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Vegetable Gardening: Zones 8-9 Spr/Sum 2011 Veggie Gardening is UNDERWAY- Pt lI

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2011
9:51 AM

Post #8345061

Zones 8-9 Spr/Summer 2011 Veggie Gardening PART II continues! Post your growing goals, challenges and progress toward your 2011 Spring/Summer Veggie garden(s) here! We'll start a new thread at the end of this season for posting pics of our Veggie garden bounty!

We came from here!
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1147789/
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1126351/

HELPFUL LINKS:

SEED STARTER SUPPLIES
http://www.novoselenterprises.com/Default.asp

DD95172's PVC SEED STARTER TRAY
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1067922/

Calalily's Method for GERMINATING COLE CROP SEEDS IN THE FRIDGE
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8116028

Gardadore's Recipe for deterring WHITE CABBAGE MOTHS
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8104087

Qinx's Raised Bed - INTERLOCKING DESIGN/w Pre-Installed Hoop Pins
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1117901/

GARDENER'S SUPPLY KITCHEN GARDEN PLANNER - DESIGN TEMPLATE
http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners...

WINTER SOWING DISCUSSION LINKS FROM THE BEGINNING http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1072154/

Kelly's ZONE 9A WATERING SCHEDULE
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=7919560

Jim41's ZONE 8A PVC DRIP IRRIGATION WATERING SYSTEM
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=7920004

Godspeed & Good Harvest! ^^_^^

Linda


This message was edited Feb 8, 2011 10:17 AM

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2011
10:11 AM

Post #8345095

Seed Starting Update:

Last night I potted up 21 Bull's Heart tomato seedlings. I have about 10 additional Black Krims to pot up tonight. That'll be all of the tomatoes I sowed in January.

To date, I'm rotating the trays out every 12 hours, under fluorescent lights that are running 24/7, and watering the seedlings with a mix of 1/2 tsp. Epsom Salts + 1 tsp. MG Liquid (12-4-8) Plant Food per 10 cups of water.

►The Black Krims (first to be potted up) are looking fabulous!

►The Pruden's Purples (2nd potting up) and Cherokee Purples (3rd potting up) are trying to establish themselves and should look like the Krims by end of this week.

►The Momotoros started in the 4" pots were topped off with starter mix to their cotyledons, and are beefing up nicely.

►The Sioux are sitting there wondering, but since they are the most heat tolerant, I can plant them out last (closest to March 19th cutoff date) and expect to get a decent harvest.

►The Emerald Giant Bells have been up about 2 weeks and are greening up nicely. They are just putting out 1st set of true leaves, but I'm in no rush for them just yet, so they can take their time...

►The "Fooled You" Jalapenos are up about 1 week and are really taking their time!

►The Seed potatoes are sprouting nice and slowly, giving me time to pull out my 20-gallon SmartPots and retrieve the washing machine tubs (questionable vessels for this go-round...).

All-in-all, this has been a productive learning experience. Don't know if I'll do this many seedlings again -- probably depends on what I can recoup at the Farmer's Market. If I can break even on my light shelf/starter mix/trays/cups expenses, I might consider another season of large-scale (for ME) seed starting.

After all, I'm only growing 12 out of the ~150 tomatoes, and about 6 out of the ~30 Bell Peppers!

Hugs!
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

February 2, 2011
10:28 AM

Post #8345127

You guys should have some of our weather as just now the thermometer reads 81* and climbing. My tomatos may have a chance to produce more fruit.
Gymgirl -- What on earth are you going to do with all those veggies? You sure have learned a lot since we first met! Good for you...

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 2, 2011
10:40 AM

Post #8345150

Almost all of my tomatoes have sprouted. Still waiting on the peppers, but they took longer last year as well, if my memory serves me right.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2011
11:17 AM

Post #8345216

Steph,
My bells took almost 3 weeks last year. This year, 7 days!

I attribute it to watering the seeds in with warm water, putting the trays in plastic bags (vented on one end), and shoving them under the fluorescents before they cooled off. I stuck my hand in there once, and it was warm!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 2, 2011
11:18 AM

Post #8345220

I've moved my peppers to the lower shelf of the unit since the maters have sprouted. It's much warmer on the bottom shelf.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2011
11:49 AM

Post #8345288

I'm making some observations from the seed-starting operation this year, too:

►The 15-Cell Deep-Rooting System from Gardener's Supply and the 4" nursery pots outperformed my community flats of seedlings. Seedlings started in these two vessels grew faster & taller, and are beefing up faster than those in the community flats. All the seedlings were taken from their original growing vessels and were potted up to either 18 oz Red Solo cups or 16 oz. clear plastic cups.

►All the seedlings started in the 15-Cell DRS are very beefy and got true leaves faster.

►Seedlings started in the 4" nursery pots are lagging slightly behind the 15-Cell DRS seedlings, but not by much.

►Seedlings started in the community flats are lagging behind by about 1 to 1-1/2 week's worth of growth.

►One set of seedlings was left in the original 4" nursery pots. I simply added more starter mix and topped off the pots as they grew. These are shorter than the 15-cell DRS seedlings, but are beefing up at the same rate.

►Seedlings growing in the clear opaque plastic cups look greener than those growing in the red solo cups. I suspect it's because more light is penetrating all sides of the clear cups. The red solo cups only allow light from directly above the seedlings.

What I Would Do Differently, Next time:
►Set up the light shelves before sowing a single seed...
►Sow seeds into 4" nursery pots
►If absolutely have to use community flats, sow seeds very sparingly and spaced apart
►Use Clear Plastic cups vs. Red Solo Cups for potting up
►Stock up on clear plastic bags for germination
►Stock up on kitty litter trays at the $1 store ($1.29/per). While each tray holds only 12 plastic cups, they are much sturdier than regular flats. Can fit three trays end to end under a 2 ft. light



This has been a very good learning experience...

Gymgirl ^^_^^
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 2, 2011
1:52 PM

Post #8345521

Thanks for the tip on the ktty litter trays! I'm about to start potting up and just couldn't think of anything. Perfect!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
7:13 AM

Post #8346493

I'm an moving like a well-oiled machine! Got the lights rotation down so I don't have to keep raising and lowering so many lights every time (had to group all the same height seedlings together).

The Black Krims look like tiny trees! That's the goal!

Here's a picture of my Emerald Giant Bell Peppers. I snapped it this morning during the changeover. I thought it made a good photo statement.

Hugs!

This message was edited Feb 3, 2011 9:19 AM

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
7:19 AM

Post #8346504

One more view. Emerald Giant Bell Peppers.

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JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
10:39 AM

Post #8346814

Wow, nice job.

Well, I checked my WS'd tomatoes yesterday and they did *not* look happy. I think I made the mistake of leaving them (the 2-litres, milk jugs) on a bench on my deck. They were covered with some towels on all sides and with a blanket on top...oh man, just stupid.

I'm bailing out of work early before the rain/ sleet/ snow hits so I need to check on them and maybe move them into the garage. I moved them against the house and that provided them with more shelter to get by last night's cold temps. I hope they're ok or I will be buying tomato plants this spring...

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
10:57 AM

Post #8346847

John,
NOT stupid! I threw a blanket over mine last year, too. Now, what does *not* happy look like? These seedlings are more resilient than we give them credit for.

Just remember my 9-month cabbage that lived through the entire summer and refused to die!

What tomato seeds did you sow?
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
11:06 AM

Post #8346862

Keep in mind that they were perched atop a bench, so although I protected them on the sides and on top, there was nothing but freezing cold air blowing through all willy-nilly underneath the bench (it's sort of like a picnic bench.)

I hope you are right and the seedlings are resilient enough to overcome this blunder. I will know soon enough.

I had Roma's and Costoluto Geneovese sprouting in these containers.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
11:14 AM

Post #8346872

So, what they need is some bottom heat, to convince them it's still safe to come out and play.

Try to place them somewhere the bottoms will warm up and get the soil warm. And, once you sit them there, next time you water, use some just-warm-to-the-touch water (that wouldn't burn a baby's hand...). They need bottom heat...
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
11:20 AM

Post #8346887

Thanks for the advice- will do.

Anywone hear from Calalilly? It's supposed to get very cold even in her neck of the woods so I am curious to see how she manages. I think she can cover everything per her previous postings, if I am not mistaken.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
11:44 AM

Post #8346922

Okay, how far from the tops of my containers does the light need to be? Right now, it's almost touching the tops of the cups and I think that's too close.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
11:45 AM

Post #8346925

Well, crud! I posted to the wrong thread! LOL

How far from the tops of my containers does the light need to be? Right now, Mark's got them sitting almost on top of the cups and I think that's way too close for my liking.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
11:51 AM

Post #8346935

I've had mine anywhere from 1" to 2" from the tops... Long as the leaves aren't touching the bulb...

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
1:07 PM

Post #8347064

We're working on getting the second light up. Mark's cleaning it off right now. It was very dusty.

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terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
1:28 PM

Post #8347088

Wow, stephanietx, you have really nice handwriting. LOL, I have to use my label maker or I would never recognize what I had written at plant out! I have some seedlings right now for which I hand wrote the labels. Good thing I stored the original seed packets together in on ziplock bag. I had to check back when I got the label maker home to make good labels! I think I missed something, what is the plastic for?

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
1:30 PM

Post #8347091

We have a space heater at the bottom of the shelving unit. The plastic is to create a mini greenhouse and to direct the heat up to the shelves rather than out to the room. If it wasn't so dang cold, we wouldn't be using the heater, but with the cold weather this week, we decided to turn on the heater.
Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
4:31 PM

Post #8351986

[quote="Gymgirl"]►Stock up on kitty litter trays at the $1 store ($1.29/per). While each tray holds only 12 plastic cups, they are much sturdier than regular flats. Can fit three trays end to end under a 2 ft. light.
[/quote]

When you say "$1 store," do you mean Dollar Store or Dollar General or ??? Already looked at $1 Tree and not there.

Thanks,
G

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
4:46 PM

Post #8352017

We've got a huge "Nothing Over One Dollar" store here that has tons of plasticware, baskets, cheapie glassware, & household items.

Yesterday, I got the same trays for $1.09 each. Gotta remember that salesman!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2011
5:41 PM

Post #8352147

Ok. I was putzin' around the seedlings and have made another observation regarding the 4" nursery pots vs. the 2" 6-paks I used to sow bell pepper seeds. I took a picture that should show the difference between seeds sown the same day. All have received the same treatment, under the same conditions. Only difference is the size of the pots they were sown in.

Look at the size of the true leaves on the seedlings in the 4" pots vs. the seedlings in the 6-paks. And those are the largest of the 6-pak seedlings!

Next go 'round, I'll only sow seeds in 4" nursery pots or the 15-cell deep rooting system.

This message was edited Feb 3, 2011 8:03 PM

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stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 3, 2011
8:02 PM

Post #8352406

Note: Do not use any fish type amendments in your water when watering your seedlings if you have cats.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 4, 2011
6:18 AM

Post #8352758

I watered with the warm water and a bit of liquid seaweed last night. This morning, my first 2 bell peppers have popped through!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 4, 2011
10:42 AM

Post #8353379

Steph,
You rock! Here's a couple other tips/observations. During the daytime, I turn the heat down to 55, and the grow rooms get cool. In the evenings/night I turn the heat up to 78, so it's warmer. Even though it's in reverse, the seedlings are growing in simulated outside day/night conditions. Bright & warm, then cool & dark.

Since I stopped adding light kits (may add only one more shelf next season), I have to run the lights day & night and rotate the trays. When they're rotated out of the light, I block as much light to the trays as I can to simulate night for them.

I've also observed they seem to do their growing at "night" in the cool-dark, 'cause I keep having to raise the lights in their "morning," when they go back under the lights.

Hope this helps.

Linda

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 4, 2011
11:27 AM

Post #8353441

When it warms up some, Mark's going to venture into the garage and/or shed and see if he can find the other set of shelving supports. That way I can have one area for sprouting and then a second area for lights, or just have enough space for 2 sections of lights.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 5, 2011
10:20 AM

Post #8355409

I think I'm the only one posting to this thread, but many of my peppers are starting to come up. I think it was the warm water/liquid seaweed mixture I used on them the other night.

This is so exciting!!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 5, 2011
11:07 AM

Post #8355469

Steph,
You're not alone! Just waiting for the other Zone 8a-9a veggie grower to get in gear and start posting.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 6, 2011
8:11 PM

Post #8358177

Update on the tomatoes. Tiny trees!

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Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 7, 2011
3:47 AM

Post #8358409

Linda and Stephanie, I'm here too !! This is my first experience with this. FINALLY got my first 3 flats planted last night. 18 tomatoes and 48 misc flowers. I'm using the PVC lightstand and mini greenhouse kits.

Question about temp for germination: What temperature range is necessary? We turn the heat down to about 60 at night. Last night I covered the top section that the flats are on with a sheet and the temp was 78 when I uncovered this morning. Will need to monitor it closely today to see what I need to adjust.

DH and I built one of these lightstands for our neighbor lady about a month ago and she has had fantastic results. She uses her oven light for germination. Then moves them to the lightstand. She is having so much fun with it, I think she will have enough veggie plants for everyone in town!! But I have to actually use my oven for baking and so trying to keep the temp regulated on my lightstand.

Glenna

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dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 7, 2011
6:50 AM

Post #8358778

Stephanie,

I'm following this thread, too. : )

Glenna, the night time temps of 60 are actually good for your tomatoes once they have germinated and are potted up. Until then, the 78-degree temp would be pretty good. I use a heat mat set for just over 80 degrees for my germination. Seems to work pretty well for tomatoes and peppers!

Here is a photo of the first batch of tomato babies. I have them in "disposable" 3.5-inch pots that I bought last year. They are about the same weight as the heavy-duty solo cups, but are much easier to arrange in trays. I can't find the receipt, but they weren't expensive. They are easy to store and wash for reuse, too.

David

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terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 7, 2011
7:26 AM

Post #8358853

I'm lurking. I haven't gotten much going yeat and that turned out to be a good think as we lost power at home on Friday. We managed, but I'm glad I only have two flats of tomato seedling to take care of. Now the weather should slowly be turning to the spring/summer side, so I'll be starting more. Did manage to get a few hollyhock seed planted for WS'in. And now that we have power I'll be setting up some light for the starts. I've got a lot more tomatoes to go, peppers, and eggplants. I did get some homemade seed mats made up with lettuce. It just dawned on me that I could do cabbage too! Duh!!! Some busy nights to come =)!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 7, 2011
9:02 AM

Post #8359068

Thanks for keeping the thread alive!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 7, 2011
7:20 PM

Post #8360101

Gnats!! How do I get rid of them?

Also, in the cups that have more than one seedling, should I remove it and place it in its own cup or just yank and pull? Decisions, decisions, decisions!!
dmtom
Deep South, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 7, 2011
7:42 PM

Post #8360128

You should cut the unwanted sprouts. Pulling them out may disturb the roots of the one you want to keep.

There are several recipes for bug spray. Most start with a mild soapy water. I've recently added alcohol to my soapy water with good results, but have not tried alcohol on sprouts.

I assume you mean indoors and may have white flies. I've read where white flies are attracted to yellow and making traps by coating yellow plasic tape with vegetable oil. I haven't tried this yet.

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 7, 2011
8:13 PM

Post #8360176

Stephanie, for tomato seedlings I often separate and have that many more plants. If you use the seed starting methods recommended on the tomato forum (I don't follow them exactly) then you MUST uproot the seedlings when you replant. I modify the technique--I use peat pellets instead of a larger container of seed starting mix. When I have two seedlings in one pellet I let them get established, then slice the pellet between the seedlings and pot each one separately. It works for me even if the seedlings are very close together.

David

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 7, 2011
8:36 PM

Post #8360204

Steph,
Since dmtom has advised you to cut the unwanted sprouts since you might "dIsturb the roots of the one you want to keep," I should not tell you that, out of the 212 tomato seedlings I started, the 208 that look like they will make it were multiples that I separated out of the community flats and starter cells/pots they germinated in. Only about 10 pots had a single seed to germinate. The remaining pots and cells had at least two seedlings each to germinate, and many had 3 or 4 in each. The two flats yielded approximately 45-55 seedlings each.

It was tedious to tease the roots apart, but I was committed to the process. The 4 seedlings that didn't make it were the absolute scrawniest runts that tried my last ounce of patience at the end of those marathon potting up sessions -- and they just got tossed 'cause I calculated they wouldn't grow fast enough to catch up.

No roots were damaged in the making of my veggie tales movie, "If You're Careful, They Will Grow".

Linda, who is saluting the 208 seedlings that were determined to live. ^^_^^

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Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 8, 2011
4:14 AM

Post #8360353

[quote="dreaves"]
Glenna, the night time temps of 60 are actually good for your tomatoes once they have germinated and are potted up. Until then, the 78-degree temp would be pretty good. I use a heat mat set for just over 80 degrees for my germination. Seems to work pretty well for tomatoes and peppers![/quote]

I'm hoping using the fluorescent shoplights for heat will work okay. I don't want to invest in a heat mat this year. When I got up this morning, it was 80 on the shelf of lightstand I've covered with plastic tablecloth to retain heat for germination. The only heat is from the two 2-tube 4' shoplight fixtures. When the central HVAC is on, it starts fluctuating up to 84, so I uncovered part of it.

[quote="dreaves"]
Here is a photo of the first batch of tomato babies. I have them in "disposable" 3.5-inch pots that I bought last year. They are about the same weight as the heavy-duty solo cups, but are much easier to arrange in trays. I can't find the receipt, but they weren't expensive. They are easy to store and wash for reuse, too.[/quote]

Beautiful plants. I got the disposable perforated pots for $1 each from Novoselenterprises.com. That was for the 18 cell and 24 cell type. Can't remember if that was on sale or regular price.

Glenna



dmtom
Deep South, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 8, 2011
6:58 AM

Post #8360575

My hat's off to those that can separate seedlings. If I get 12 tomatoe plants I will be happy.
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 8, 2011
9:02 AM

Post #8360796

Jumping in here, with my progress report -- or lack thereof!

I started a new job, first time I've worked full-time in 25 years, so I'm a little time-challenged (read "disorganized!"). Anyway, when cold weather hit, I neglected to take care of all of my new little seedlings. I managed to bring in several, but not all --and it just got too cold in my diy "greenhouse" (shelves with shower curtain, lol).

Oh well, I will regroup! I plan to fill up those outdoor shelves again, plus hubby put up a couple of shelves in our sunniest window, which is where the tomatoes that I did bring inside are now basking. I know light through window glass isn't the best, but they're doing pretty well, considering. They're in Solo cups, half-filled with seed-starter mix, and I'll be adding more into the cup.

A question on that, though -- I don't think seed-starter mix has much (or anything) in the way of fertilizer. Should I keep topping up with that, but add liquid fertilizer (fish or seaweed, I can't remember which one I have) at half-strength or maybe quarter-strength dillution?) to the tray water? OR, should I add a little dry fertilizer in with the seed starter instead? (I have that Ospoma or whatever it is called). OR can I top up with MG bedding soil -- it has fertilizer in it, but I would need to lighten it up some -- I have vermiculite/perlite I could add. I also have peat but I think there's already peat in it.

Any thoughts? Also, I'm a little foggy on how much water to keep in the tray. I've got about 3/4" in there, using 16 oz cups.


This message was edited Feb 8, 2011 11:03 AM

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 8, 2011
9:36 AM

Post #8360847

LiseP,
I topped my cups with seed starter mix. Once mine got their true leaves, I started adding a level plastic spoon (from a plastic utensil packet) of Epsom Salts to the water, to give them a 'lil something, but not too much, too soon.

After they got their 2nd true leaves and looked like they were either about to stall or take off, in addition to the EP I started adding one spoon (plastic spoon) of MG Liquid Plant food to the water and it barely colors the water -- (I have a 10-cup pitcher that I use to mix up this formula).

I know others have mentioned they've been leaving a thin film of water standing in the trays for their seedlings, but I didn't feel comfortable enough that damping off and root rot wouldn't set in, so I only pour enough water in the trays for them to drink up, and, once the soil at the top of the cups is moist, I either pour the excess from the trays or use a clean towel to wick it out (lots of trays, and balancing isn't too easy).

HoneybeeNC posted that a turkey baster is great for watering wee seedlings without disturbing the soil OR getting the leaves wet (I hear it's not a good thing to have wet leaves under fluorescent lights...), so I've pressed the baster into service, and it's worked great!

I've had my seedlings on a 12-hour rotation under the fluorescents but, as of today, I'm putting them on a 24-hour schedule because I got up this morning and just didn't feel like changing out the trays on four shelves, so they'll get changed out tonight...also, they're growing so fast, I think they probably need the extra light at this point.

I'll start hardening them off on February 14th, and then they'll go off into the real world...

Hope this helps!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 8, 2011
10:25 AM

Post #8360925

Hey Lise, I'll be in San Antonio next week visiting family. I can bring you some seedlings! LOL

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 8, 2011
10:36 AM

Post #8360944

How would you package tomato seedlings for mail delivery? This is a real question...thanks!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 9, 2011
8:28 AM

Post #8362449

TOMATO PLANT UPDATE:

Not sure moving to a 24-hour rotation is the best thing. I found that, while the plants got fatter, they had also GROWN significantly. This is not good, because I'm trying to hold them back until I get set up for the Farmer's Market sale in two weeks. They won't let you sell seedlings taller than 12", and mine grew a full 1/2" in that period...

And, I can't say it was "just my 'magination," cause there was space between the tops and the lights when I rotated in, and the tops were IN the lights when I rotated out!

This message was edited Feb 9, 2011 10:29 AM

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HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 9, 2011
8:56 AM

Post #8362517

Stephanie [quote]Gnats!! How do I get rid of them?[/quote]

Since switching from peat based to coir based potting mix, I've not seen a single gnat.

Linda- I can understand your hesitance of leaving a thin film of water in your trays. I have found that as long as there is plenty of perlite in the mix, this is not a problem.

HB - in "Lurking" status 'cause I don't know nothing about growing veggies in Texas!

dmtom
Deep South, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 9, 2011
9:32 AM

Post #8362595

I'll join you. Same reason plus I use dirt and my nursery is a mesquite tree.

Later

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 9, 2011
10:34 AM

Post #8362701

Linda, plant them in deeper containers and bury the stems so they don't appear to be more than 12" tall! LOL

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 9, 2011
11:55 AM

Post #8362837

You know what, Steph? I actually thought about doing just that! But, there's no way I'm gonna mess with this batch of tomatoes and more dirt! I've done it twice already for 208 seedlings! (once to pot up halfway after the 2nd true leaves, and once to top off the 18 oz. Solo cups).

Actually, I pulled out my trusty ruler, and I think the great majority my tomato plants are averaging around 7-1/2" to 8" tall right now. That gives me some room to grow, hopefully!

Hastur
Houston, TX

February 9, 2011
1:56 PM

Post #8363004

Gymgirl, when is the FM that you will be bringing your plants to? Is it the one off of Kirby on the 26th?

Everyone that can actually start seeds from scratch like you did is aces to me. I have absolutely no room inside, and thus cannot even begin to start plants like you did. Color me jealous.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
6:19 AM

Post #8364051

Jeez it was 14* here this AM I cant imagine taking plants anywhere! Good Luck

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
6:33 AM

Post #8364084

Our low was 15 in my neighborhood. That's just COLD!!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 10, 2011
6:47 AM

Post #8364107

My garden is about 32F at the moment. It's hard to think about Zone 8's being that cold!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
7:42 AM

Post #8364196

My seedlings are doing great, though!

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 10, 2011
8:38 AM

Post #8364314

We got down to 23*. With the wind chill factor, it was more like 17*.

The tomato seedlings are growing like weeds (1/4"-1/2" per day), and getting fatter every session they spend under the lights. I Don't know if I can hold em back much longer...

I think tonight, I'm gonna carefully take one outta the cup and see what the root system is looking like. I'll post a pic for tomorrow.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 10, 2011
8:57 AM

Post #8364346

It just occurred to me that, out of 208 tomato seedlings started from seeds, I have not had any damping off!!!!

^^_^^
LiseP
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 10, 2011
9:15 AM

Post #8364386

Gymgirl, thanks for your thorough explanations and timely help! (I wrote to you next morning but must have forgotten to push SEND!). But I used your advice right away with respect to Epsom Salt and MG liquid fert in the seedling water -- I happened to have both of those on hand, so that was easy. I also poured off excess water, and will use the seedling starter stuff to top off my cups.

Stephanietx, thanks for the thought on bringing me seedlings, lol. I'm picturing you with suitcase in one hand and shoebox full of seedlings in another, and your family thinking you'd gone barmy. Anyway, I feel bad enough killing off my own seedlings -- I'd feel even worse if I did it to someone else's!

The good news is that I still have seedlings, and there's always the local nursery if my remaining ones don't make it.

Gymgirl, you made an interesting comment -- stall or take off -- care to elaborate? Is there a certain point where that typically happens? And once stalled -- is that pretty much it for that plant? Congrats on the 'no damping off' by the way. Excellent!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
10:23 AM

Post #8364491

Gymgirl-I had that happen with my tomato plants last year. That's why I put off sowing the seeds this year. To get mine to slow down I put them in the garage (still under lights so they don't get laggy) where it was much cooler, don't fertilize them and only water when they are dry. It worked.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 10, 2011
11:15 AM

Post #8364585

Hey, 1Lisac!

Not so much worried about the 12 tomatoes that I am planning on keeping. It's the 96 that need to go to the Farmer's Market for sale that I'm worried about -- they can't be more than 12" tall.

At the rate they're growing, I have approximately 8 more days before they reach a foot. I figured out to stop watering them, except when they dry out. May have to start cutting back on the fert. And every day next week is supposed to be gorgeous for hardening off, so that puts me at the market next weekend!

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
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terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
11:49 AM

Post #8364652

Wow! Those are some sweet looking tomato seedlings. I bet you don't have even one left at the end of the day at the Farmer's Market. Shoot, you may have to shut down early =~P!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 10, 2011
11:55 AM

Post #8364668

Gymgirl - Congratulations on not having any damping off! So far, I've only lost one seedling, which I'm assuming died of D.O.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 10, 2011
1:14 PM

Post #8364807

Thanks, Guys! It's been a LOT of work, but I have truly enjoyed the challenge of starting seeds! I think I'm going to do it again next time...I'm deciding if I'm enjoying starting them more than I enjoy growing them!

P.S. The stems are currently about the diameter of a chopstick or just a tad more. Not quite pencil-size yet, but still not bad for 33 days from sowing.

This message was edited Feb 10, 2011 3:17 PM

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 11, 2011
7:20 AM

Post #8366172

Gymgirl - I might be imagining this === the thicker the stems, the less likely the tomato plant is have blossom end rot.

I only started noticing this last year, and as I said, perhaps it was my imagination!

When I grew tomatoes in South Florida, I never had blossom end rot. I grew tomtoes called "Tropic" - or at least I think that's what they were called. They didn't give many maters, but they tasted delicious! They were short, stocky plants.

When I lived in Tennessee, I grew "Moneymaker" tomatoes and didn't have BER there, either. They were direct-seeded in a field that at one time had grown tobacco. It was a field of weeds! I shared the field with two other families. We pulled more food out of that field of weeds than we could use. We gave a lot away. This was also the first time I had tried to grow beets, but the crop failed. I swapped bush beans, that I had aplenty, for a neighbor's beets.
Moodene
(Nadine) Devers, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 11, 2011
8:41 AM

Post #8366308

Gygirl, where are you selling the seedlings at? My dad and I are trying to find farmers markets to go visit..to keep him busy on the weekends..lol..

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2011
8:44 AM

Post #8366314

Thanks for that Encouragement re: BER, Bee!

There're so many camps of thought regarding what causes BER, I just stay prayed up. With my short window for growing long-season indeterminates, I don't have time to recover from a 1st wave of BER, to get to a 2nd wave of good maters. My 1st wave has to be good!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 11, 2011
12:01 PM

Post #8366601

You're welcome, Gymgirl. This summer, I think I'll try to separate the thick stemmed tomatoes from the others and see if there really is a difference.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 11, 2011
5:25 PM

Post #8367133

We're going to be gone next week. I'm not sure what to do with my seedlings. Any suggestions on caring for them while we're gone?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2011
6:06 PM

Post #8367218

Hire a baby sitter, and I'm not being funny. Type out instructions, and give them a key. I cat-sat 6 cats for 10 days, stopping in only to feed, water, and change litter. It can be done. Get someone responsible and trustworthy.

What stage are the seedlings at right now?

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 11, 2011
6:17 PM

Post #8367238

They're just now putting out their first set of real leaves. I don't really know anyone I'd trust in my house to water them and turn the lights on.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2011
10:23 PM

Post #8367511

Ok. Here goes nothing. Water the soil to create some capillary action. Sit the pots in a shalloW tray of water. Put the lights on a12-hour timer. Go. Pray. Pray some more...

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 12, 2011
5:49 AM

Post #8367728

Add one more step to Linda's list: Cover entire seedling area with plastic sheet (keeps overall humidity up and slows drying)
cindylove
Lewisville, TX
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2011
9:48 AM

Post #8369779

I wish I could start seedlings but I don't have any room!! I have to do it the "old fashioned way" & wait until the last frost!! Hoping that it has already happened!!!
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 13, 2011
1:29 PM

Post #8370103

[quote="stephanietx"]We're going to be gone next week. I'm not sure what to do with my seedlings. Any suggestions on caring for them while we're gone?[/quote]

Let us know what you decide, and then the outcome, of course!

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2011
1:46 PM

Post #8370131

I transplanted broccoli plants today. I had 40 plants from Lowes/Bonnie that I bought just before the deep freeze. Forecast low temps are in the 50's for the next week or so. The rest of the month is forecast to be warmer than average, so hopefully I'll be safe from any more serious cold until the plants have had a chance to establish. I have another 20 or so broccoli that I started from seed. They are still tiny. I'll plant them as a second crop...hopefully they will have time to mature before too much springtime heat hits.

Also planted a double-row of beets. I used my new Earthway seeder. It was hard to tell how well it was actually working. I did have to go back and rake the cover over. The chain that drags the soil back over the seeds didn't cover very well. I may add a second length of chain, or some weights on the current chain. I guess I will see how it worked when the seeds germinate.

Next steps are to get the early tomato beds ready, fill the Season Starter tee-pees with water, and start hardening the tomatoes that will be going in early. I also need to transplant herb seedlings into pots/cups. I have several types of Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Cilantro, and Parsley that all need to be moved from the flats that I sprouted them in.

Hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am getting started on this years garden!

David
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2011
1:47 PM

Post #8370134

Stephanietx, I tried lots of things for the gnats and Black flag fly paper works well. They all end up sticking to the paper and do not live to reproduce. These are actually fly ribbons and I cut them in half and hang at the window where my cuttings and seeds are rooting and over my sink where more cuttings are rooting. Best thing I have tried!! Im going to use them for whiteflies this year... since last year despite my efforts, they won.

My tomato plants are up. my peppers are up. sprouted them on an electric comforter on an ironing board in front of window. Will put them under my one light now that they are up.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 14, 2011
7:58 AM

Post #8371345

[quote="dreaves"]I transplanted broccoli plants today. I had 40 plants from Lowes/Bonnie that I bought just before the deep freeze. Forecast low temps are in the 50's for the next week or so. The rest of the month is forecast to be warmer than average, so hopefully I'll be safe from any more serious cold until the plants have had a chance to establish. I have another 20 or so broccoli that I started from seed. They are still tiny. I'll plant them as a second crop...hopefully they will have time to mature before too much springtime heat hits.

Also planted a double-row of beets. I used my new Earthway seeder. It was hard to tell how well it was actually working. I did have to go back and rake the cover over. The chain that drags the soil back over the seeds didn't cover very well. I may add a second length of chain, or some weights on the current chain. I guess I will see how it worked when the seeds germinate.

Next steps are to get the early tomato beds ready, fill the Season Starter tee-pees with water, and start hardening the tomatoes that will be going in early. I also need to transplant herb seedlings into pots/cups. I have several types of Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Cilantro, and Parsley that all need to be moved from the flats that I sprouted them in.

Hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am getting started on this years garden!

David
[/quote]

Sounds like you have a nice garden. I notice you use Season Starter tee-pees with water. I use the Kozy Coat brand that probably works the same as the Season Starter. I am a true believer that they really do a good job getting early plantings off to a quick start. Last year using Kozy Coats for the first time I had my first tomatoes set 3-4 weeks earlier than previous years.

I potted up 43 of my seedling tomato plants this weekend. I also made a trip to Green Gate nursery in Sequin and bought a six-pack of Phoenix Tomato plants. I need to stay away from nurseries. LOL

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
8:26 AM

Post #8371396

TRock, you rock! Is that 43 seedling tomatoes planted out into the garden, or potted up to cups or something else?

I'm planting 6 seedlings OUT in the garden this weekend coming up. Another 6 will go out next weekend. Trying to get a headstart on the DTM which, for me, averages between 105-150 days. I don't have a day to spare with long-season indeterminates!

I know I'm pushing the envelope with our squirrely Texas weather, but it's a calculate risk, and I'm preparing to protect the plants against that dreaded Easter Sunday FREEZE!

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dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 14, 2011
8:49 AM

Post #8371437

I'm going to push the early weather, too. I'm going to try to have tomato plants in the ground by next weekend. If they survive and the days-to-maturity holds reasonably close, I will have tomatoes before the end of April! My first year, that was when I was planting... IF the early crop works, then I will be able to pick tomatoes for 2-3 months! I can usually count on June, but things get iffy after early July.

So am I counting my chickens early, or what? : )

David

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
9:03 AM

Post #8371460

David,
I don't think you are. My outside DTM is 130-150 for my Black Krims. The last weekend in June gives me 126 days from plantout, if I put them out by this weekend. I actually have to start ripping my vines by mid-June, 'cause by then the heat has set in, the stinkbugs are taking over, and the plants are looking horrible. I've decided I don't even WANT to try to hold them over to come around again in the fall. I'd rather start with fresh stock for any fall crop I might attempt.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 14, 2011
9:33 AM

Post #8371522

[quote="Gymgirl"]TRock, you rock! Is that 43 seedling tomatoes planted out into the garden, or potted up to cups or something else?[/quote]

Today and tomorrow I plan to fill and set out 20 Kozy Coats on the soil in my 13 gal pots. By the end of this week the soil inside the KCs should be warm enough to set out the six Phoenix tomato plants I bought yesterday. Today I will start hardening off my seedlings that were potted up to qt cottage cheese containers this past Saturday. They will go out to the garden surrounded by wheat straw bales and covered with a tarp at night. The more robust seedlings will go into Kozy Coats as they become ready. All 43 should be planted by the end of the first week in March.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 14, 2011
9:47 AM

Post #8371548

We're going to try to get our onions in the ground today.

This message was edited Feb 15, 2011 10:51 AM

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
9:53 AM

Post #8371560

TRock and David,
Sounds like I'm finally on track with my tomato planting schedule! Thank you both, so much, for taking me by the hand and guiding me along these last couple years. I was doing everything right with the seeds/seedlings/containers, and mix. I just never could get the hang of the planting TIMING!

Now, I'm feeling much more confident of when to do what -- and it's finally paying off!

Hugs!

Linda ^^_^^
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 14, 2011
10:18 AM

Post #8371617

I really hope we don't have an Easter freeze. Easter is at the end of April thats really late. I really wonder what the weather holds in store, after the last couple of weeks it will be interesting to see what happens.
Linda-You have a DTM of 130 days for Black Krims? That seems really long.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
10:22 AM

Post #8371628

In 2008, the first Black Krim I bit into was exactly 150 days from seed to eat. I prayed I wouldn't come home and find that a bird, squirrel, my neighbor, or my DH had decided it was time to eat that tomato!

Best tomato I ever ate in my life. It might have been filled with anticipation, too!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 14, 2011
10:27 AM

Post #8371637

I love Black Krims also. I calculate DTM from the date of plant out.
I'm just starting my tomatoes now, peppers and eggplant are plugging along. Last year I started tomatoes a week earlier and had to slow them down. In Tx one never knows, I really don't want my thermometer to read 12* again and that was only a few days ago. At least its sunny now.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 14, 2011
10:32 AM

Post #8371641

1lisac,
I'm pushing the growing window this time. Will plant tomatoes out this weekend and next, and stagger until March 19th. That's my cutoff date for the long-season indeterminates.

Took this last night...

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
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1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 15, 2011
7:27 AM

Post #8373191

Actually GG your plant out time is about now, according to my Texas Regional Map.
Mine is in a month to 6 weeks, according to the same map. After these last two Arctic Blasts I don't know what to think.
Lisa
Moodene
(Nadine) Devers, TX
(Zone 9b)

February 15, 2011
8:50 AM

Post #8373327

Don't ya'll just love the Texas weather!...lol...Ya never know from day to day..sheeze..

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 15, 2011
8:52 AM

Post #8373334

Ya'll, check this out. Could be veeeeeeeeeeery exciting...

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1158830/
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 15, 2011
2:27 PM

Post #8373780

Here is a pic of my maters I transplanted this past Saturday. They went out doors yesterday. The sun shined on them yesterday afternoon for about 3-4 hours. Same again today.

Here is a list of varieties.

Black Krim
Black Zebra
Brandy Sweet Plumb
Chappy X/L Red
Henderson's "Pink Ponderosa"
Indian Stripe
JD's Special
Mule Team
Muriel
Pamella
Purple Haze
Purple Russian
Rambling Red Stripe
Phoenix
San Marzano
San Marzano Gigante 3
Southern Night
Top Gun
Violet Jasper

Pic in next post. Before I selected the pic I previewed this post so as not to lose my text. Can't select a pic from preview.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 15, 2011
2:28 PM

Post #8373784

Here ya go.

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
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texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 15, 2011
2:33 PM

Post #8373793

Yesterday, I filled 19 tee-pees (Kozy Coats) and planted tomatoes in three of them. This weekend I will plant some of the larger transplants into the rest of the Kozy Coats and off we go.

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
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stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 16, 2011
6:52 AM

Post #8374876

Great idea on the cottage cheese containers! I'll have to start saving those for next year.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 16, 2011
6:56 AM

Post #8374882

I ordered two packs (6) of Kozy Coats yesterday, but, today it seems I might not even get to use them. Something's attacking my Pruden's Purple tomatoes and moving through my stock. I've removed the affected plants to quarantine, and the rest seem to be ok, for now.

But, I was preparing to fill orders for seedlings this Friday...I'll have to do a "money back guarantee" if any of the seemingly healthy ones come down with this same thing..

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
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1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 16, 2011
8:55 AM

Post #8375164

I wouldn't let them go to new homes yet. IMHO They could infect other plants in their new homes if what they have is contagious. I haven't looked at the pictures yet tho.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 16, 2011
10:02 AM

Post #8375305

Thanks, 1Lisac. Hadn't consIdered that...
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 16, 2011
10:19 AM

Post #8375326

OK, I am in (technically) zone 8 as the min temps rarely go below 10. Today we woke up to snow though most of January had sunny days. I don't put out any tropical plants, like tomatoes or peppers this early and I have no coldframe or greenhouse. Hopefully I will have a coldframe before the following winter. Still I have Chinese cabbage, and broccoli planted out and lettuce and peas sown in the square foot garden. I have been focusing on cleanup from fall as I did not get it finished due to Nov 20th snow then.

This is what it looks like right now outside my window...

Thumbnail by evelyn_inthegarden
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steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 16, 2011
1:37 PM

Post #8375654

GG, get your magnifying glass out and look closely. I noticed the very tips of the tiny leaves are seemingly affected from the tip inward. Also the leaves without spots seem to curl a bit. Anything different about the purples from the others?... diff soil, diff containers, different watering, different fertilizer, different location. Purples may be sensitive to something the others are not. It looks more like chemical or fungal damage than insects at this point. IMO, Cam
sapphirestar19
Pearland, TX

February 16, 2011
2:13 PM

Post #8375703

I'm lurking. When we move to summer crops, I'll be a posting fool. As soon as my house closes, we will be building the new raised beds.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 16, 2011
2:18 PM

Post #8375704

I've been on the web searching for a picture of what ails me, and, so far, it doesn't seem to be a disease at all. I believe it's a plain ole case of sunburn/sunscald.

Here's a statement I found that sounds like my issue:

"I have the same on some of my plants, especially my Opalka for some reason, and what happened to me was that I hardened them off while each plant was close to the next - a bunch of cups in a bin. This caused the lower branches to be shaded by the other plants, so when I separated them, the lower leaves were not as hardened off as the upper, and they got sun burn (shiny gold/silver patches) while the upper leaves did not."

My seedlings are very close together in their trays, under the lights. Some branches are getting way close into the lights (they're getting taller faster than I can raise the shelves...), and other branches are shaded by the other plants...

We're gonna pray that it's only sunscald...

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 20, 2011
7:30 PM

Post #8383388

My seedlings survived us being gone for 4 days and the lights being on for 24 hours a day! LOL Apparently, our electricity went out sometime while we were gone and that threw the timer for a loop. I need to add dirt this week and divide out the ones that have 2 seedlings in the cups.

Tomorrow, we'll plant the onions and then I also need to get the potatoes out.
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 24, 2011
9:06 AM

Post #8390137

I've been reduced to lurking here and there for the most part as well, unfortunately.

However, I have good news to report on my garden front. I have 6 healthy yellow crookneck and zucchini plants (3 each) that are about 5" tall at least. I'll plant them out in smart pots on March 1st and protect them as needed if the temps drop.

My WS'd tomatoes are pretty much toast becasue I left them on a bench one night when we had freezing temperatures, and thus they were not adequatley protected. They should have been on the ground...oops. Interesting, one lone Costoluto Genovese plant has sprouted since then so that is good. Plus, my tomatoes under lights are thriving and need to be potted into 4" pots and fed with fish emulsion.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 24, 2011
9:27 AM

Post #8390172

John,
Could you post a pic of your tomato seedlings under lights?

I've been outta pocket with my back outta whack since last Saturday, which was my PROPOSED plant out date. I rented a truck the weekend before to gather all my eBuckets, and mix, and 1/2 yard of pine bark fines for my new container mix (Tapla's 5:1:1 -- I'll let you know how it's working), and the rest of my supplies,

Then, I woke up and couldn't move this past weekend!

I'm feeling really hopeful about the new mix. I certainly will spend less $$$ to fill all the eBuckets and EBs, so that's a plus already. It is very different then I'm used to working with cause, even tho' the bark soaks up the water, the overall mix feels on the dry side to me, but I know it's moist enough for the plant! Another wonderful plus is that the buckets are soooooooooooo much lighter!

I'll post periodic progress reports when there's something to update.

To date, I have exactly ONE tomato seedling planted as of 2/20/11 - a tiny Bull's Heart I put out just to see how it would respond to the new mix. So far -- so good...

Also, I bought some Kozy Coats to have on hand just in case our weather gets squirrely and decides winter isn't over! I'm only planting 12 tomato plants.

Oh, BTW, John, heading out to pick up some 'a those tubs the farmers use to feed the horses with. They're black plastic measuring 22" deep by 24" across -- short and squatty -- just the kind of container I calculated our big indeterminate heirlooms would love to grow in, if they could pick their own container. This'll be yet another experiment, and I'll post results.

Hugs!
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 24, 2011
3:19 PM

Post #8390775

hi, guys! I just pulled up half my broccoli plants yesterday, cut off all the little side broccolis and then... I go to peel the stalks. I ended up with more stalks than Ive ever had at one time. i always choose the longest stalks at the grocery so I can peel and eat. It's sweet and very crunchy. Good in a salad but I ate mine with jack cheese dip. I also discovered that most of the petiole is tender enough to be sliced into salads. Had some of those in potatoe salad. I did not try eating the leaves yet. Gave those to my neighbor to feed her lizard. It's not a lizard but it looks like one. chuckle.

I planted out 4 tomatoes today ()two 4th of July and 2 Kellogs Breakfast. I received in a trade and mine will not be ready until next week so I guess Im gonna be staggering my planting. My potatoes are growing well, about 2" high now. I have lima beans that are 4" high. Still have some broccoli, beets, carrots, lettuce and snow peas going but with this weather they will be gone quickly.just planted some more radishes. They will be ready in a month. I too, will cover if we get a frost.

Just heard on another forum that Home Depot has shop lights for $10. Ive not checked it out yet but want to get some more so I can be ready for next year. I am going to be so prepared for next year that we will never have another freeze. chuckle. You know, "carrying an unbrella prevents rain and washing your car is like doing a rain dance."

John, if you are interested in a 5 gal firespike, lets see if we can arrange a trade for something. I did not go to the Pasadena thing. Gym girl said the group thing was off so I vol. at the arboretum that day. Good growing everyone!
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
9:03 AM

Post #8392014

Aaahhhhh!! The ol' back injury, eh? Get well soon, Linda. Today, in particular, is a beautiful day and you should be out in the garden! Yeah, I will snap some photos of my plants to share and I will post them here later this evening. Oh- I like your idea of using the feeding tubs to grow tomatoes. Let us know how that works out.

Hey Cam - thanks for the low-down on the lights @ HD. I will definitley check that out!!! Anyway, I wish I could have gone to the Pasadena Garden fair (or whatever it was called) despite the DGer group not going, but I was too busy. I need to hit-up my local FM tomorrow, though, no doubt.

Oh- I am not sure what plants you would be interested in, but all I have are veggies right now. Squash, Zucchini, and a bunch of tomato plants that oughta make good prospects but still need to grow a bit. Lol, sounds like a baseball trade or something. I need to do a complete inventory of what I have.

JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
9:12 AM

Post #8392027

Long range forecast looks good temperature-wise (Houston area.) And when I say long range, I mean the 10-day forecast. Temps look to be in the 70's for the most part, and we may even hit low-80's this Sunday. Next Sunday, though, the temps are forecast to be in the high 60's.

We sure haven't gotten much rain though, huh?

Any of you more experienced folks know what we can expect as far as March frosts go? Are we out of the woods? My crystal ball is broken, but it was cheap anyway, so I must rely on someone else's...

This message was edited Feb 25, 2011 11:13 AM

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
9:13 AM

Post #8392028

I bought a case of cool white shop lights at Lowe's for $12. I paired them with a regular old shop light from the Habitat for Humanities ReStore ($1/per). Each grow shelf has 4 lights...

I also bought some of the Kozy Coats that TRock shows above. Will have them at the ready just in case...

Gotta plant tomorrow! Kinda bummed cause someone came into my yard yesterday and took a whole six-pack of my bell pepper seedlings...I guess I oughtta be thankful they didn't wipe me out...

Linda

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
9:17 AM

Post #8392032

Hey, John,
We cross posted...

Two or three years ago, it froze on Easter Sunday, in April...best case scenario is to be prepared to throw something over your seedlings if we dip. In your case, you could easily construct a hoop over your raised beds, and throw some lightweight blankets on top.

Best part about Houston is that, even if we do get a freaky frost, it'll be over and done in a couple hours!

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
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JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
9:19 AM

Post #8392035

I found out about the Habitat ReStore just days ago. I should have known they would have shop lights. $1? Sweet.

Someone swiped plants from your backyard?? WT?? That's just wrong. Be on notice, Linda.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2011
1:49 PM

Post #8392515

John, I would be interested in a tomato that you think is the best tomato you've tasted. I just started growing tomatoes last year and Im interested in other people's recommendations for good taste. I only want one or two plants or maybe 5 seed to try next year. I would love a start of the small multiplying onions if you have any of those. Also, do you grow pinto beans that you shell? If so, please recommend a variety for me. I have about 4 varieties of green beans but dont know which is better for shelling. I love fresh pinto beans from the garden! I have lots of veggie seeds. Do you need some? Let me know what kind and I'll share. Cam
JohnCrichton75
League City, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 28, 2011
9:52 AM

Post #8397842

Well, I am not a good source for tomato recommendations, truth be told, since my tomato-growing efforts have been modest in the past coupla years. I'd check the tomato forum if you haven't already, cam, for more input.

I took the day off to do some catching-up and I will go ahead and pot-up some of my tomatoes. Big Beef (4), Purple Cherokee (2), and Supersweet 100's (4). I'll post pics later.

Here's my squash. Zucchini are in green pots and yellow crookneck are in the orange pots.

Thumbnail by JohnCrichton75
Click the image for an enlarged view.

steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 28, 2011
12:38 PM

Post #8398181

Squashes lookin' good!!! Planting mine today in the ground.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 28, 2011
1:04 PM

Post #8398232

Well, once again I got NOTHING planted this weekend. I did manage to help out a friend Saturday morning, and by the time I got home, I was not feeling like the up and down from garden planting was in my best interest. I was sorta headachey and knew I'd better be still if it was elevated blood pressure.

Felt like this through Sunday evening, so total bummer.

The real kicker is that I keep doing all this "prep" stuff, and soon as I get ready to plant, I feel bad. Drove 40 miles to pick up eight bee-u-tee-ful cattle molasses tubs from a DGer. I believe (based on my observations) that they're the perfect planter for our huge, indeterminate heirloom tomatoes. Not too tall (about 18" of growing depth), and wide, 24" horizontal. My observations of the root systems pulled from the patented Earthboxes show root systems averaging from 12" deep to 18" across.

Since I have 8, I'm thinking another experiment is in the making. Retrofit half as eTubs, with a reservoir and wicking system, and half with no reservoirs -- just drainage holes drilled in the sides...I can find humongous plastic bowls to invert as reservoir covers/mix platforms for the eTub.

Also, 1/2 will get the Triple 13 fertilizer strip and 1/2 will be watered with MG Water Soluable Plant food (24-8-16).

My only pressing concern is a trellis system for these giant plants. My first season in a patented Earthbox, the tomatoes grew a full 6 feet and would kept going with some support. That continues to be the thorn in my side...I considered cattle panel wrapped around each eTub, and stick lengths of bamboo through as supports. Seems plausible...

Linda
yehudith
silver spring, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 28, 2011
1:06 PM

Post #8398237

Seed starting has started at the On house!!! You should have seen my poor husband when he came in (he's not a gardener). I don't know if the already seeded flats got to him or it was the mounds of packets I was busily writing lables for. Maybe it was driving him and my son outside to put my coldframe together? Anyway, so far I've got peas, lacinato kale, Chinese heading mustard, Chinese cabbage, collards and eggplants and swiss chard planted and on heating mats. The chollards, kale and heading mustard were up in 24 hrs. I couldn't believe it. That was on Fri. Just checked and everything but the peas anpd eggplant are up. Time to get started on the other stuff. I've been using the garden planner on Mother Earth and its so cool, keeps track of seeding dates and e-mails you a reminder for each variety, not just the generic cabbage, eggplant etc.
Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2011
8:16 PM

Post #8399098

[quote="Gymgirl"] Also, 1/2 will get the Triple 13 fertilizer strip and 1/2 will be watered with MG Water Soluable Plant food (24-8-16).

My only pressing concern is a trellis system for these giant plants. My first season in a patented Earthbox, the tomatoes grew a full 6 feet and would kept going with some support. That continues to be the thorn in my side...I considered cattle panel wrapped around each eTub, and stick lengths of bamboo through as supports. Seems plausible...

Linda[/quote]

I'm wondering why you use a fertilizer with such a high nitrogen ratio for tomatoes? May be why you're getting such tall growth but are you getting an equivalent production of fruit also?

texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 28, 2011
9:19 PM

Post #8399162

Ggirl, "considered cattle panel wrapped around each eTub, and stick lengths of bamboo through as supports"

9 ga.cattle panels are much too heavy to be trying to wrap around your tubs. May I recommend rewire in the lighter ga. as there are two gauge of rewire but the heavier ga. is a bit stiff to work with and the lighter ga. works well to support tomatoes. The rewire is 5' wide. When I need extra height I make two the same diameter and cut one in half so I end up with one cage about 7 1/2' tall. You can zip tie the short section on top of the 5' section. If you make them the same circumference as your tubs by drilling holes in the top of the rims of the tubs the cage can be zip tied to your tubs. This is what I did last season on my large tree pots and the setup worked perfectly. I'll look for pics or I'll set one up tomorrow and post a picture of it.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2011
6:49 AM

Post #8399713

Thanks, TRock! I'll be looking for a pictorial, "How to"! I just potted up ONE more tomato seedling last evening: grand total of TWO!

Dogs,
The 24-8-16 is a 3-1-2 ratio that Tapla recommends for use in conjunction with his container mix. The mix is a 5:1:1 ratio of pine bark fines:peat:perlite, and is designed for excellent oxygenation (soil aeration) and drainage. Consequently, because of the enhanced drainage, the plant is watered with the fertilizer each time to keep the nutrients going (at least I think that's what I'm supposed to do!).

evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 1, 2011
4:20 PM

Post #8400910

I guess I won't be doing any gardening outside just yet...

Thumbnail by evelyn_inthegarden
Click the image for an enlarged view.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 2, 2011
7:18 AM

Post #8402067

My friend told me that I should grow potatoes in my compost bin ... so I am trying ... off course I will not turn the compost !!!
Today I found out that the potatoes are sprouting already ...
Wish me luck !!

Thumbnail by drthor
Click the image for an enlarged view.

texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 2, 2011
7:34 AM

Post #8402087

Good luck!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 2, 2011
9:33 AM

Post #8402242

We have potatoes growing in our compost pile, too. LOL We're going to leave them and see what happens.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 2, 2011
12:09 PM

Post #8402526

My non-volunteer potatoes are up and looking good. Im growing one of those samplers from Lowes. 6 each of red, white and russet. My favorite is red but I'll eat the others too.
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 3, 2011
6:55 AM

Post #8404151

[quote="Gymgirl"]Thanks, TRock! I'll be looking for a pictorial, "How to"! I just potted up ONE more tomato seedling last evening: grand total of TWO! [/quote]

I post a couple pic over here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1160825/#new

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 14, 2011
6:27 PM

Post #8427329

Check out my volunteer potatoes in the compost pile!

Thumbnail by stephanietx
Click the image for an enlarged view.

carminator1
mobile, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2011
6:53 AM

Post #8428116

Sorry guys I have been absent for quite a while, it has been a crazy year for my family, we got sick in my house and the bug lingered for about 3 months ( I guess that is what happens when you have little ones) then since I am pregnant and expecting number 3 the flu just knocked me down and I could not do a lot of gardening chores at all. Thank God my garden did O.K, we still got tons of things like lettuce, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens etc...

My DH finally installed my last 2 raise beds where the tomatoes are going to be and yesterday with the help of my little girl I planted a whole raise bed full of maters, I still have peppers and eggplants to plant out and I do have a new batch of Roma tomatoes that I can plant out as well in a few weeks as soon as they get a little bigger, this time I am going to try to double my tomato patch and plant 2 whole raise beds instead of just one.

I have converted two diff couples and friends already into planting their own veggies, they have already started their own raise beds as well, they loved the veggies that I was growing and so now they are doing their own.

Today I will be cleaning the herb bed and start planting some of my herbs, you can't never have too many. Also I have a few plants that I started inside that are the purple artichoke and can't wait to plant them out and see how they do, artichokes are just so expensive here in the US that I thought it would be worth trying.

O.K I have a lot to catch up and read, the baby is due beginning of May so we are getting very excited around here.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 15, 2011
8:00 AM

Post #8428232

Carminator1,
Does the name "Laura Ingalls" ring a bell?
Dogs_N_Petunias
Cleburne, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2011
5:16 PM

Post #8429095

[quote="stephanietx"]Check out my volunteer potatoes in the compost pile![/quote]

Isn't it amazing what will grow from just a tiny bit of potato in the compost pile? I found a sprout in the pile the other day that was growing from just a small piece of potato peeling.

Glenna

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 16, 2011
7:20 AM

Post #8430079

END OF PART 2 - Do not post past this point. Go to Continuation Thread , Part 3 below.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1164991/


^^_^^

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2011
7:05 AM

Post #8452955

Got some bamboo (free for pickup!!) and will be planting my pole beans this coming week!! So excited!! We also got some compost to turn into the veggie bed as well as apply to our flower beds.

Thumbnail by stephanietx
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

March 27, 2011
3:53 PM

Post #8454118

Lovely, hon, but no one's gonna see your score but me. We're all over on Part III!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 27, 2011
5:04 PM

Post #8454253

How did that happen?? LOL Okay, will post over there!

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