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Old June 19, 2018   #31
PureHarvest
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Here's my new tunnel

5/9:

5-9-18 pano.JPG

5/26:

5-26-18 pano.JPG

5-26-18.jpg
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Old June 19, 2018   #32
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Oh my! That is absolutely fabulous! Looks like a biology cathedral!
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Old June 19, 2018   #33
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Thanks Salsa.
I need to get a current shot tonight. The cukes are up to the trusses now. That last shot is already 2 weeks old.
I have seedless water melons now too in the forefront that you cant see in those pics. Thats why so much space is blank to allow for the vines. Not the best use of the tunnel real estate, but I have everything else I wanted in there for this year. I am using this tunnel for personal food production, enjoyment, and experimenting.
I have already given away 30 cukes, and about 10 lbs of lettuce. I will have about 175 onions ready soon. I will be giving them away to anyone I see. Tomatoes should start breaking from green any minute now. I will probably have 20-30 lbs to give away off the first pick.
I have spent so many years learning and trying, and trying to grow to sell, that I lost sight of why it is was fun. And I was producing nothing for me and my family/friends/co-workers. So I decided to not use this tunnel for commercial tomato production like I intended when I signed up for the NRCS grant in 2016.
Still trying to find a crop to supplement my off-farm income, hence the cutflower trial this year. But I'm at the point where it has to come second to actually enjoying growing and having what I have going on across the span of the operation.
It has been really satisfying so far. I did my first tomato cross ever in here and hope to grow the F1 seeds out for a fall harvest to see how it tastes...

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 19, 2018 at 04:08 PM.
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Old June 19, 2018   #34
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I didn't see his garden. I was at a market. it was his word. he seemed very enthusiastic and sincere. his radishes tops had plenty of holes and I asked if he ever used floating row cover to keep them off and he said he was doing this debt free and hadn't bought any yet... that said... he was convincing that it worked. he does the back to eden method for his growing.
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Old June 21, 2018   #35
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Well, sunflowers are starting to show color.

IMG_1283.JPG

Dahlias are really growing, but it has been great (ugh) weather for the powdery mildew to thrive. Still not looking like a crisis, but I am now worried enough that I need to spray. Just not sure what I want to use.

I talked with a florist Monday that has 4 locations and does some wholesale. She has a grower that she's used for 15 years for sunflowers. But he only hits the 3 summer months. She buys 200 stems per week. I'm thinking I could use my tunnels and get her business in the shoulder seasons.
More importantly, she is interested in my dahlias. She said the sunflower guy does them too, but not as many colors as I am growing.
She was supposed to call me back with numbers, as she was kind enough to say she would tell me what she paid him and quantities.
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Old June 28, 2018   #36
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Here was the first Procut Orange Excel I cut on 6/21


6-21-18 Procut Orange Excell.JPG

Pro tip: even if the plant/flower is not wilting or nodding in the field, if the ground is dry, the flower head will bend/wilt a half day or so after you cut it and put it in water.
I cut about 10 a day after the one above and they looked unbelievable in the vase on our table. The next morning they were all nodded down. I recut and put in warm water with 3 teaspoons of sugar, but it was too late. They never bounced back.
I ran the drip tape a few times since and will try again today.

I sprayed the Dahlias last Saturday with Cleary's 3336 to get ahead of the powdery mildew. I hate spraying anything, let alone chemicals. This was a break from my normal standard of plant production. My reasoning was that it is not a crop I will eat and the parts that I will be handling eventually will not have been sprayed. I know that doesn't mean that I didn't introduce the material into the environment, but I sprayed each plant by hand, and they are on fabric and flanked by fabric and covered by a tunnel. hopefully that mitigates any movement, splashing, or run-off potential.
If I grow Dahlias next year, I will try to start earlier and get my compost tea brewing and try that weekly instead.

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 28, 2018 at 12:44 PM.
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Old June 28, 2018   #37
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Here are the Dahlias as of 2 days ago after putting the netting on.

IMG_1308.JPG

I got 30" plastic electric fence posts at Lowes for $1.90 each. Perfect size and cheap and they have little built in clips down to side to hold things like wire, string, or in my case, the line of the netting.
Unlike most electric fence step in posts that have a metal barb or pin on the bottom, these are solid plastic at the bottom that comes to a chisel point. So, there is more material below ground than would be with most step in posts.
They worked extremely well for this netting application.
When I checked on the crop today, about 25% of the stems are now through the netting, so good timing on getting it installed. I think I will have some flowers to cut next week, as many have fat round buds at the tips.
I now see about the disbudding. The main buds are fat little balls with a smaller bud off to the side. I popped them off. It occurred to me that maybe you could pop them off after you cut your stems and are removing leaves and bunching stems together.

The plants look like they need a boost, so I am going to fertigate tonight with Masterblend 4-18-38 that I have left over from a couple of years ago before I switched to the Hydro-Gardens 4-18-38 for tomatoes.
I will use 2 lbs of it in 3 gallons of water and put that through the drip with my mazzei siphon. This will deliver the equivalent of about 5 lbs of actual N per acre rate, plus give a shot of P, K, and all the microelements that are in this blend.

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 28, 2018 at 04:41 PM.
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Old June 28, 2018   #38
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Lovely tunnels PH, and great pix.

I didn't know about the dry soil effect o n flowers. When we pick for bouquets it's directly into a bucket of water, but our soil is probably not that dry either. Not doing markets this summer, I miss the bouquet fun.
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Old June 28, 2018   #39
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Your attention to detail is inspiring! Thanks for sharing it with us!
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Old June 29, 2018   #40
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Here's some shots from last night.
I don't see any new powdery mildew, so I think my spray from last Saturday was effective.

Dahlia 6-28-18 a.JPG

Dahlia 6-28-18 b.JPG

Dahlia 6-28-18 c.JPG

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 29, 2018 at 08:52 AM.
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Old June 29, 2018   #41
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I wanted to track time from transplant to first buds, then what will be first cuts.

So here is the time line so far:

5/10, Planting Day

5-10-18 Dahlia Install 1.jpg 5-10-18 Dahlia Install 2.jpg

6/7

6-7-18 karmas1.jpg 6-7-18 karmas3.jpg

6/25

Dahlias 6-25-18.JPG

6/28

Dahlia 6-28-18 a.JPG


So, we go from planting on May 10th to first buds on something like 10-20 percent of the plants on June 28th. So that is 49 days from transplant to first buds on Karma Dahlias (Bon Bini and Yin Yang are the 2 most budded right now). I think I did the pinch around 14 days after planting.
Bosgraaf says 49-63 days from planting to harvest (assuming you pinched at planting). Seems I am right on schedule.

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 29, 2018 at 09:57 AM.
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Old June 29, 2018   #42
Salsacharley
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Looking good! How are you going to get the plants out of the netting?
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Old June 29, 2018   #43
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The planting is for cut flowers, so the netting is there to support the blossoms.
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Old June 29, 2018   #44
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PH, good to see things are going well! If you grow again next year you mighi want to experiment with different plant spacing and methods of staking the plants. The netting is likely going to make cutting/harvesting more time-consuming than it needs to be. Is this the method of growing/spacing/staking your plant supplier recommended?

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Old June 29, 2018   #45
PureHarvest
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Spacing, yes.
Netting was my idea. I wondered about cutting stems with the netting being there.
Doing a single run of baler twine around the bed didn’t seem like it would do anything.
What do you do for spacing and support?
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