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Vegetable Gardening with Skywatcher


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#1 Skywatcher

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:03 PM

Vegetable gardening is an enjoyable and rewarding process.....or so i have been told.
Here is how this years attempt to have some delicious tomatoes and veggies is going.

1. Set up garden area.
We have big rocks, little rocks, and pulverized rocks, mixed with some hardpan and dust for soil. So to grow anything in yard, here is what was done.
Build raised beds from wood frame, high enough to keep the tortoises out (they think anything they can reach is a salad bar). Break up the bottom exposed "dirt". Fill all three raised beds with a rich topsoil and soil amenders until full and mix well. Install additional 14" wire fence around each raised bed to keep the dogs out.

Raised bed materials- $75.00
Fencing- $ 20.00
Soil and amendments- $55.00
Labor- free

2. Buy a beautiful assortment of tomatoe plants and veggies. Settled on 5 good tomatoes, 1 zucchini, 8 bush beans, 2 peppers, 8 assorted leafy greens, 1 basil, 1 Thyme. Bring home and plant, water in well. Smile and imagine how good this is going to be, and wait.

3.All seems well, harvesting some of the greens for salads, beans are starting to grow and tomatoes are thriving, flowering, and setting fruit. All seems well.

4. Three lettuce plants and two beans are gone. Pocket gopher has discovered the food source. Dig out tunnel and use fumigator to eliminate gopher. Next day, two more bean plants and another lettuce is wilting. Lift to examine, no roots left. Obvoiusly gopher is not phased by fumigation. Buy large pack of juicyfruit gum as recomended by gardening site, chew all 14 pieces untill soft and place in holes where gophers have been having a party after digging all around to find tunnels. Wait for results.

Juicyfuit gum and fumigation bombs- $10.00

5. After 3 days and several more missing plants, watch as last remaining lettuce is getting tugged underground, grab shovel and attempt to decapitate gopher before he can leave the crime scene...... without success.
Several hours later with no lettuce and one bean remaining in raised bed, dig out all soil, set to side, install fine wire mesh on bottom and refill with soil. Replant one bean and carrot seeds. Tie up all tomatoe plants with stakes and supports as they are out growing baskets and heavy with growing fruit.

Wire mesh for base of gopher infested bed- $ 7.00
Stakes and support cord for tomatoes- $15.00

6. Come home and discover half eaten green tomatoes by back door, go to garden and find largest plant pulled over fence and all chewed up. Find youngest dog puking green. Go to store and buy materials for better fencing. Come home, install chicken wire fence and supports around entire raised bed garden area. Notice eaten leaves, and start plucking tomatoe worms off plants.

Posts and chicken wire with staple gun refill- $ 96.00
Resolve carpet spot cleaner for dog barf from continued puke through the night- $ 8.00

7. First tomatoes are beginning to turn. Tomatoe worms are thriving, plucking worms off vine 3 times a day. Following morning, blushing tomatoes are half eaten. Rat seen running from area. Buy rat traps and small jar of peanut butter to eliminate rodent, wonder where the gopher went?
Set traps and go to bed....

4 Rat traps- $6.00
Peanut butter- $ 2.00

8. Check traps, all triggered, no occupants. More eaten tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes beginning to ripen. Reset traps and add a few sticky traps below vines. Awake following day and check traps. No rats but one robin, and one grey bird. Filled with guilt and remorse for killing birds, fill bird feeders with extra good stuff, Throw traps in a bucket and toss into junk pile. Feed tomatoes.

Tomatoe food- $ 6.00
Birdseed- $10.00
Guilt- $0.00

9. Go out in morning to check tomatoes and harvest some zucchini, see flock of birds fly out of garden, all semi ripe tomatoes half eaten and full of holes. Go to store, buy bird netting to keep birds out of tomatoes. Come home and stretch out bird netting. Attempt to cover plants.....
Untangle netting and try again, get 50% covered when foot gets tangled in netting, myself falling into perimeter fence in process and braking off two support stakes and cutting arms and legs on chicken wire.
Buy replacement stakes, repair fence, and finally finish covering tomatoes.

Bird netting- $ 12.00
Replacement fence stakes-$ 3.00
Hydrogen peroxide and bandaids- $4.00

10. Attempt to pluck tomatoe worms off vines without removing bird netting. Decide to wait untill they get bigger and wait a day. Count green tomatoes and refill bird feeder. Try to remember what part of this is relaxing and wonder if i will ever get to eat a tomatoe, and what happened to the zucchini with lots of leaves and no squash.....


To be continued.........
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#2 shroomhunt

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:55 PM

Seems as if you have caught the zone 9 blues man. Pests down here like none other. I find tomatoes hard to control here disease and pest wise. Leaf curl is everywhere and leaf foot and stink bugs too. Neem seems to do the trick for certain diseases and white flies and stuff over a significant period of time but by no means right away. Spider mites and leaf miners are usually vanquished the fastest with neem. Azamax neem seed oil extract will do the job way faster than just neem oil. Birds and whatnot aren't really stoppable I guess though.plant ton of beneficial attracting flowers and herbs to bring around the good bugs to help you out.

#3 BKeith

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 10:13 AM

I hardly ever see tomato worms anymore here. It used to be a big deal when I was a kid, to go out and hunt them.
Birds never bother ours, but I have had possums and chipmunks get into them.
My problem this year is slugs. They're after the cabbage, hostas and melon vines.


#4 wildedibles

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:19 AM

man I gapped out didnt see this till today ...did u get to eat a tomato?

 

Some think a veggie garden is almost free ;) nope nope nope ...my Aunt is fighting off deer hard to keep them out ... beetles and slugs get me here (I do not water at night anymore for this reason but what happens if it rains at night ?)

 

I liked your story I feel for ya buddy hugs



#5 Skywatcher

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:16 AM

Actually I forgot about this thread.......

Shortly after writing all this, i reached the "I give up" phase, and decided what will be, will be. We lost all the beans, lettuce, and carrots to the gopher. 

On a positive note, we ate zucchinni untill we ran out, at least 20 of them. Tomatoes produced in abundance, so even though critters had their fill, we got enough to can up 20 big jars of fruit, and make 8 jars of tomatoe/basil sauce. We also ate fresh tomatoes every way we could, and made fresh pasta sauce quite a few times. Yummmmmm

 

The basil is still thriving, as is the thyme. All the large tomatoes have been pulled now. There is one small pear tomatoe that is determined to continue and has finally slowed down.

 

All in all, I learned enough to do it again, and enjoyed greatly eating food I did not have to wonder about...........

:biggrin:


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#6 wildedibles

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:03 PM

That's what I love best knowing what is in the food :)

Thoes raised beds if the thyme likes it there it might make a great herbal garden since everything is there and built now

animals and bugs do not usually eat herbals too spicy and they grow without fuss do not need to tend to them all the time no need to even water them as they like it dry ...hate for you to go to all that work and to give up on it completely

just have to find things that they do not like and have the rest in pots that u could have more control over

I set some of my cacti out over the summer and started some magic seeds most of my work eaten by snails grrr...

I put out the I have plenty of these cacti first to test glad i did cause the other special ones stayed indoors keep them outa harms way :)

glad u had lots of zucchini I have had my fill of thoes too glad u had lots of tomatoes :) we did too soo much we ended up freezing some so we can remove the skin as they defrost then cook as u want or can ... we had issues with them not ripe all at the same time so we would have only been able to do a can at a time ....

gardening is rewarding but frustrating as well :) keeps my mind off house work ;)


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#7 Skywatcher

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:34 PM

Absolutely not giving up. Most of the beds are resting now. Since all is consructed now and the fence to keep the tomatoe eating dog out is still up, cost will be much lower from now on. While we are in cold weather mode, I plan to dig out all the raised beds as deep as I can, put down gopher wire, and refill with amendment from the compost barrel. I might try some winter crops, but come spring tomatoes will be going in again. I know now to space better and provide more support.

 

I am still trying to get the gopher...........

I know he is around, but he won't go near a trap, and thinks the electronic sound repellers are music to dine by.......



#8 wildedibles

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:12 PM

glad to hear u r not giving up ...  Sounds like a cool garden :)



#9 shroomhunt

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 08:05 PM

Just wanted to stop in an say hi sky! Its been so long since I've been on here. I've learned so much about controlling pest down here in fl. Also a ton about conditioning the soil better. Its all a work in progress gets better each time.

#10 PsyBearknot

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 11:43 PM

Hey Skye

Just saw this thread got moved to the urban gardener section by someone.


Wanted to ask how the gopher wire worked for you ?
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#11 Skywatcher

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:47 AM

Hey Skye

Just saw this thread got moved to the urban gardener section by someone.


Wanted to ask how the gopher wire worked for you ?

I forgot myself how much "Fun" that first year was. The gopher wire below the raised beds was effective at keeping them from eating the roots from below. Unfortunately they decided to just go above ground and chew last years tomatoes off at the ground before they could fruit. I had to replace all my tomatoes 3 times last year before we made the call to "Gopher Man".

 

I paid for extermination, and prayed the dogs would not get ahold of any of the poison. Dogs survived the toxic period, and the gophers are gone.(I hope).

 

I am ready to de-weed and re- amend all the raised beds. It is time to plant again.


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#12 pharmer

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:10 PM

home built gopher gasser?


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#13 Juthro

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 12:25 PM

You know I cant pass up sharing when it comes to blowing up gophers.

Here is a DIY style gopher blaster.


[Direct Link]



:)

Edited by Juthro, 21 March 2016 - 12:26 PM.

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#14 Alder Logs

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:35 PM

Juth, that only makes you have deaf gophers.


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#15 Juthro

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:49 PM

Juth, that only makes you have deaf gophers.


What was that? I cant hear you..... :)

Anyway, who cares if it works. Blowing stuff up is fun!!

#16 Alder Logs

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 02:52 PM

 

"When in doubt, use more dynamite."

~Edgar Montrose

 

I remember the time I used calcium carbide and water in a mountain beaver burrow.   It made the loudest blast.  Sounded like a ten gauge on steroids.   Didn't slow down the mountain beavers.   I got them eventually with a jump trap slipped down in the burrow.


Edited by Alder Logs, 21 March 2016 - 02:56 PM.


#17 Juthro

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 03:21 PM

It's true, my best luck has been with mechanical traps when it comes to eliminating gophers, and moles.

#18 Alder Logs

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 03:55 PM

Our moles here on the upper left edge are solitary creatures.  I have read that one mole makes up to 50 hills per month.  Count your hills and divide, and that's how many you have to trap.   There isn't that many of them.   They're faking us out with the illusion of strength in numbers.   They are very territorial and will fight off intruders.   They only meet to breed and then separate again.   So, trap them where you don't want them and the ones you don't trap will set up your perimeter defense.   When they stray into No-Mole's-Land, you nail 'em.


Edited by Alder Logs, 21 March 2016 - 03:57 PM.





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