CC's Acidic High-Altitude High-UV Bone Dry Desolation Gardening Journal

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by CoturnixComplex, May 21, 2019.

  1. CoturnixComplex

    CoturnixComplex Crowing

    Nov 16, 2018
    So, I live pretty close to the aptly named Desolation Wilderness. The conifer forests that drop thick mats of acidic pine needles everywhere. The only natural groundcover is manzanita; you have to be in a floodplain for grass to ever grow. The ground underneath that is sand and rock. Sandy loam in a few spots if you're lucky but still wicked low pH. We have temperamental frosts and storms up to 8 months out of the year. Up to 15 feet of snow in the deep of winter (not so common anymore, though). The UV index is 10 in the summer. The humidity hovers at 10% then and just barely reaches a whopping 30% when the snow is actively melting mid-winter (we're weird that way, we melt and freeze and melt and freeze even at our coldest). Very little moisture fall through summer, when the hordes of local chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits start chewing through every rubber water line they can find. If a bear decides it likes the look of your berries under a cage, well. They're theirs now and they will wreck every plant and structure to get them.

    It's fun. It's good times. It's a little crazy-making trying to garden.

    We're having a minor but looooong May freezing storm and I'm having seasoned locals helpfully tell me never to plant until second week of june, ever. I knew I was risking it but hoped for a mild spring like last year (I don't think we had a frost after mid-april and barely any snow before then). Hooray for learning through errors!

    The Good
    • Brassicas, yay! Incl kohlrabi, collards (I had no idea these were as frost tolerant as they are, I always thought of them as a strictly southern thing, and am delighted), and red cabbage
    • Spinach for the win
    • Potatoes do great up here and this year 12/12 took off so no problems this year with planting one corner of the bin late and then having it never get enough sun
    • All the other root veggies (carrots, radishes, beets, onions, garlic - idk if that last one counts) are fine. Radishes maybe a little snow-burnt.
    • My asparagus has a teeny peeper stalk and I presume my little rhubarb crown is working it's magic in it's grow bag too.
    • My japanese maples and all dozen or so of my blue and bramble berries are doing fantastic, no surprise. The maples are one of the only ornamental tree you can
    • I'm finally having a love affair with my garden bed soil after spending several hundred dollars and hours to improve/replace it. It's full of local compost and vermiculite and it's beautiful and fluffy.
    • My big clover bed is sprouting :ya And nothing much has noticed it too badly yet. I am prepared to basically lose everything not immediately under the tractors, but we'll see.
    • I am finalizing plans for mega compost setup for quail and rabbit poop. Very exciting. I throw away an appalling amount at the moment because I haven't had a good, watershed-sensitive solution for it.
    The Bad
    • My tomato is dead
    • My basils are mostly dead
    • I can't keep "hardy" kiwi alive for anything, and my new goji seems to have gone the same way
    The Ugly
    • My tomatillos are...not dead? I thought I was down to one (a minor disaster as they are not self-fertile and you can't get starts around here) but a late seed popped up to keep it company. Now I have to decide whether keeping them together or separating them is more likely to kill them.
    • A chipmunk got under my cilantro cage and nibbled it to the root but it's still threatening to come back. It also got my artichoke and it's very ugly now but doing okay.
    • My zuchini is highly displeased
    • My swiss chard is being very lame for something that's supposed to be fine with frosts
    • Something grazed on my leeks after ignoring them for weeks
    • Why can I never make mint happy :hit
    • I have a bunch of other veggie seedlings but they are kind of a mixed-bag in terms of how they are doing. I have a tendency to keep them too moist and if they're indoors they get stem-wilt. I have been trying to put them outside during the day, water in the morning if already bone dry, let it dry off all day while they enjoy the sun, and then bring them inside after dark.

    This is mostly for me to vent and keep track of my plans, and maybe find other people with weird-climate problems. I am planning on editing in pictures of everything with my phone once I am not lazy.
    Acre4Me and FoodFreedomNow like this.
  2. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio
    Wow! Good luck! Always a learning curve when living in a new area. How long have you lived there...what year are you on with your property/garden?

    We are on summer 2 in this home, but have lived in OH for many years. We have raised beds, but cannot understand why the previous owner went to the trouble to build many raised beds, then place them in a low spot in the yard and fill them with clay soil. So much clay, I found enough large clumps of pure clay to have thrown a few pots on a wheel. This hopefully rings true for me this year or next year:

    Compost isn't ready yet, but have purchased some. Have added vermiculite and perlite, gypsum, and peat moss by the bagful. Exponentially more worms than last year, but as I only found 1 or 2 worms per bed last year, its not exactly teeming with them yet. The compost pile, however, is chock full of worms!

    Last year garden did only OK - some things did terrible. Hoping for better success this year!
    CoturnixComplex likes this.
  3. CoturnixComplex

    CoturnixComplex Crowing

    Nov 16, 2018
    Nice! Oh goodness, I lived right on the border for a bit and you guys sure do get some crazy weather too.

    I am jealous of your worms.

    It's been HAILING here today. :rant
    Acre4Me likes this.
  4. CoturnixComplex

    CoturnixComplex Crowing

    Nov 16, 2018
    Oh, and my family's actually owned this house since the 50's so I've always visited but we've only been the tenants since part time last year and full time this year :)
    Acre4Me likes this.

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