Jaimee Gleisner

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since Jul 09, 2012
Urbana, IL Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Jaimee Gleisner

I'm losing the battle with stink bugs and with it my winter squash and pumpkins. I'm afraid my tomatoes will be next! The internet basically says insecticide soap, which obviously I don't want to use. I've been picking them off and scraping the eggs off, too, but they are everywhere! I also read that ladybugs and lacewings will eat them. I thought about buying some as I don't seem to have any in my garden despite planting beneficial bug attracting flowers everywhere. Then I read that wild caught bugs can carry disease and now I'm wondering what to do. Anyone have recommendations to try and save what's left of my squashes? Thoughts on buying beneficial bugs?

Thanks!
7 years ago
Yeah, I haven't taken any of the serious damage... several of those plants simply didn't make it. But you can see around the cauli head that the new leaves are damaged- the tops eaten off- and the larger leaves not shown are full of holes. I put my cabbage and broccoli out in March and we had several below freezing temps after that, unfortunately. The cauli was put out later. But most of these transplants just sat and sat and sat and did basically nothing. Then the weather turned and they started to grow and then the moths came. So I think their small size is due more to the stunting than the fertility, but I can't be sure. It could be some of both. I did fertilize with coffee grounds and pee many times to try and kick start growth. I know that wood chips mixed into the soil can cause some N deficiency, but the chips are really only on the surface. I read the study that showed surface wood chips did not cause significant levels of N deficiency, but did benefit the soil in other ways, so I went that route this year. There was also a sporadic cover crop of clover, field pea, and rye grass under the chips. Thanks for the encouragement, though! I will definitely keep trying.

Oh, I did take this pic....
7 years ago
Well, I got some spring broccoli, my cauli is heading now, my cabbage is attempting to catch up, and my spring kale is enormous and prolific. I hope these things speak for the fertility of my soil.





I think my issue thus far has been mostly the long, cool spring that stunted many of my plants. By the time they started really growing, the moths were out, doing their damage. So the stunted growth coupled with the constant need to regrow eaten leaves has made them struggle to produce. Next year I will put things out a bit later and cover them to prevent the stunting and maybe they will be able to handle the moths better. But now that it's full on summer and full on moth season, I need to figure out a solution for my fall brassicas. Thoughts?
7 years ago
Cabbage worms have really done a number on my brassicas. This is my first time trying to grow broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage and it's been extremely difficult due to the worms. I've been picking them off by hand and spraying out the eggs with water, but they just keep coming back. They even infected my starts that were out on the porch hardening for a few hours! I talked with numerous gardeners and everyone- even the farmers at the Farmer's Market- use Bt. I am envious of their giant cabbages, prolific broccoli plants, and fluffy white cauli curds. My plants are still making up for so much lost time regrowing their eaten leaves.

So, my question is, what are the cons of Bt? Is its safety in question for humans? Do I need to thoroughly wash my vegetables before eating them once they've been dusted? I know that it targets certain insects and not a whole host of beneficials as well, so that's good, but I still worry about its effect on the ecosystem. I would love to hear from others that are against Bt use- why and what do you do instead? And from those that use Bt- how were you convinced of its safety?

Thanks!
7 years ago
It's funny. I'm not a fan of the logs sticking out either, just aesthetically speaking.

So, I went ahead and planted my fruit trees on the edges of my HK beds. I dug into the crown of the bed and found I had only about 8" of dirt so it wasn't enough to bury the tree roots. I dug into the side of the bed until I hit the logs and dug the hole right in front of it into the ground. Then I built the bed back up around it a bit and mulched around 6" or so from each trunk. So they look like the are on the side of the bed sort of, but are really directly into the ground (I was careful not to bury the graft). They seem very happy and are leafing out and some are flowering even.

Tree hedge row pre-mulch


Apples leafing out


Plum flowering
7 years ago
Okay, I'm really trying to figure out how this could work and convince my husband that we need to take on this project! I'm concerned that the sheer volume of water that flows through my yard would be difficult to catch with just a shallow rain garden basin. Picture a small, shallow river flowing along the fence. In a few places it pools up against obstacles, but there's still a steady flow through the yard until it soaks in enough and then there are just pools. I would literally be damming the river and creating a lake. It's a serious amount of water. If the rain garden area couldn't hold it all it would then over flow into my neighbor's yard and that would not be good. I'd need a back up plan in place for over flow to make sure it didn't flood out my neighbor. Does this seem like the right way to go?
7 years ago
Wow, so many great ideas! Thanks everyone!

Jordan Lowery wrote:How many days out of the year is this place flooded? Which parts of the year? If this is the lowest spot on property I'd put a lot of shrubs and trees that won't mind and can be coppiced. Willow and mulberry would be my first choices given the limited details. Coppiced trees and shrubs would provide an excellent resource and a end of the property nutrient trap.



It's only after snow melt or heavy rain. For us that is typically end of winter-early spring and it dries up within a day of the rains ending (or snow melting). I actually forget about the drainage issue for most of the year other than the fact that the area doesn't get much growing on it. The grass never manages to fill in and other ground covers take over until they get flooded out or killed off by the cold. The soil is mostly clay and I'm sure quite compacted. The depression along the edge of our property was perhaps purposeful when they built the housing complex. It provides a river bed from the higher areas of the housing complex down to the lowest part of the complex, which is the park area complete with water retention depressions. But the water must make it through numerous yards, across streets, up curbs, etc. such that I don't think it ever makes it there and instead pools up in our yards. I recently built several hugel mounds in my yard and covered up the grass surrounding the mounds with local wood chips. One of my neighbors thinks I've disrupted the natural flow of water and have made the pooling worse this year. I don't think that is the case at all and neither do my other neighbors. I simply think we have gotten a crazy, crazy amount of rain over the last week. But, I would like to try and do something to capture the rainwater if possible.

So, this idea of a rain garden is intriguing. But I am entirely clueless how to begin such a project. Would I dig the depressions in my yard deeper to prevent the water from flowing through my yard and into my neighbors' yards? It would be a serious pond and I'm not sure I want that. One, I don't want a pond for safety reasons with my little children, two I would worry about standing water breeding more mosquitoes than we already have, and three, when the water dries up for most of the year I would have these large depressions with nothing in them. I can get a willow branch from a neighbor and when I have more funds I could plant some of the other species mentioned. But I'm really nervous about digging deeper depressions. Maybe someone with more experience could help me envision this better?



7 years ago
Yes, I appreciate edibles, certainly! I also don't have much room for large trees, maybe one willow. I would love a hedgerow of elderberries and then maybe some lower flowering or ground cover types. Hostas, daylilies, ferns, coneflowers, asters?
7 years ago
I had actually planned elderberries in part of that area and second guessed myself because of the flooding. So elderberries really can handle standing water for several days?
7 years ago
I love weeping willows! That is an idea for sure. I wonder, how much water can they really suck out? And do you have any recommendations for bog plants or a suggestion of where to look in these forums?

Thanks!!!
7 years ago