Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Garden Experience - 2017

We had a relatively successful experience with our garden this year.  The following shows 1) what we planted, 2) whether it was first planted in a greenhouse, 3) date it was first planted (unless perennial), 4) days to harvest (based on packet info), 5) estimated date it would be harvested (based on DtoH), 6) actual date it was first harvested, and 7) score (0 = no harvest, 1-9 = poor to excellent, based on a composite of yield. flavor, disease resistance, etc., but mostly yield).  The score could be partly a reflection of the type of weather we had this year (relatively wet), location within garden (shade and soil quality differences), and other variables.

Crop sorted alphabetically GH Plant DToH EstHarv ActualHarv Score
Apple tree No Perenn N/A 15-Jul xxx 0
Asparagus No Perenn N/A 1-Apr 3-Apr 8
Beets 'Red Ace' No 21-Mar 50 10-May 9-Jun 8
Blueberries “Pink' No Perenn N/A 1-Jul xxx 0
Blueberries 'Sunshine Blue' No Perenn N/A 1-Jul 5-Jul 2
Broccoli 'Green Magic' No 22-Mar 57 18-May 16-Jun 7
Bush Beans 'Blue Lake Bush 274' No 8-May 70 17-Jul 28-Jun 9
Cabbage 'Capture F1' No 22-Mar 87 17-Jun 15-Jul 2
Cabbage 'Stonehead' No 6-Mar 67 12-May 12-Jun 7
Cantaloupe 'Sarah's Choice'' Yes 18-Mar 76 2-Jun 13-Jul 2
Carrots 'Nantes' No 21-Mar 70 30-May 18-Jun 4
Cauliflower 'Snow Crown' No 22-Mar 60 21-May 13-Jul 1
Cherry tree No Perenn N/A 15-Jul xxx 0
Corn1 'Early Sunglow Hybrid' Yes 10-Apr 63 12-Jun 28-Jun 7
Corn2 'Xtra-Tender 20173' No 28-Apr 73 10-Jul 14-Jul 9
Corn3 'Hawaiian Supersweet #9' No 10-May 83 1-Aug 11-Aug 6
Cowpeas (not purple hull) No 25-May 80 13-Aug 18-Sep 3
Cucumber 'Dasher II' Yes 18-Mar 58 15-May 9-Jun 2
Lettuce -- blend (stayed in GH) GH 18-Jan 60 19-Mar 20-Mar 8
Mesclun (spicy mix, sweet mix) GH 18-Jan 45 4-Mar 10-Mar 8
Onions, green generic No 21-Mar 60 20-May 13-May 8
Onions, sweet 'Candy' No 21-Mar 110 9-Jul 7-Jul 7
Peach tree No Perenn N/A 15-Jul 9-Jul 7
Pear tree 'Bartlett' No Perenn N/A 15-Jul xxx 0
Peas, edible pod 'Dwarf Sugar' No 21-Mar 60 20-May 13-May 4
Peas, edible pod 'Snowbird' No 21-Mar 58 18-May 20-May 8
Peppers, baby bell 'Bellafina' Yes 18-Mar 80 6-Jun 28-Jul 5
Plum tree No Perenn N/A 15-Jul 27-Jun 2
Potato 'Kennebec' No 24-Mar 90 22-Jun 1-Jul 8
Pumpkin Yes 2-Apr 110 21-Jul 21-Jul 3
Radishes 'Sparkler' No 21-Mar 25 15-Apr 24-Apr 8
Raspberries No Perenn N/A 1-Jun 1-Jun 9
Rhubarb (Victoria) No Perenn N/A 9-Jun 16-Jun 4
Soybeans, 'Tohya' No 19-Jun 78 5-Sep 11-Aug 5
Spinach 'Palco Hybrid' GH 18-Mar 50 7-May 5-May 6
Squash 'Straightneck' Yes 18-Mar 50 7-May 18-May 8
Squash 'Waltham Butternut' Yes 2-Apr 105 16-Jul 29-Jul 3
Strawberries No Perenn N/A 1-May 1-May 5
Sweet Potato 'Evangeline' No 20-Apr 120 18-Aug 1-Nov 9
Tomato 'Beefmaster' Yes 18-Mar 77 3-Jun 28-Jun 6
Tomato 'Better Boy' Yes 24-Apr 70 15-Jun 1-Jul 6
Tomato 'Pink Ponderosa' Yes 18-Mar 77 3-Jun 6-Jul 5
Tomato 'Rutgers' Yes 8-Mar 70 17-May 17-Jun 6
Tomato, cherry type Yes 18-Mar 77 3-Jun 9-Jun 8
Tomato, hybrid 'BHN 589' Yes 18-Mar 75 1-Jun 15-Jul 7
Tomato, roma 'Speckled Roman' Yes 18-Mar 85 11-Jun 9-Jul 4
Watermelon 'Sugar Baby' Yes 2-Apr 80 21-Jun 1-Aug 4
Zucchini Yes 20-Apr 45 4-Jun 26-Jun 2

We have observed that some crops can be poor one year and excellent the next, vice versa.  For example, we planted our beets in a 2" wide, 6" deep trench of worm dirt this year (made by digging with a pick), and they did great; previous years, they have been a near complete failure.  Second example, the last two years, our plum tree was loaded with plums; this year hardly any.  Third example, all previous years, cucumbers had done quite well; this year, planted in a newly installed soil, the same variety hardly produced anything, and died prematurely.

Looking at the comparison of estimated vs actual harvest dates, I noticed that crops planted extra early, especially those first planted in the greenhouse then transplanted to the field, tended to reach harvest considerably later than expected.  Whereas crops planted late, came in more quickly than expected, most notably the bush beans and soybeans.  The two anomalies, to me, were the cowpeas and the peppers (Bella Fina type).  Both remained vegetative longer than expected before reaching the flowering stage, and I'm not sure why.  I honestly don't believe it is because of excessive nitrogen application, which can always be a culprit.  My guess is that it may be a daylength response.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Typical day and week in the life of Thomas Tew

Here’s a picture of my typical day.

1:00 – 2:00 AM                 Wake up and have breakfast (Cereal, egg w/cheese, greens, tea)
2:00 – 4:00 AM                 Go online (Emails, Facebook, weather, sports, etc.)
4:00 – 5:00 AM                 Try to sleep for an hour
5:00 – 5:15 AM                 Exercise on the elliptical while listening to something inspirational            
5:15 – 5:30 AM                 Meditation/prayer on the porch as it becomes light outside                 
5:30 – 6:00 AM                 Go fishing at Grundy Lakes State Park 5 min away
6:00 – 7:00 AM                 Work for an hour in the garden area
7:00 – 8:00 AM                 Go to Grant Miller’s home (power walk, look at expt grasses on plastic)
8:00 – 11:00 AM               Let the morning unfold (personal, community, and/or church projects)
11:00 – 11:05 AM            Slim Fast for lunch
11:05 – 5:30 PM               Let the afternoon unfold
5:30 – 6:00 PM                Watch national news on TV (ABC, CBS, NBC: Trump bash, other news)
6:00 – 7:00 PM                Wheel of Fortune followed by Jeopardy while eating dinner
7:00 – 8:30 PM                 Go online, write in scheduler/diary, make phone calls (usually church)
8:30 – 1:00 AM                Sleep (cannot sleep more than 4 ½ hours straight)

Here’s a picture of the commitments I have during the week

Sunday                                 Arrive at Chapel at 7:45 AM (make copies of program, clean chapel, etc)
                                             Branch Pres Mtg at 8:00; Branch Council Mtg at 8:30; 3 hr block 10 – 1
                                             Settings apart, meetings w/families, individuals, etc. from 1 to whenever
                                             Go home and eat; visit families w/EQ Prez, HP Group Ldr, or Judy
Monday                               Attend Family Village Forum (VFF) at someone’s home in the Village
                                             On 2nd Mon, attend Elk Valley Beekeepers Meeting, enjoy potluck
Tuesday                               Open
Wednesday                          Arrive at Chapel at 5:00 PM (Judy:seminary at 5:30; I attend YM/YW
                                            opening exercises at 6:30, then let the evening unfold (interviews, etc)
Thursday                             On 2nd 3rd and 5th Thursdays, go to Nashville Temple w/Judy Tew and                                                 George Miller (both temple workers); as a volunteer, I generally man
                                            the front desk on one shift. Leave home at 2:30; return by 11:45 PM
                                            On 1st and 4th Thursdays, go out with our full-time missionaries
Fri – Sat                              Village project one of the two mornings; otherwise open

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Getting to know the native trees, bushes, and vines of the South Cumberland Region

Lately, I have taken a keen interest in the trees, bushes and vines that make up the larger flora of the South Cumberland Region.  I found a Virginia Tech University website that has been most helpful in the process.  It contains Dendrology Factsheets, one tree, bush, or vine species per page.  Dendrology is defined as the scientific study of trees.  The species are arranged by family, then genus.  Since each tree they described, has a map of the area it naturally occurs, I could hone in on only those species that naturally occur in the South Cumberland region of Tennessee.  When I did this, nearly 100 species remained  I list only those species, and have kept them arranged by family, then  by genus, and finally by species.  There is a Fact Sheet for each species.  I am now in the process of identifying every tree, bush, and vine on our 1.4-acre property, using these Fact Sheets.  Surrounding our garden are trees, and trees create shade.  Though surrounded by trees, the garden area is open enough so that every plant in the garden receives at least a half day of full sunshine, at least on those days where is sun actually shining.  Lately, we have been getting a lot of rain, so some plants are starting to get a little bit etiolated.

So here is the list, again by family, then by genus and species.  Frequency of their occurrence in the Southern Cumberland region and occurrence on our 1.4-acre property are noted, where A = abundant; B = Common, C = Occasional, D = rare, I = introduced, and "-" = either never seen or haven't recognized it for what it is:

Family Virginia Tech Factsheet Common name Cumberland Home
Aceraceae Acer negundo Boxelder D -
Aceraceae Acer rubrum Maple, Red A A
Aceraceae Acer saccharinum Maple, Silver C -
Aceraceae Acer saccharum Maple, Sugar B -
Anacardiaceae Toxicodendron pubescens Oak, Poison A A
Annonaceae Asimina triloba Pawpaw D -
Araliaceae Aralia spinosa Devil's Walking Stick D -
Aristolochiaceae Aristolochia macrophylla Dutchman's Pipe D -
Asteraceae Baccharis halimifolia Baccharis, Eastern D -
Berberidaceae Berberis canadensis Barberry, American D -
Betulaceae  Alnus serrulata Alder, Hazel C -
Betulaceae  Betula alleghaniensis Birch, Yellow C -
Betulaceae  Betula lenta Birch, Sweet B B
Betulaceae  Betula nigra Birch, River D -
Betulaceae  Carpinus caroliniana Hornbeam D -
Bignoniaceae Bignonia capreolata Crossvine D -
Bignoniaceae Campsis radicans Trumpet creeper D -
Calycanthaceae Calycanthus floridus Sweetshrub, Common D -
Celastraceae Celastrus scandens Bittersweet, American D -
Cornaceae Cornus florida Dogwood, Flowering B B
Cornaceae Nyssa sylvatica Blackgum (Black tupelo) A -
Cupressaceae Juniperus virginiana Redcedar, Eastern C -
Ebenaceae Diospyros virginiana Persimmon, Common B B
Ericaceae Kalmia latifolia Laurel, Mountain B -
Ericaceae Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood B A
Fabaceae Amorpha fruticosa Desert false indigo C -
Fabaceae Cercis canadensis Redbud, Eastern B I
Fabaceae Gleditsia aquatica Locust, Water D -
Fabaceae Gleditsia triacanthos Locust, Honey C -
Fabaceae Robinia pseudoacacia Locust, Black C -
Fagaceae Castanea dentada Chestnut, American D -
Fagaceae Fagus grandifolia Beech, American B B
Fagaceae Quercus alba Oak, White A A
Fagaceae Quercus coccinea Oak, Scarlet D -
Fagaceae Quercus falcata Oak, Southern Red B B
Fagaceae Quercus macrocarpa Oak, Bur D -
Fagaceae Quercus marilandica Oak, Blackjack D -
Fagaceae Quercus montana Oak, Chestnut A B
Fagaceae Quercus muehlenbergii Oak, Chinkapin D -
Fagaceae Quercus nigra Oak, Water B -
Fagaceae Quercus phellos Oak, Willow B -
Fagaceae Quercus rubra Oak, Northern Red C -
Fagaceae Quercus stellata Oak, Post B C
Fagaceae Quercus veluntina Oak, Black C D
Hamamelidaceae Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum B -
Hippocastanaceae Aesculus flava Buckeye, Yellow D -
Hippocastanaceae Aesculus glabra Buckeye, Ohio D -
Hippocastanaceae Aesculus hippocastanum Horsechestnut D -
Hippocastanaceae Aesculus pavia Buckeye, Red D -
Hippocastanaceae Ulmus americana Elm, American D -
Hydrangeaceae Decumaria barbara Hydrangea, Climing D -
Hydrangeaceae Hydrangea arborescens Hydrangea, Wild D -
Hydrangeaceae Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea, Oakleaf D -
Juglandaceae Carya cordimormis Hickory, Bitternut C -
Juglandaceae Carya glabra Hickory, Pignut B C
Juglandaceae Carya illinoinensis Pecan I -
Juglandaceae Carya laciniosa Hickory, Shellbark C -
Juglandaceae Carya ovata Hickory, Shagbark C -
Juglandaceae Carya pallida Hickory, Sand D -
Juglandaceae Carya tomentosa Hickory, Mockernut B -
Juglandaceae Juglans cinerea Butternut D -
Juglandaceae Juglans nigra Walnut, Black C -
Lauraceae Sassafras albidum Sassafras A A
Magnoliaceae Liriodendron tulipifera Poplar, Tulip (also called Yellow Poplar) A A
Magnoliaceae Magnolia acuminata Cucumbertree D -
Moraceae Morus rubra Mulberry, Red C -
Oleaceae Chionanthus virginicus Fringetree D -
Oleaceae Fraxinus americana Ash, White B -
Oleaceae Fraxinus pennsylvanica Ash, Green C -
Oleaceae Fraxinus quadrangulata Ash, Blue C -
Pinaceae Pinus echinata Pine, Shortleaf B B
Pinaceae Pinus strobus Pine, Eastern White B -
Pinaceae Pinus taeda Pine, Loblolly I I
Pinaceae Pinus virginiana Pine, Virginia A A
Pinaceae Tsuga canadensis Hemlock, Eastern A -
Platanaceae Platanus occidentalis Sycamore, American B -
Rhamnaceae Berchemia scandens Supplejack (Alabama S.) D -
Rhamnaceae Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea D -
Rhamnaceae Frangula caroliniana Buckthorn, Carolina C  C
Rosaceae Amelanchier arborea Serviceberry, Downy D -
Rosaceae Amelanchier canadensis Serviceberry, Shadblow D -
Rosaceae Amelanchier laevis Serviceberry, Alleghany D -
Rosaceae Crataegus spp. Hawthorn C I
Rosaceae Photinia pyrifoli Chokeberry C -
Rosaceae Prunus serotina Cherry, Black C -
Rubiaceae Cephalanthus occidentalis Buttonbush D -
Salicaceae Populus deltoides Cottonwood, Eastern D -
Santalaceae Buckleya distichophylla  Piratebush D -
Thymelaeaceae Dirca palustris Leatherwood, Eastern D -
Tiliaceae Tilia americana Basswood, American C -
Ulmaceae Celtis laevigata var. laevigata Sugarberry D -
Ulmaceae Celtis occidentalis Hackberry D -
Ulmaceae Ulmus alata Elm, Winged D -
Ulmaceae Ulmus rubra Elm, Slippery D -
Verbenaceae Callicarpa americana Beautyberry, American D -
Vitaceae Vitis aestivalis Grape, Summer C C