Spring Success, Summer Failure

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8 Responses

  1. Steve E says:

    I thought I was the only one having problems in my garden with the bad weather this summer.

  2. daisy says:

    Emily-Your plants are looking great overall. It’s been a difficult summer for a lot of gardeners.

    Your onions look amazing!!!

    Suzanne-I garden in Florida. Many people here place black plastic over the garden bed for 6 weeks to take care of the nematode problem. Then, when you’re ready to plant at the end of August/beginning of September, you should be good to go!

  3. Emily says:

    Babs–great to hear your update! The tomato ripening problem is not new–some advice I’ve had is to reduce watering to once a week. I’ve just started this, and we’ll see how it goes!

  4. Babs Wood says:

    Hi Emily: I have followed your site since early spring and have learned a lot from you, thanks. We also had a long and cool spring. We had a fairly good garden considering it’s our first. In it we tried almost everything and are happy with what we grew. However, there is some concern about the tomatoes. We have a good amount of them but they are not turning color! Our temperatures are finally in the low 90 degrees but we have not had any triple digits so the nights are not warm. Just wanted to share. Babs from Southern Oregon.

  5. Emily says:

    Suzanne–I found this document about nematodes in case it might be helpful. I don’t think a barrier would be sufficient–only because I had two layers of weed mat in my garden and still have TONS of earthworms. I know nematodes are a different type of “worm,” but I imagine they could work their way through a simple barrier. The article says container gardening is a solution–so putting a bottom on it and raising it up would probably work. The other thing that sounded promising is soil solarization–putting clear plastic over your garden beds in the heat of the summer for several weeks, which “bakes” the nematodes and kills them.

    As for the wood, if everything rots or gets eaten . . . cedar is a great choice of natural wood that withstands a lot of challenges, but it is quite a bit more expensive. “They” say not to use pressure treated, but I’ve also read that today’s pressure treated wood is much safer than in the past. If you are going to use it, perhaps do put a barrier between it and the soil? I don’t know enough to say whether linseed oil is sufficient.

    The other way to think of it–if you use cheap wood and need to replace it often, maybe that’s the same price as investing in more expensive wood? Or you could consider vinyl?

  6. Emily says:

    I used sets (mini-dry onions) and starts (someone else started them from seed) and had good luck with both. Since you have such nice weather there, you might try seeds. I think it would be a neat experiment to do one square of each!

  7. Suzanne Laster says:

    Hi Emily,
    Your garden looks wonderful. I want to start a sq. ft. garden this fall in Florida. I’ve been searching the internet, unsuccessfully, trying to find the answer to a couple questions. Maybe you can help me decide the best approach. I want to avoid the nematode problem we have here. Do you think I should put a plywood bottom on the 4×4 frame and set it up on blocks to keep it off the ground or would a barrier of some sort be sufficient, such as plastic or landscape cloth? I can see that this method of gardening is expensive at first as it is necessary to purchase the soil, but I plan to use it for years to come, so I want to do it right the first time. Secondly, what about the wood to use? I will be using 2x10x4 ft. long boards, but what about type of wood? Everything here rots so quickly or termites eat it, so I should use pressure treated but I don’t want chemicals leaching into my food crops. YellaWood claims to be the least hazardous, but doesn’t say it is 100% safe. They do have a building plan for a raised garden on their website. I read on a blog from S. Africa to use 2 coats of linseed oil to preserve the wood, what do you think about that?
    Any input you may have would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you, Suzanne

  8. Liz says:

    Hey Emily! Love your garden and hearing about both your successes and failures. We all learn from it! Did you start your onions from seeds or from sets? I’m trying to figure out what the best option will be for me once things cool off around here (North FL). Thanks!!