Wild Men on the North Fork

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2002 Notes

2002: Here is gardening partner Paul Combe kneeling amongst some of our raised beds. In front of him are two beds of lettuce. Just behind him are two 3x3 beds of Cool Breeze cucumbers which produced over 40 quarts of pickles this year. Behind those beds are three beds of tomatoes (with red plastic film mulch and tall wire supports), with 4 plants each. The other two beds have hot peppers and shallots, and Big Bertha green bell peppers.

NEWS:

The Jacquot-McAtee team of gardeners announces the expansion of that team with the addition of Mr. Paul Combe. Paul brings to the team the experiences of being raised on a farm in Idaho. He is an expert on Tomatoes. He has rented a plot, so that will make us a team of three gardeners on four plots.


2002 TRIALS: No grand trials this year, but we will be trying out new (for us) varieties as follows:

BUSH BEAN: Royal Purple Burgandy, POLE BEAN: Kwintus, Garafal Oro, BRUSSEL SPROUT: Materline, CABBAGE: Savoy Express, CHINESE EXPRESS: Pak Choi Joi Choi, Greenwhich, CARROT: Nelson, Mokum, Kuroda, CORN: Ambrosia CUCUMBER: SuhyoTK, Diva, H-19 Little Leaf, LETTUCE: Nevada, MUSK MELON: Sun Jewel, Savor, Whopper, PEPPER: Karma, Cherry Pick, PUMPKIN: Racer, Lumina, Streaker Jack, SQUASH: Butter Scallop Pattypan, Super Zuc Zucchini, Bush Delectica, TOMATO: Big Mama, Black Plum, Early Cascade, WATERMELON: Whopper II, Sweet Favorite

MAY 7: STARTS UP and TRANSFERRED TO BIGGER CONTAINERS: all tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts, bac choi, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, chinese cabbage, STARTS UP: cucumbers, Potatoes are planted

JUNE 13: Disasters! The tomatoes were pummeled by 80 mile per hour winds. We solved that problem by cutting heavy water main pipe (plastic, 6 inches in diameter) into lengths varying from 9 to 14 inches long and slipping them over the tomatoes and down into the ground. No wind will blow them away. The plants already are responding well and look good, though we did have to replace 6 of 24.

COLD! The nights since late May have been very very cool.....ranging from 39 to 44 degrees. The cucumbers we set out (Shuhy Tk, Diva, H-19 Little Leaf) have not taken well to such cool nights and are dead. The Cool Breeze and Sweet Success have fared well. We will have to plant other cucumbers. Corn has only germinated at about 15 percent at best. We dug some seeds up and the are rooting very slowly. We notice that a garden neighbor who started corn under cheese cloth now has 6 inch corn and 100 percent germination. Hmmm. (Later investigation revealed that the corn was started in pots and then covered with cheese cloth.) Ants are already doing a number on the bean leaves. We will have to do something about that right away. With cool weather, beans are only half up. All cool weather plants are doing well.

JUNE 17: Most of the corn, squash, pumpkin, melon, and watermelon is not up. By digging we discovered that the seed are just sitting there. The temperature is still not high enough to cause germination, despite the fact that we have had several warm days. We have replaced the Suhko TK cucumber with Sweet Slice from the nursery. Greenwhich Chineese Cabbage is doing well. Pak Choi is doing wonderfully well. Tomates have recovered and are beginning to grow. Black plum tomatoes are the tallest right now.

Replanted: Sweet Favorite Watermelon, Buttercup Squash, Heart of Gold Squash, Autumn Gold Pumpkin, Racer Pumpkin,Whopper Watermelon, Super Zuc, Sun Jewel Melon, Bush Delectica Squash, Lumina Pumpkin, Patty Pan Squash, Table Ace Acorn Squash.

Replaced Seed: Streaker Jack Pumpkin with Racer, Whopper Musk Melon with Alaska and Minn. Midget Musk, Savor Charentais Melon with Minn. Midget Musk and Sweet Favorite Water Melon, Little Leaf (Pickling) Cucumber with Diva (Slicer) and National Pickling (Pickling).

JUNE 25: We moved 16 of the Ambrosia Corn to a box (we only got 35 plants from 300 seeds planted in 180 'holes'), and will replant with Kandy Kwik Corn tonight. We added three more 'planters' to the new plot. Two are already planted with Royal Chantenais, and Danvers Carrots. These new tires represent a divergence from our usual planting technique. The top 2 inches is potting soil, and that will retain moisture better than the clay. The seeds were planted on top of vermiculite, as per Mel Bartholomew's technique. We will plant all the Kandy Kwik Corn on top of vermiculite also. The third 'planter' will get planted with Kandy Kwik Corn tonight. I have noted that some of the corn failure may be due to the fact that we presoaked it. Half the beans (all beans got presoaked) did not germinate well, half did. I conclude that some beans don't do well with presoaking if evenings are cool. The cool evenings definitely hurt a lot of plants. Cucumbers and Garden Huckleberries are just now starting to shoot up. The tires we replanted earlier (Pumpkin, Squash, Melon) are now emerging with sprouts. The pattern seems to be that the older seed (planted toward the exterior) is coming up before the newer seed (planted toward the interior). Tomatoes are shooting up out of their 'tubes', and at least one Early Goliath is ready to be trained to its wire trellis. I now think that the cucumbers we started and set out would have fared better with more wind breaks and more grass mulch.

JULY 2: Didn't get the corn in until noon on Wednesday the 26th. Corn is up this morning.... a bit less than 6 days later. Beans are being attacked as they emerge....am having to replant a lot of beans. Newly planted carrots are up in 8 days. Must be due to the extremely hot days we have been having in succession...must be some kind of record for heat.

JULY 10: We ran out of vermiculite and so am using pearlite. Beans planted with pearlite below seem to float up out of the hole. They may need to be covered with regular soil to hold them down. The garden is prospering. We have havested two central broccoli heads already. On those plants side shoots were already present. Wow. We have been cutting lettuce for a couple of weeks now. Some of the peppers on the Big Bertha plants are 4 inches already. We have havested all but one of the Boc Choi already and have replanted with Savoy Cabbage. There is one cauliflower head already. New corn is 5 inches tall. I have noticed that my cucumbers at home are of two heights. Those close to the spinach are short, and those further away are tall. Hmmm.

JULY 31: Great production of Broccoli thus far. The Cool Breeze Cucumber is producing hard and I am putting up quarts of pickles therefrom. Tomatoes are putting on fruit and we have had a couple of small red ones already. Sweet Slice and Sweet Success Cucumbers are producing. Lettuce is fantastic, but we have too much of it...same for Chard. Better Belle Peppers are producing well, a little behind Big Bertha, which is superb as usual. Cauliflower is about a fourth done producing...many heads on the way. Mokum and Kuroda carrots are tall now and some are picking size. Pak Choi produced well, but don't know if we will plant it again, same with Greenwhich. Savoy Express Cabbage is great. Will plant again. Hot peppers are putting on fruit, and the small mild ones too. All the Marrows (Squash and Pumpkin) are big now and putting on fruit. We have been eating Zuchini. Brussel Sprouts are sprouting hard now. All melons have some small fruit started, runners are running with many blossoms attached. Sun Jewel Melon has two fruit now, one 3 inches long. Corn is 2 1/2 feet tall and growing about an inch a day.

AUGUST 1: So how cold was it this June? Below is a chart that shows what happened to evening temperatures.

JUNE 2002 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Evening Low Temps (f) 48 50 49 44 44 52 48 54 40 39 36 36 41 34 42 47 48 48 48 46

AUGUST 19: Each year we walk through the plots and I scribble notes about how each of the plants are doing, and what we would like to see changed next year. It is these notes that have a major impact on our decisions over the winter during the planning process for the next season.

(Moving from southest to northwest through the Combe and McAtee plots)

Sunflower and Zinnias - This is a nice combination but we need to concentrate our flowers next year. See Cucumbers below.

Red Norland Potato - The potatoes seem a bit diseased, and they do not seem to appreaciate the tires they are in as much as we think they would like a regular bed. Yet we think that there are plenty of potatoes below the surface. The idea, then is to move potatoes to the other double plot and to put them in two 3x6 boxes specially designed so that more boxes may be stacked upon them, and more dirt thrown on top of them to increase production. We will place the boxes so that they are far away from any neighbors.

Little Leaf Cucumber - Froze out. Replaced by Diva and National Pickling. They have been flowering for a month, yet we have had very little production. We think it is lack of bees, and that is due to a lack of flowers. We need to move all cucumbers to the other double plot, and to put in Cool Breeze in by both plant and seed. The seeded plants will come on a bit later than the plants we set out - giving us a more continuous harves. Cool Breeze is parthenocarpic, and does not need any fertilization to produce. When I think back the years we did well with National Pickling we had big flower beds right next to them. Flowers in BOTH double beds need to be concentrated and designed to be irresitable to bees.

National Pickling - See above.

Diva Cucumber - We have planted this in the plots and at all three houses. We are not impressed with production.

Onions - love the tires. Put more onions in tires next year.

Buttercup Squash -At last, we are getting some fruit on the vines.

Heart of Gold Squash - Have already picked one.

Sweet Favorite Watermelon - We are getting some. They are long fruit with dark green stripes over light green skin.

Savor Charentais Melon - These never did come up. Replaced by Sweet Favorite and Minn. Midget.

Autumn Gold Pumpkin - We have already harvested two of these.

Racer Pumpkin - We are getting these now, about 5 pound size now.

Golden Hubbard - We are getting these now.

Whopper Musk Melon - Never did come up. Replaced by Minn. Midget and Alaska Musk Melon.

Minnesota Midget Musk - We have great vines but no melons yet.

Alaska Musk Melon - Good production so far.

Chantenay and Danver Carrots - Need to plant these in boxes next year. They seem to not like tires.

Karma Pepper - Fine Production, big peppers. Not red yet

Red Beauty Pepper - Ditto

Ambrosia Corn - Lousy germination, 16 remaining are forming good ears.

Kandy Kwik Corn - Great Corn, planted June 26. Looks like we will get corn to eat. Did not do well in tires

Savoy Cabbage - Great, increase planting next year.

Packman Broccoli - Great as per usual - just the right number of plants

Snow Crown Cauliflower - Seems to lover tires - put all cauliflower in planters next year - increase planting of cauliflower next year

Pac Choi and Michili - Grew fine. Don't like it. Do not plant next year.

Table Ace Acorn Squash - Fine so far

Streaker Jack Pumpkin - Rotted in ground - replaced by Racer which is doing fine - needs more room

Patty Pan Squash - doing fine - have picked 2

Lumina Pumpkin - throws long runners - putting on fruit now.

Yellow Zucchini - We have picked lots.

Super Zuc - Ditto

Sun Jewel Melon - Puts on lots of fruit - don't know about taste - like plants a lot

Bush Delectica - fruit is three inches right now

AUGUST 21: Each year we walk through the plots and I scribble notes about how each of the plants are doing, and what we would like to see changed next year. It is these notes that have a major impact on our decisions over the winter during the planning process for the next season.

(Moving from southest to northwest through the original double plot)

Bright Lights Swiss Chard - Doing just fine. Probably have double what we really need.

Kuroda Carrot - Mokum Carrot - fine so far

Onions - fine so far - may have more than we need

Sukyo Tk Cucumber - froze out - replaced with sweet slice - which has produced just fine.

Roma and Incredible bush beans - late - hard to keep beetles off of the sprouts.

Better Bell Pepper - Good one. Offsets production of Big Bertha

Banana and Cherry Pick Pepper - good so far

Yellow Pear Tomato - late this year - no ripe ones yet

Black Plum Tomato - doing fine - impressive plants - unequalled flavor

Early Goliath Tomato - Late, like all tomatoes this year. Finally bearing fruit

Sunny Goliath Tomato - ditto

Early Cascade - OK, but would not grow again. Want to try Black Crim or Early Girl

Garafal Oro - Kwintus - the latter is better - not a great bean year

Sweet Success Cucumber - good so far

Fava Bean - do not plant again - diseased and beat up

Top Crop Bean - Late this year

Royal Burgandy - Very impressive plant - good production

Detroit Beets - good so far

Big Mama Tomato - Surprisingly good - plant more next year

Goliath Tomato - Slow this year, but better than Early Goliath

Jalapeno - Thai Hot - Just plant two Thais next year and no Jalapeno

Cool Breeze Cucumber - Great production this year - will get over 30 quarts from two 3x3 beds.

Brussell Sprouts - good so far

Iceberg - Nevada - Red Sails - Simpson Elite - Olga - Green Ice - all lettuce has been great. Olga and Iceberg are bolting finally, the others are fine.

AUGUST 22: General Notes:

1. Cucumber plants, when first set out, need more protection from the wind and more shade than we have been giving them.

2. Neighbors are raising celery. Lady bugs are all over them. Next year plant celery in the central 'herb' bed.

3. Neighbors are using sunflowers as effective windbreak for corn. We need a wind break too. Paul knows where he can get some chain link for a fence.

4. Peppers-just-set-out need more wind break. Short tubes would do nicely.

5. Plant all cauliflower next near in tires.

6.We need to get more serious about using flowers to attract bees. We have not gotten the polination we should have gotten because of a lack of bees. We need to plant 'targets' as in former years. We need to mix the flowers and herbs effectively.

7. Paul wants us to move the Brussel Sprouts to tires too.

SEPTEMBER 9: More general notes:

8. Types of tomatoes differ in their tendencies toward blossom end rot. Some types just don't get it. Some are very suseptible. Those appear to be : Paste Tomatoes, Plum Tomatoes, Cluster Tomatoes.

The 'cause' of blossom end rot is generally thought to be lack of calcium. This appears to be true. Bone meal mixed into the soil is a good treatment. But there may be another cause: wind. When leaves expire water at a very rapid rate they demand from the roots an extraordinary amount of water. Even well and evenly watered plants can then develop blossom end rot because all the water is going to the leaves and none is going to the fruit. These plants probably need bone meal and better protection from the wind.

The reason why the wind factor is overlooked by experts is that they do not experience the wind that we have here in Wyoming.

We are going to protect our tomatoes better next year from the ravages of wind.

9. Next year we will need to start extra corn and all bean plants.

SEPTEMBER 23:

First frost was September 22. We had all the tender fruit harvested and taken in. We will get a bit more production out of broccoli, lettuce and carrots. Potatoes are dug. We dug some onions that were not showing on the surface and ran into some really big ones. We may need to plant deeper in the future to get bigger onions.

October 1:

10. We conclude that while most tomatoes respond well to trimming, some do not. Paste, Plum, Cluster, and Cherry tomatoes should not be trimmed.

11. We discover, from reading, that there is a propper way to grow Brussel Sprouts (We have been doing it the wrong way.). Leaves should be left on the plant until sprouts bud at the base of the plant. Then leaves should be removed from the bottom of the plant to the top as the buds arrrive. Pinch out the growing point at the top of the stem to speed development of all the buds. Do this about September 1 - 15. Brussel Sprouts should only be picked after the first heavy frost.

The 2002 temperatures:

Below is are charts that show the daily highs and lows for the 2002 gardening season in Casper, Wyoming. Please note that the Last Average Day of Frost in Casper is May 25, and that we hit it exactly. Please also note that most plants don't actually grow until evening teperatures rise above 50 degrees Farenheit. What the charts show is that from June 9 through June 15 we underwent a cold spell. Evening temperatures did not rise above 50 degrees until June 21. We did most of our reseeding around June 26. The first hard frost was September 22.

Degree Days are the number of average temperature degrees above 50 degrees each day, and they add as the season progresses. For instance, May 26 had an average temperature of 60 degrees, so that day's degrees are 10 (60-50=10). May 27 had an average temperature of 60.5 degrees. Its ten degrees are added to the previous total (10) to arrive at 20 degrees. I have given a starting point of May 26, the day after the last average day of frost.

DAY May
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
June
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
HIGH
57
70
75
78
81
77
85
86
81
84
61
67
78
83
71
85
75
LOW
33
30
45
43
40
50
49
45
48
50
49
44
44
52
48
54
40
Degree Days
10
20
31
44
61
77
91
108
123
128
139
157
167
186
193

DAY June
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
HIGH
69
73
74
69
81
81
86
91
84
76
85
88
85
88
90
93
93
92
LOW
39
36
36
41
34
42
47
48
48
48
46
50
59
59
51
50
53
55
Degree Days
197
202
207
212
219
231
247
267
283
295
310
329
351
374
395
417
420
444

DAY June
28
29
30
July
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
HIGH
95
98
97
96
91
93
93
94
88
90
97
84
82
89
97
97
99
LOW
61
66
50
56
53
56
58
61
54
57
59
58
49
50
51
53
53
Degree Days
472
504
528
554
576
601
627
656
678
702
730
751
766
786
810
835
861

DAY July
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
HIGH
98
96
89
92
91
89
84
84
88
96
71
83
88
84
91
94
97
LOW
56
57
64
60
62
61
58
56
55
53
60
56
51
53
53
52
61
Degree Days
888
914
941
967
993
1018
1039
1059
1081
1106
1121
1140
1160
1178
1200
1223
1252

DAY August
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
HIGH
78
90
84
88
85
89
87
84
76
86
90
83
77
LOW
51
46
59
56
63
68
66
52
45
40
49
52
38
Degree Days
1267
1285
1306
1328
1352
1376
1403
1421
1431
1447
1467
1485
1492

DAY August
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
HIGH
91
89
95
92
79
86
88
82
83
85
80
88
88
LOW
47
48
50
46
42
37
60
55
46
46
52
42
48
Degree Days
1511
1530
1552
1571
1581
1592
1616
1635
1650
1666
1682
1697
1715

DAY August
27
28
29
30
31
September
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
HIGH
71
79
74
85
88
87
81
90
89
91
85
76
LOW
49
47
55
54
52
48
50
44
63
56
50
50
Degree Days
1725
1738
1753
1772
1792
1809
1825
1842
1868
1891
1909
1922

DAY September
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
HIGH
71
69
73
74
61
73
80
85
83
73
55
66
73
54
68
LOW
68
52
39
48
53
45
39
40
50
50
45
39
47
38
29
Degree Days
1943
1954
1960
1971
1978
1987
1997
2009
2025
2037
2037
2040
2050
2048
2047

How to use Degree Days:

Some seed catalogs now give you degree day information. Let us say that you are going to plant corn and you are given the degree days for that variety of 1800. Let's say, further that instead of planting your corn on May 26, you are going to wait until June 1. The degree days for June 1, 2002 were 91. Add that 91 to your given 1800 and you will get 1891. Look at the charts above for 1891 and you will see that you could have expected to pick your corn about September 5. Of course the year 2003 or years beyond may not conform exactly to 2002. Future years may be warmer or colder. But these charts should be able to give you a close approximation for climates similar to Casper, Wyoming.

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