2022 Spring Garden Observations

Weather

There was little rain the first three months with only 6.92″ as of 3/13/22. There have been 5 very deep cold spells with temperatures into the mid-20s. On 1/22/2022 the temperature fell to 18.5°.

The final deep freeze was on the night of 3/12/2022 when the temperature fell the next morning to 26°. There was a very heavy frost at sunrise on 3/13/2022. We covered the new green leaves of the Blue Plumbago and they survived. The Indigo was not covered and most new leaves were killed.

3/4/22 – The next morning, 3/14/22, it got down to 31° when it was predicted to only going to 38. Dew Point was 30+. Saw all that on the weather station about 3 AM and at 4 AM went out, got the blankets from the grain bin, and recovered the plumbagos and marigolds at the front door. The Meyer lemon tree had tiny leaves and most of them froze as did the small new leaves on the Blood Orange.

3/20/22 – There was a light frost on the roof the morning of 3/20/22 but none on the leaves or grass.

4/9/22 – Cold spells still occurring with this morning down to 37°. Yesterday the low was just below 40°. Soil temp 2 IN. down was 44° today.

4/26/22 – The last cold morning down to 46°. Everything has been sown but the peas and beans. Now can sow them.

5/24-27/22 – Thunderstorms blew over a third of the corn. Dropped 4.06 inches of rain.

5/28-6/28 – NO Rain. Very dry.

6/29 to 7/31 – Last 2 days of June had about 1.5 in. of rain. Total rainfall for July is 12.27 in. Rained almost every day.

8/1 to 8/29 – Total rainfall was 19.74 inches. It rained almost every day and kept the garden too wet to cultivate. Knocked down the weeds with Glyphosate.

10/21 & 22 – The first cold mornings with a low of 32.9 on the 21st then 32.2 on the 22nd. On the 22nd the dew point was 32° so we had the first light frost.

9/17 to 10/30 – No Rain except 0.53″ on 10/12. Drought was over with 2.39″ on 10/29-30th. That was 6 weeks with only 0.53 inches of rain

Fertilizing

Typically, spread 13-13-13 between the tracks and then hilled. For most added about a tablespoon of Borax per row. Last year the typical was 15-0-15.

Pollination – Not as many bees as last two years. That likely reduced the squash and cuke production.

Growth & Production

Green Magic Broccoli 

Spring Garden – Sowed about 30 ft on 2/22/22 but only two plants came up and survived to May 14 when we pulled them up, They had no “heads” forming and the weeds were taking over. Best as a fall crop or grow seedlings in the greenhouse during January for planting in late February.

Cantaloupe

  • Sugar Cube (F1) Melon Seed – From Johnny’s – This was the first planting of this variety for us. Good germination and grew to bloom and vining quickly. Gathered 15-20 small fruit with good taste. No disease issues. Plant again.
  • Hales Best – Germination fine but not as vigorous as Sugar Cube. Did not live through the June drought. On the driest days, the rows were flooded. Still failed.

Swiss Chard

  • Sowed late winter then grew slowly and tough
  • Sunburned in April.
  • Will not plant again

Cheers Cabbage

Spring Garden – Planted in March and it grew ok although bugs eat holes in many leaves and they did not seem to be making heads as the days became hotter. Pulled them up on May 14. Best as a fall crop.

Cucumbers

Ashley – Slow to get to fruit likely due to June drought and late side-dressing. Produced flavorful short round cukes that looked like baby watermelons and a lot of standard shapes. No sign of Downey Mildew problem as it is resistant. Seed bought at Hurley F&F. Cucumbers picked at different times all were tasteless and did not even smell like cucumber. Do not plant again.

G-90 Corn

  1. Sowed April 12, 2022
  2. Sowed last year’s seed that came up ok. After germination and up to knee-high, there were sections of adjacent rows that were smaller and off-color. When side dressed at knee-high those areas color improved and they grew. The fertilizer below the hill was consistent. A mystery so far.
  3. 5/24-27/22 – Thunderstorms blew over a third of the corn. Dropped 4.06 inches of rain. Most stood back up.
  4. No rain until June 29th. Flooded rows 4 times and that helped it make but ears were small likely due to drought.
  5. Produced well. 10 rows was a lot more than we needed but had some to give away.
  6. Next year try Silver King again with G90.

Okra

  • Red Burgundy
    • Soaked the seeds in warm water for about 4 hours. Sowed saved seeds from last year and had about 50% germination. Resowed the gaps. Finally began having a few pods in early July. Should have side-dressed sooner.
    • 8/31/2022 – Production has been poor and the height of stalks was random as some never got over 3 ft. and a few at 5 ft plus. 50 ft long row only produced 4-6 pods per day. When pulled them up today there was nematode damage that I did not see last year; i.e. the reason this variety was planted this year. Will not plant again.
  • Clemson Spineless
    • Soaked the seeds in warm water for about 4 hours. About half did not germinate so resowed the gaps.
    • Getting a few pods in early July. Should have side-dressed sooner.
    • During August got 6 to 12 pods a day. The spineless nature makes picking nice.

Peas & Beans

  • Mississippi Silver Crowder – Sowed 4/30/2022. Germinated well, grew strong, and disease free. Made many pods although we lost some to fungus and aphids. If they had all been picked and frozen then we would have had more than we needed with the 4-60 foot rows. Likely will only plant Silver next year and in that case, the four rows are about right. But, see note below as having some left to dry then mow down may be a strategy to control Root Knot Nematodes (RKN).
  • Mississippi Purple Crowder – Germinated well, grew strong. Made many pods although we lost a lot to fungus and aphids. The fungus and aphids were much worse on the Purple than the Silver which was two rows of KWB away. If they had all been picked and frozen then we would have had plenty with the 2-60 foot rows. Likely will only plant Silver next year.
  • Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans – The seeds were left over from last year and germination was spotty. Perhaps the June drought caused them to not bear even one bean. The first year they did well and Mary loved them. Need to figure out what is wrong. First, start with fresh seeds.
  • An interesting note of potential opportunity – Given the aphids and fungus, and that we did not pick all that was there, we had a good crop of volunteer peas coming up and bearing in early August. They were helped by bush hogging the plants and dry pods that knocked down the weeds and scattered the peas. Let them grow until late August to get large. Disked them in on 8/30 & 8/31/2022 to hopefully kill many RKN’s.

Peppers

Carolina Cayenne
  • Carolina Cayenne from SESE – Produced well. Dehydrated them and made crushed red pepper flakes that were hot compared to typical cayennes. Still producing in September.
  • Cayenne Long Slim – None of the seedlings made any peppers…if they lived.
  • Everman Jalapeno
    • Very prolific with mild heat and no disease or bug pressure.
    • Peppers ranged from mild to hot.
    • Worked well stuffed with pimento cheese, wrapped in bacon, and smoked.
    • Picked many but used only a few. If replant then only 2-4 plants.
    • Still producing in September.
  • Carolina Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper – Produced some fruit that was only about 2 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep rather than as shown at SESE. Failure.

Radishes – Cherry Belle did not do well and what it did produce we did not use. Not worth planting radishes for us.

Squash

  • Goldprize – Germination was ok and they flowered quickly. Had a few squashes then only blooms. By mid-July, there were only a few small plants that bloomed and a few squashes. If the drought had not occurred, or the drip had been there, they might have been ok. Failed.
  • Delta Yellow Squash – Last year’s seeds did not have good germination. Plant again but maybe not only Deltas. Failed.
  • Dunja Zucchini – Good germination and consistent producer like last year. Did marginally during the June drought with hand watering but quit having male blooms after a month or so of some squash. Heavy daily rains in July tore them up and they rotted.
  • Golden Bush Scallop – Failed
  • Autumn Frost – Finally had several squashes but they were 2-3 inches in diameter, hard skin, large seed cavity, and hence little meat. The vines and leaves were never healthy. When cut open they looked like a pale butternut and smell the same. We are better off growing Betternut butternuts. Failed. Planted left over seeds in the fall garden. See Observations there for final judgment.
  • Honey Nut Squash from Harris – 50% complete failure and the others produced no squash. Failed. Planted left over seeds in the fall garden. See Observations there for final judgment.
  • Seminole Pumpkin – Finally produced some small fruit in early July after the June drought. None harvested. Failure. Planted left over seeds in the fall garden. See Observations there for final judgment.
  • NEXT YEAR

Tomatoes – Better Boys

Got an early start with Mary having raised seedlings in the greenhouse. Triple 13 below the row made them grow fast and lush except for a few that had curled leaves and several with stunted vines and small leaves next to very healthy plants.

Great production of many tomatoes with little disease issues. Had a few places with fusarium wilt and sprayed with mancozeb once. They were watered daily via the drip so the June drought was not an issue. The drought likely reduced the wilt disease occurrence. As soon as the daily rains started in July the wilt began to spread.

Took cuttings and rooted new plants for the fall garden.

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