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Comment by Jude Simpson on February 6, 2010 at 9:41am
Hi Earl,
Yes, empty the water meter at about 9am. Must say it has been very easy to read this summer!

I buy the NZ Garden Diary by Lynda Hallinan. Purple mag with an Eggplant on cover, and can recommend as a good daily /weekly growing guide. I record all plantings and harvestings, top crops and others. It also has recipes for crops in season.
Am becoming quite fit with my rain dancing. I guess we could all form a huge circle around the city and grunt and groan a bit?
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 6, 2010 at 6:47am
Jude, I see that you take the garden temperature as well. I try to take a morning reading of rainfall, temp and humidity and put it in the diary. Do you record your data anywhere? I wonder how many others do the same and if it would make sense to aggregate it across the city?
Comment by Jude Simpson on February 5, 2010 at 11:37pm
You are such an interesting source of information.

Have just googled 'Diatomaceous' earth (Wikipedia), and notice that that compound can do everything except cook the carrots. Earwigs chewing 'baccy' would look good in a Star Wars movie.

We are having a particularly long hot summer and keeping the plants alive is quite a challenge. Temp at veg garden level is 32c. I deep water each other day and use pea straw and herbs as a mulch. Orange berry is a brilliant mulch.

Today I planted Mini Cauli, more beetroot (hoping for siamese twins), broccoli, celery, and Marigolds in between everything to keep the bugs away.

We look forward to a few frosts to kill off the Mozzie lavae and their mates.
Comment by Stillcookin on February 1, 2010 at 5:11pm
I have used garlic spray but I like garlic too much to give it to the bugs! I grow tobacco. I dry, grind and make tobacco tea then mix it with a little Dawn dish soap. It works really well except for Earwigs. They took up chewing tobacco. Tobacco is poison but the plants are some of the most beautiful. They take up a lot of space but it only takes 5 or 6 plants to get plenty. Another thing I like to use is Diatomaceous earth. I have spread it around the base of my plants and the next morning, all the Earwigs were clinging to the leaves for dear life. I got out my shop vac and vacumed them into the next life! It is pretty much non-toxic.
Last year was a bad year for pests since the winters have been really mild for the past few years. Not this year though, the ground has been frozen solid for weeks. Then it will rain and thaw causing even the mice to come floating out and heading for high ground. About a month ago, mice were running down the highways after being flooded out! It shouldn't be a bad mouse or other pests year this year, as we have for the last couple, due to the hard freeze.
Comment by Jude Simpson on February 1, 2010 at 1:32pm
Thank you for excellent website reference...will now stack more tyres on the bank and increase harvest by 25%.
Do you use garlic spray to keep pesky bugs away?
Comment by Stillcookin on February 1, 2010 at 11:49am
Hi Jude, Here is some info on that from:

"There is no appreciable risk in using recycled tires in the vegetable garden. While it is a fact that rubber tires do contain minute amounts of certain heavy metals, the compounds are tightly bonded within the actual rubber compound and do not leach into the soil. One of the ingredients in the rubber recipe is zinc. Zinc, in fact, is an essential plant element. I also expect that rubber is safer to use than treated lumber that contains copper and arsenic. Tires are durable. The very qualities that make them an environmental headache make them perfect for our uses in the garden. Once they are in place, they won’t rot and will likely be there for your grandchildren to use."

This is what most people in the know say about tires in the garden. I agree. Stillcookin.
Comment by Stillcookin on February 1, 2010 at 11:40am
I'm sorry to cause confusion. I meant to break them of at ground level as you would with a lateral on a tomato. Then, mound the new soil around them. A little bone meal sprinkled on them first helps with the new roots.
I'm sure it is my fault as my senior moments have become constant!
Comment by Earl Mardle on February 1, 2010 at 10:53am
Stillcookin, I'm still not clear and I'm sure its not your fault here as my senior moments start to string together.

we have done several stack of tyres and we have consistently grown good spuds but only about 2.5kg per stack and I'm sure its the method.

Here's what we did. Planted a sprouting spud in a tyre full of soil. We lay them on a bed comfrey leaves first, then cover.

As the shoots come up we mound up and add tyres as needed. They grow really well and, BTW, the tyres hold the leaves up off the ground and let us grow right through last year's frosts.

However, when we dismantle the stack the spuds only appear in the tyre we have put the original seed in, even if we have added 2 or more tyres above that as the plant grew.

Some questions.

When you say pluck off the stems at the base, do you mean to pluck them them off at the point where they come off the original seed potato or do you mean break them off at ground level as you would with a lateral on a tomato?

When you say "prior to mounding on more new soil" does that mean you can only do this once, when the original seed spud is still just below ground level or can you continue to pluck new stems as they emerge from deeper in the soil?

This bit has me completely beat. "As you mound the new soil up around the spud plant, pull off the new stems, don't cover them with soil. " It sounds like the plant is now growing well, the seed spud is deep in the soil; throwing up shoots that are somehow NOT the main stem and you pluck those off. However, if I am mounding up the soil around the plant, and NOT covering them with soil at the same time I can't see how to do that. Do you have some photos?

Do you choose one stem that will be the main stem and mound that up, or do you pluck off all stems as they come up?

At what point do you stop plucking the stems and let the plant grow.

I'm really sorry to be so obtuse but I can't "see" this process and I'm very keen to grow more of what have been excellent spuds.
Comment by Jude Simpson on February 1, 2010 at 8:49am
Still facinated with your Ooooby page. The borders look like stacked wine glasses...I'll drink to that!

Have also had great success with tatoes in tyres. I planted 'Rocket' in the spring, and 2 months later harvested 30 kg from 5 tyres. They were white and round like a tennis ball and circled the tyre like a row of pearls. There is something about tyres...whatever I plant in them becomes 'best crop'...but I do worry about heavy metals leaching from them. Do you know if this could be a problem?
Comment by Stillcookin on January 31, 2010 at 6:12pm
They (roots) may have gotten too hot in the bucket. That is the number one culprit growing in buckets.


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