagus and strawberries together this year. The strawberries are getting way too much shade and are not vigorous at all. Thank goodness I put most of my strawberries in a separate bed of their own and the ones under the asparagus were the leftovers.
As for planting the crocus with the strawberries, I'd guess that because strawberries put out a lot of runners thus propagating readily, it might work the first year, but not after that. I put lettuce in my strawberry bed this year, but there won't be room for that next year.
Hope that helps.
Ok, so learn something new every day. I talked to some friends who have a huge hugel bed and they built it by digging a big hole in the ground and putiing in tree trunks first. The soil around here does have a good portion of clay in it but does drain well. The center of the bed is probably 3 feet about soil level and the whole thing is very fertile. They use it as a vegetable bed.
Hi Mark -
Please don't dig a big hole in the clay and put your hugel bed in it. Clay does not inherently drain well. When you dig a hole in clay, put plants in it and fill it with material other than the clay, it creates a bowl that holds in water and it doesn't drain well at all. Most plant roots detest being soggy so this situation is very unhealthy. And nothing ever remedies this situation other than replanting the plant correctly. In fact, research shows that anytime you dig a hole in the ground to plant and you fill the hole with something other than native soil, the hole will not drain well. Water does like to move from one type of medium to another.
Roots are the same way. They will double back into the soil they were planted in instead of growing into the clay, creating a rootbound plant. This is the same reason why you should not put gravel on the bottom of a pot.
Instead, put your hugel bed on top of the clay. Save your back. And, over time, it will break down and the released nutrients will add organic matter to the clay, loosen it up and make the microbes in the soil happy, thus improving the soil. You have a good start going with the leaves and wood chips you put down last fall.
Next year, I'll be able to answer this question much better, as I now am only growing the hyssopus officinalis. It's a much smaller plant that the big and beautiful anise hyssop that I am buying seeds to grow next year. But I can say that both of these plants are in the lamiaceae family, the family of mints, sages and deadnettles. Another name for hyssopus officinalis is hummingbird mint. Carrots are in the umbelliferae family, like umbrella for how their flowers are formed. Hummingbird mint has mint-like flowers, not carrot-like flowers.
Haha. I used to make a chicken liver spaghetti dish for my family. If you dice them up small enough and disguise them with tomato sauce, no one will know the difference. It's actually delicious and my kids loved it! Of course, they had no idea what was in it. lol
When to prune depends very much on the plant and on what you want to achieve. In general, it's better for the plants themselves if you prune them in late winter/early spring, when it's started to warm up but the plants have not started to leaf out their spring growth. It's less stressful to them, their wounds heal faster and it directs growth to where you want it. Prune in the summer if you want to retard the growth of the plant and make it smaller. However, you should stop pruning woody plants 6 to 8 weeks before you expect frost in order to allow the plant to heal and harden off properly before winter comes.
Another consideration is if and when the plant blooms and whether it blooms on old or new wood. For example, rhododendrons bloom on old wood and set their buds in the fall for spring blooms. Therefore, you'd probably want to avoid pruning them in the late winter/early spring because you want to keep the buds. A good general rule is to prune blooming plants right after they bloom.
And yet another consideration is what pests you have in the area that may be invigorated by your pruning. Where I live, we avoid pruning pines at certain times of the year in order not to attract pine bark beetles.
Those are all general rules. I keep a chart of what plants I have and when I should prune them. Different plants have different requirements and my chart helps me not forget what and when I need to prune, so I am not forced into either pruning when I shouldn't or neglecting to prune a plant that year.
Yes, you should definitely try! Before you take the cuttings, make sure you have on hand a very sharp razor knife, rooting hormone, and peat and perlite for the potting soil. Find the youngest, most flexible branches for the cuttings and take a number of them to increase your chances. That will get you started. I know you can find lots of instructions online for rooting cuttings so I won't go into more detail here. I'd also try air layering some branches as I think that might take better. Here's some good instructions for that: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/air-layer-pear-trees-41283.html. Air layering does take a while but the property may not sell right away anyways.
As far as taking care of the cuttings for their first year, you should be fine as long as they are kept in a sunny location, properly watered and fertilized, and uppotted as needed. You don't want them to outgrow their pots and get rootbound.
One thing I'm not sure of is how much the pear seedlings need to be outside during the winter. Pears do need a winter chill to bud and fruit, but it would probably would be better if they didn't bud and fruit their first year anyways. If they did bud, I would nip the buds off the first year to force the plant to focus on growing both below and above ground. Anyways, I think you'd have to root them in the house so they don't lose their leaves before they've rooted.
Another thing to consider is that the pear trees you want to propagate may well be on grafted root stock. I would try to figure out what kind of pear it is to see it it's root stock is susceptible to any diseases. There are some apps you could download to identify plants and your county extension office could also help. If it is on grafted stock, that may well have affected how big the pear trees grew, meaning that when you grow a pear tree from a cutting, you could end up with a much bigger tree than you expected. That would be another reason to try to figure out what kind of pear it is.
A few things -
I think your bird of paradise needs to be repotted into a larger pot. The one it's in looks too small. If there are a lot of roots that you can see if you pull the plant out and some are circling, then it's rootbound and needs a larger pot. When you repot it, unbind those circling roots, remove any that are dead or unhealthy, and repot it in good soil in a pot with holes in the bottom so it gets good drainage. As for the philodendron, is in a pot that has drainage holes? If not, that definitely needs to be repotted as well.
Secondly, philodendron need only medium to low light. If it is in a really sunny location, it should be moved to a more gentle location. Bird of paradise needs good direct lighting.
Both plants like moist soil but like to dry out some between waterings. Water when the top inch of soil is no longer damp, but do not let it dry out completely. When you water it, put the pot in the sink or outside and water until the water is pouring out the bottom. (If the soil is actually totally dry, you may need to soak it in a sink of water.) Let it drain well, then put it back in its location.
Whatever is causing the spots on the philodendron may be alleviated by the above, but they could be a fungal or bacterial infection that could spread. If you can without damaging the plant, remove the leaves with the spots on them.
Looks like your questions are answered but I would like to elaborate on one thing - The point was made that potatoes are heavy feeders so your bed's nutrients may be a bit depleted. I have found that garlic is a heavy feeder in its own way as well. For the best yield, I would suggest making sure that you have well-composted and fertilized the bed and that you fertilize it as it's growing as well. If you see it start to yellow before it should be, it needs more fertilzer, especially nitrogen.
It will get bitter after it bolts. The question is whether you still like the taste of it or not. You might not get much more of a harvest off of it even if you cut the flowers off though. In my experience, once a plant bolts, there's no stopping the process. I would vote for letting the best one go to seed and cutting the flowers off the rest if you still like how they taste. Let some of that seed drop into the bed and save some. The volunteers that sprout should be well-adapted to your area and make good plants. You can divide them up once they get big enough and you'll have a whole new crop for free! You'd also be able to start kale from the seeds you've saved for later use. Kale is very easy to grow from seed.
Hi. Eastern red cedar is fine to use as a mulch. It is not a cedar and does not contain the tannins cedar does, which some plants (e.g., blueberries) don't like. However, it will, over a long period of time, make the soil a bit more acidic, so if you are struggling with trying the make the soil under a particular plant more alkaline, you might want to use something else as a mulch.
Also, using wood chips, even fresh wood chips, as mulch does not rob the soil of nitrogen as long as you are using the mulch on top of the soil and not mixing it in. It does make nitrogen on the very top layer of the soil unavailable but that also helps inhibit weed germination, so that's a good thing. And, over time, as it degrades, it will add nutrients and moisture retaining organic material to the soil and make the soil a better environment for the microbes you need for healthy soil.
The bulk of the weeds that grow on our property are not native to this area, and many are invasive and on our state's noxious weed list. I try to eliminate the non-natives, not wanting to contribute to what is already a big problem in our state. There are some native weeds that I enjoy and they can stay in my garden beds and woods.
My raised beds in my food garden are so thickly planted though that the only weeds that seem to be able to survive at all are grasses that have come up from the paths, so they get pulled as they would take over if I allowed them to. By interspersing my vegetables with other vegetables that either get harvested later or earlier than the primary plants in the bed, or give or get shade to/from them, I can squeeze a lot more food-producing plants into the beds. When you do this, you do have to feed the beds quite a bit more with compost and fertilizer than you would otherwise to keep the plants happy.
Matt Todd wrote:
This is what happens when you get excited, start a ton of plants, and then don't want to follow through with preparing ground to plant them in.
Haha. I totally get that! I have hundreds of starts that need to get in the ground and the ground keeps growing more weeds where I just weeded! What's gotten me through this thus far? Good tools, diligence and an abundance of forgiveness
This is a topic near and dear to my heart, because I have spent so much time agonizing over when to plant my tomatoes. I am relatively new to the Pacific Northwest, and grew tomatoes here for the first time last year. This year, I spent a lot of time researching and asking advice, before coming to a conclusion. Everyone you ask will have a different opinion it seems.
These are my thoughts:
* Warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant cannot tolerate frost and stop growing when the temperature is below 50 degrees. Exposing them to too much chill will permanently stunt them. Therefore, when considering what average last frost date to use for these plants, choose a date that has a high probabilty of the last frost date having passed. Charts for average last frost date probablities for your area can be found online.
* Warm the soil with black plastic mulch for at least a few weeks before planting tomatoes.
* For the Pacific Northwest, choose early maturing varieties.
* Then, watch the weather forecast to determine when to transplant your tomatoes into the ground. If you will be covering the plants at night (which you should), you can plant when nights are projected to be at least be in the high 40's going forward. The frost cover will keep the plants warmer than they'd otherwise be. Nights need to be at least 50 to 55 degrees for tomatoes, so the cover is really important.
* Protect the plants with some sort of frost cover at night through the end of June.
I am planting my tomatoes tomorrow, after this last low 40's at night cold spell passes. I live just north of Vancouver, WA, but still in what is considered the Willamette Valley.
I started hundreds and hundreds of seedlings this year for my meadow and food gardens and used a variety of means to start the seeds. I like soil blocks for some things. It depends on what you are growing. In my experience:
Germination method: Soil blocks (2") work best for plants that do not have deep roots and do not grow quickly - things like grasses and alliums. I start plants that do not necessarily germinate well, will need to be up-potted and do not quickly create a taproot (like peppers and herbs) in small flats of soil, then just use a spoon to separate them when I am up-potting them. It's a very simple and quick method, and I have had no issues with seedlings not surviving the up-potting process. For plants that get big quickly and germinate well (like tomatoes), I seed directly into 4" pots. For seeding deep-rooted plants (like many widlflower perennials and biennials), I use a 5" deep 50-cell tray. Using the deep trays eliminated the up-potting process for most of my wildflowers.
Soil: The soil blocks do need a mixture that contains some, but not too much, compost in the soil to hold them together. I have learned the hard way that your soil has to be sterile however. I had too much trouble with diseases and pests using non-sterile soil, and, sadly, even the soil I sterlized myself had issues. Cheap ol' me now buys all of the soil mixtures that I use to start seeds in.
Watering: Soak the soil well before putting it in the tray. Water the seeds while they are germinating and when they are newly sprouted with a mister to prevent the seeds or the seedlings from dislodging. Misting is especially important for small seeds or seeds that you didn't bury. If you have to during this time period, bottom water carefully. The soil blocks can melt, so to speak, if you put too much water in the tray at once. Once the plants are strong enough, you can water from the top. Once the plants have germinated, water once the soil on the top is dry (stick your finger in it to check), then water deeply enough that all of the soil is soaked. If you are having problems with mold or damping off, you are watering too much and/or the soil wasn't sterile. If the roots do not grow all the way down to the bottom of the pot/block, you are not watering enough when you water. A combination of mold and shallow roots would indicate you are watering too frequently and not uisng enough water when you water. Conversely, if almost all of the roots are at the bottom of the pot, you are watering deeply but not frequently enough.
Fertilizer: I do use a liquid fertilizer for my seedlings. My plants do so much better with supplemental food, even if the soil does have compost in it. Note too that some soil mixes provide no nutritional value to plants (for example, peat), so how much you fertilize does depend on the soil you've used.
Protection: I started a number of my seeds outdoors last fall and left them on the back porch all winter to stratify them. Be aware that some critters like to eat seeds and/or seedlings, so they may need protection. I've had mice eat my seeds and I've had birds pull up my seedlings. Bunnies and deer will munch on tender shoots even if they would never eat the mature plant. I now elevate my seeds and cover them with row cover to protect them while they are young. For the mice - mousetraps work well, but you need a box over the trap with holes cut in the box so mice can get in but not birds. Thankfully, there's a cat that lives in my woods that comes to clean out my mouse traps every day :)
I would not advise punching holes through plastic and putting plants in it. Plants' roots need moisture, air and depend on the abundance of living things in the soil to do their job. The roots are a delicate part of the plant compared to the stems and leaves above the ground. Solarization is intended to heat up the ground hot enough to kill seeds, which I don't think either the plant roots or the beneficial living things in the soil would like. How about instead picking some areas on the slope to not solarize and instead doing some mass plantings of your starts? Planting them together would help crowd out future weeds, at least eventually.
I sympathize with you because I have a lot of weedy slopes that are full of invasive, noxious weeds and I am trying to turn those slopes into something sustainable. I have found that seeding the ground doesn't work so well because the seeds get washed down the slope, eaten by mice or the seedlings get pulled up by birds. A couple ideas for you that I am trying. One is starting your seeds in flats or cells. Most native, meadow flowers and grasses want to go through winter outside so I put my seeded flats/cells out on the back porch all winter. The grasses I put in flats and the biennials/perennials I put in deep cells to accomodate the taproots. Some sprouted before winter set in and some after but most of them survived and I've transplanted a lot of them already. Beware, the mice who come to eat your seeds though! Okay, this approach is a lot of work, I know, but it seems to work a lot better than just strewing the seeds on the ground. The other thing I'm doing with the slopes is planting low-growing plants that are drought tolerant, are not tall, spread a lot and are good for erosion control (low-growing sumac, juniper, sarcocca and rosemary work in my zone).
Hi again. A word of caution on the sand. If the soil has a lot of clay in it, adding sand will actually make it eventually turn into something like cement. I know...I was super surprised to learn this myself. Have you tried doing one of those soil tests with your hands, some soil and some water to determine the soil texture? (I think it's called a ribbon test?)
I feel for you. The same sort of "landscaping" was done in my yard with rocks and landscaping fabric. And when I pulled that stuff up the ground beneath it has no humus in it so it's quite poor. I am a year into that project and it's not completed.
I am afraid that I think you will probably kill the trees if you try to create a tilth around them with a digger. Most of a tree's roots are in the top 6 inches of soil and they spread out far wider than you would think. And, although you not planning to do it, burying the top of soil too deeply can suffocate the roots.
So can you rethink your project? Maybe you can sacrifice the trees...and replant food trees? Maybe you can just level the rough edges without leveling the whole area? Or maybe consider very carefully the plants you will put in the meadow becaause maybe you can find ones that can survive without being put in tilled soil?
I am planting a meadow garden for pollinators and the ground is hard as a rock in this area in some places (it's hardpan). I am planting native grasses and native pollinator-loving, drought-tolerant flowering plants. I know these plants can survive in this soil because I pulled out a lot of non-native grasses and non-native flowering plants that had created deep taproots (biennials and perennials). Where I am putting a plant that has to have tilled ground (like bulbs) and I can't dig in the area, I just mound up some dirt for it on top of the dirt that's there.
Best of luck!
I was thinking about doing the same thing myself until I read the assignments in my latest Master Gardener class. I agree that it seems like adding sand to clay would make a lot of sense. However, my training says that adding sand to clay only serves to create less pores in the soil instead of more, leading to the cemented ground situation I am already familiar with. I don't need more of that!
Instead, they recommend adding compost to the soil to improve it. For your greenhouse beds, based on my experience, I would highly recommend lots of compost. It adds nutrients and aeration to the soil, and almost all plants love it. It breaks down over time to improve the soil. For my other beds, I spread lots of arborist chips on them to improve the soil and suppress weeds. The arborist chips have both fine and coarse material in them, so some of it breaks down quickly and some of it is time released. We moved into this house a year ago and the beds had been very neglected. We've been putting arborist chips on them since we moved in and everything is so much happier!
This is my second year starting seedlings for my food garden so I still feel very much a novice. I have been beating my head against the wall for a couple months at least trying to figure out when to start what. Everybody has different advice. It just dawned on me today that I should ask you all! Duh!
One big issue I have is when to estimate my "last frost" will be, so I can count back to when I need to start my seedlings. I do know that at a 50% probability that I will have frost-free days going forward my last frost-free date is mid-April, and at a 90% probability that date is the beginning of the second week in May. Big difference. I also know that it's still pretty darn cool and wet around here at both those dates, and, even if I can get transplants in the ground, I will need to cover a lot of them at night (especially the plants that like warmer weather) through the end of June.
This is what I've decided to do, and please let me know if I am off base or if you have a better approach. For plants that are frost sensitive, like tomatoes and eggplant, I am going to use the latter date to determine when I am going to start seedlings. And for the plants that tolerate some cold weather, like onions, I am going to use the earlier date. I do realize that I will need to look at the forecast before I put my babies in the ground, but does that kinda make sense? How do you figure out when to do your starts?
I had a similar problem this year - on one of my tomatillo plants - which has been puzzling me for some time. I planted two tomatillos next to eachother and in between two rows of marigolds. One tomatillo was at the end of the bed, the other next to it and next to a bunch of tomato plants. The one next to the tomato plants got way, way bigger, flowered much later and set fruit much later than the other one. Frost came with a lot of the fruit still not having ripened. I'm kind of doubtful the issue is pollination as the tomatillos were right next to eachother and next to other flowering plants. I do have plenty of pollinators in my yard too. One difference is that the tomatoes got a lot of Espoma Garden Tone (which is a balanced vegetable garden fertilizer lowest in nitrogen, by the way) and the tomatillos did not. Considering the bigger, later to fruit plant probably took up some of the tomatoes' fertilizer through it's roots, is it possible your tomatillos got too much fertilizer?
Next year I am not going to plant my tomatoes and tomatillos next to eachother and see way happens.
Hi Jason. I bought an inexpensive ph meter on Amazon and I think it works fine as long as you follow the instructions which include pouring distilled or RO water into the spot you are going to test right before testing it.
I bought it because I wanted to know what the PH was of my soil in various places in my yard for various reasons. I have been putting in a lot of new plants, including a vegetable garden, so I needed to know if my soil was something they'd like or if I needed to amend the soil prior to planting. Also, some of the plants that were in our yard when we moved in weren't doing that well (including the lawn) and I wanted to determine whether it was because of the ph of the soil they were in. A number of my plants are doing much better as a result of using this tool and amending the soil as indicated. And finally, I have hydrangeas and I'd like to turn their blooms blue, for which a certain acidity level is needed.
I'd prefer to have a test I can do at home to save time and money. Different areas of my yard have different ph levels depending on the level of decomposed organics in the soil or the amendments that have been added to it over time. Plus, if you test the soil, determine you need to change the ph and add amendments to it to make it more acid or alkaline, you're going to have to keep testing it periodically until you get the ph where you want it. That's a lot of testing.
The compost shouldn't be an issue. I do this a couple times a year to many of my plants. I would make sure not to bring the wood chips up to the trunks of the plants, and instead create a bowl shape sloping the sides and leaving a few inches around the trunk clear of chips. Otherwise you may be inviting rot, pests and disease to the main trucks or stems of the plants. From everything I've read and heard and experienced, you pretty much need to respect the root collar on the plant if you want to keep it healthy. The only exception I know to that is tomatoes.
You can specify what you do not want. For example, I asked that I not get delivered poison oak or black walnut chippings. You can also ask for logs or not. If you will accept logs, I'm sure it ups your chances of getting chips delivered sooner.
Hey D.W. An arborist trims trees. I can't climb way up in a tree to prune it or fell 100 foot trees that are situated too close to eachother or to my house so I need help with that. A good arborist knows how to prune a tree to make it healthier and bring light to other plants needing it, know what to cut and what not to, and can identify diseased or otherwise unhealthy trees to help you address any issues. A good arborist is very knowledgable about plants and an artist as well.
I signed up for this. I live in a rural area and it took a month and a half to get a load, but I got 15 yards of chipped pine for $20! Now that's a deal! And I found a new arborist in the process that knows what he's talking about. Yeah!
I am growing cardoon for the first time this year. I had never eaten cardoon before but missed the window for planting artichokes and found this close relative, so I planted it from seed in the spring. It took a while to get going (or for me to learn what I was doing) but now my cardoon are crazy monsters! I've harvested stalks from them a number of times and they are so tasty! I really love this plant. Problem is, we can't eat all of this in the short term. And it's needing harvesting. Does anyone have any experience with canning, pickling, freezing or fermenting cardoon? I tried looking on the internet for advice on preserving cardoon but it seems this is not a popular plant in the U.S. Then I thought of you all. This lovely tasty perennial that doesn't go to market well may be a plant permies know and love? (I am not planning to take up the entire plant, by the way, as it's a perennial here, so I am just planning to take the stalks.)
As a thank you for any cardoon lover out there who can offer up some sage advice, I offer my cardoon recipe:
Gratineed Cardoon and Chickpeas
4 large stalks cardoon
1 pint size jar canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. butter
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Deleaf, pare and rinse cardoon. Cut large pieces through the middle and cut all of it into 4" sections. Put it immediately into water as soon as you cut it as it discolors quickly. Bring to a boil then simmer for 40 minutes. Drain. Put in a 9X11 baking dish and add 1 tbsp butter, mixing the cardoon to coat it with the butter. Arrange cardoon in a row down the middle. Add chickpeas to the sides. Sprinkle the cardoon with sea salt, and sprinkle all of it with the garlic powder, pepper, then some olive oil, and finally grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes then broil for 5 minutes to brown the cheese.
I'm wondering it you ended up getting the weed burner?
In case you have or are still considering it, I have a couple of additional thoughts the weed burner: 1 - Do not use on thickly growing weeds. The smoke is not good for the lungs. Trust me on this. 2 - Do not use in drought conditions. And if you do, keep a turned on hose handy and hose everything down afterwards to ensure nothing is smoldering.
I do love my weed burner but it works best for me and my lungs if I use it on rocky areas that have a few weeds poking up. It's great at edging these areas too. Where I live, the weeds go dormant in the summer when it's droughty and sprout again in the fall and spring with the rains, so it's perfect for me...in the right applications.
My heartfelt sympathies. I hate that stuff. We have poison oak that does the same thing here and I've taken down plenty of poison oak "trees". Cutting a big chunk out of the vine will eventually kill the green above the cut. I spray the freshly cut stem that's rooted with brush killer and that seems to help. But poison oak at least will root from cuttings if you do the chop and drop thing and has roots like vines so when you kill the root or plant in one place it pops up in another. And the uroshiol as far as I can tell goes on forever. I've heard of people getting a poison ivy or oak rash from spreading compost and I read once that they've even found it in some ancient Mayan burial sites! So what I do, and yes it's a big pain in the you know what, is cut it up enough to get it into contractor bags (using an electric pruner in one hand and a big wire cutter for picking it up to cut it in the other) and then we landfill it. Tecnu and a hot hair dryer blown on the rash both help a lot. Good luck.
I'm so happy for you that they are recovering! Tough call on putting them in the ground now. Is there irrigation where you are going to put them in 2 hours north of you or do you expect it to rain frequently? If not, seems to me they are probably still a bit delicate to put them where you can't watch over them. I'd wait until they could weather some weather.
What a good find! Since your going into a dormant period but you're not there yet, I wouldn't do any trimming now. Wait until you know for sure what's dead and what's not. I think you did the right thing in uppotting them right away and getting them in the ground may help even more. Patience, a little shade in the afternoon to protect any new leaves that emerge, and careful watering will help. Keep them moist but not sopping wet and don't let them dry out again much, keeping in mind that a damaged tree is not going to take up as much water as a healthy one. Maybe some rooting hormones would help? My experience is that a plant has about three lives. Almost kill it once, it will usually come back. Almost kill it twice, you better be more careful. Third time...well.
Had to nod my head in commiseration on what you said about the stock the store had. I lived in South Florida for many years and saw stuff all the time in the big box stores that had no business being in South Florida.
Good luck! I bet you'll get a bunch of keepers.
I'm looking for something for marking that will last through the winter as I have a meadow I have cleared of invasives that I am planning to replant with a number of native grasses, wildflowers and bulbs, so I'm interested in your thread. Up until I saw this, I was thinking about using a pile of large tree limbs I've accumulated. Would the lime and sour milk paint last through a rainy winter or is there another concoction someone could recommend? Thanks!
Hi again. When I watched this video, I thought of you. It's a good instructional video on sheet mulching lawns/weeds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PB0Ym_iXmc I was thinking it might come in helpful even after you get past the raised bed work you are doing.
This you tube video link was attached to an email I got from ChipDrop, which is a great source for free mulch, if they are in your area. I just got 20 yards of pine bark from them for free!!!
I can vouch that it does work. We have many beds that were grass when we started making them last fall. We did not tear the grass up. We just piled cardboard or newspaper and dirt on top of the grass to a thickness of 8-15". Some grass has managed to grow through this year but not much at all. And our plants have been happy as can be. I would say save your back and your energy and don't bother trying to remove the grass before putting down your raised beds.