Here are a few pictures of this season's Kozy Coats, a trade name for Walls-of-Water. I used Kozy Coats in 13 gal pots this year. When the plants start to emerge out the top of the KC it's time to remove the KC. Because the KC acts like a miniature greenhouse the plants are a bit tender and will fall over unless staked.
I use short stakes since once the plants reach about 18" high they the plants will be trained to grow straight up between two cattle panels stationed about 15 - 18 inches apart supported by T-posts.
It was cloudy yesterday and a few tomato plants were already growing out the tops of the KCs so I took up all of the KCs. If we get a freeze I will cover with heavy frost blanket or floating row cover.
Bucket seated in the KC. I grip the KC just under the lip on the bucket and grab a hand full of KC squeezing out a bit of water. With a smooth and swift motion I lift the KC high enough to clear the top of the plant and turn away from the plant and set the KC in a concrete mixing tub. Next I remove the bucket and lay the KC over turning it upside down emptying the water.
Today the outside cattle panels went up. In the early 80's I set up two cattle panels side by side about 15 - 17" a part hung on T-posts. Three years ago I set up two panels about 5' away but parallel to the first two. Ten 13 gal pot fit nicely in each row of panels for a total of 20.
If it were not for the Kozy Coats needing to be lifted up and out when it is time to remove them there would be no need to remove the outside cattle panel. Now I fasten the panels to the T-posts with wire. This is about change. I am going to weld hooks to the T-posts so the outside panel can be lifted out and set back in place without having to fiddle with T-post clips or baling wire.
Here we are all ready for our trip up between the panels guided by the small cedar limbs.
Notice the outside panel is 12" above the rim of the pot. This space is needed to pour liquid fertilize around the plants. The plants get fed every week alternating between Miracle Grow Tomato and Medina Hasta Grow for Plants. As the season progresses it will become necessary to prune the lower limbs to maintain a work space around the bottom of the plant.
Raised box bed 16' long with 9 tomato plants. The 5' cages are made from concrete reinforcing wire chained together with zip ties one near the bottom and one near the top. The white nylon cord rated at 325 lb test strength was left over from my trot line fishing days and is anchored to fencing staples driven into the R/R ties. This system is very stable.
[quote="stephanietx"]Don't the zip ties break in the summer sun and heat? How do you chain the cages together?[/quote]
I now use black UV resistant zip ties in the garden. When I started using zip ties in the garden I used all kinds, the white ones, the pretty colored ones, anything that was cheap and yes in the fall I would have a couple break.
"chained together with zip ties" was a poor choice of words.. I should have written tied together with zip ties forming a single unit. I pull the zip ties tight so there is no wiggle from side to side between the cages. This in itself keeps the cages from moving from side to side from the weight of the tomato vines. The cords tied to the cages and anchored to the R/R ties eliminate front to back movement.
Today I will set out 16 tomato plants in straw bales, two per bale. I'll post up pics tonight.
Big Beef X Eva Purple Ball
Brandy Sweet Plumb
Chappy X/L Red
Cherokee Purple Jumbo
Henderson's “Pink Ponderosa”
Mystery Tomato (may be JD's Special)
One Lucky Cross
Rambling Red Stripe
Here's hoping there is no freeze anytime soon. All total I have 53 tomato plants set out.
I have found wheat straw around Seguin and Fredericksburg. I know wheat is grown around Dallas and the Pan Handle but that's too far for me. In 2008 I bought 10 bales in Seguin and in 2009 I bought 45 bales in Fredericksburg. However due to the drought around here farmers just aren't planting wheat, so the straw bales have become scarce. Just the other day I saw an ad close by for $7 a bale, about twice what I paid.
The tight packed bales make the best for growing in because they just hold up better with out collapsing and therefore they last longer.
I asked someone local who has horses as I thought he'd know about straw bales -- said none available in this area. He recommended coastal hay that he thought would have less of a weed problem, as opposed to hay. Anyway, still looking ...
texasrockgarden - Wow! You're setting out tomatoe plants. I just sowed tomato seeds indoors this morning. Our last expected frost date is somewhere between April 1st and April 15th although we can get frost into the middle of May!
Well today I intensified my straw bale row by planting cucumber seeds between each tomato plant. I sure hope tomatoes and cukes get along growing together.
[quote="TX_gardener"]I asked someone local who has horses as I thought he'd know about straw bales -- said none available in this area. He recommended coastal hay that he thought would have less of a weed problem, as opposed to hay. Anyway, still looking ...[/quote]
When I am unable to get wheat straw I will consider Alfalfa bales. I've read over on the Straw Bale Forum that Alfalfa works but it usually costs more than wheat.
[quote="HoneybeeNC"]texasrockgarden - Wow! You're setting out tomato plants. I just sowed tomato seeds indoors this morning. Our last expected frost date is somewhere between April 1st and April 15th although we can get frost into the middle of May![/quote]
I gamble every year with planting out early winning about one in seven to every ten years. I am prepared to cover with frost blankets/floating row covers if we get a late cold snap...remembering that Easter is late this year.
Hey, while cold challenges your garden skills heat challenges ours. If we don't grow and cover early here in South Central Texas it will get hot fast and then we are out of the game. One day this week it hit 86 degrees.
The Kozy Coats or Wall-a-Water definitely make a huge difference in the size of early plantings especially for my tomatoes. When I first set out my tomato plants in late February I left one of the plants without a Kozy Coat. When It got cold I covered it with remay and a big pot so it wouldn't freeze. Today that one plant is 1/3 the size of the plants that were inside the KC. I had a similar experience last year. That's what really sold me on them.
When I did the tomato/KC thing I tried one pepper plant under a KC. Today it is about the same size as it was, much to my disappointment.
drthor, if there's a contest, I suppose we ought to start the clock from each person's zone average last frost date or something. Of course trock beats me either way, since he and I are in the same zone! I'm impressed, I've just got a few flowers so far.
Trock, when did you start your seeds? Just curious.
Next year, God willing, I will have all my hoops and whist..er, row covers, bel..er, plastic covers and blankets ready so I can plant out mid-February and be prepared to protect the plants from frost. It was my intent this year with all those wonderful seedlings I grew and should'a put out by Feb 19th if I had been prepared!
(I must've got bored with 'em in the house and attempted to kill them with zealous over-fertilizing!)
texasrockgarden - what a lovely garden. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to have it look so good.
Do you like your compost bins? Are you able to lift-off the different sections? I have two Bio-stacks and would have purchased two more if I had known they were going to stop making them. I've been looking for something similar.
[quote="HoneybeeNC"]texasrockgarden - what a lovely garden. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to have it look so good.
Do you like your compost bins? Are you able to lift-off the different sections? I have two Bio-stacks and would have purchased two more if I had known they were going to stop making them. I've been looking for something similar. [/quote]
So far so good. I just about kept them full last Summer and Fall but during the Winter they went down to about 1/3. They are single unit with a removable top. I bought them at Sam's last Spring. Now that I have baby chicks the compost bins will have to compete a little with the chicks for scraps.
[quote="stephanietx"]It all looks awesome!! What's growing in the mater bed along the edge in post #8468120?[/quote]
In the lower left hand corner of the picture is a maroon Rose of Sharon still in a pot sitting outside of the bed, then inside the bed from left to right in front of the maters is a cluster of multiplying walking onions, some marigolds and a few zinnias. The Rose of Sharon is getting moved to the opposite corner of the bed because the sun shines on this bed from left to right and I don't need the shade on the bed.
Wow, TRock, your garden looks wonderful! Love those Rambling Red Stripes -- so pretty! How did you make those red-ringed cantaloupe and melon plots? Are those plastic rings or metal? They look very nice.
LisaP, The rings are 1/3 sections of a metal 55 gal drum with a vinyl marine edge trim around the rough cut top edge of each section. I ran out of red paint so the last ring got to be yellow. I normally don't focus on pretty in the garden so much as I do production but I wanted to give these some protection against fertilizer chemicals eating them away so fast.
Just about everything in my garden that is growing outside the dirt rows gets feed every week with a liquid fertilizer. I alternate weekly feedings between MG Tomato and Medina Hasta Grow for Plants. The dirt rows get fed in varying combinations with aged stable horse manure, rabbit manure, compost, Ammonium Sulfate and 13-13-13 + Sulfur. Even some plants in the dirt rows get occasional applications of the liquid fertilizers (peppers and okra). Right now I apply 60 gals of liquid mix every week. This will continue until about the end of July.
I like a soil that drains well so the plants never have wet feet. I water every other day and when the tomato plants get bigger and the daytime temps get hotter they get watered every day. I feel that soils that drain well are ideal for liquid fertilizers because the nutrients get deep down to the roots quickly where they are needed. Of course for plants to get big and robust they need deep soils and room for root expansion.
Yeah I know, I'm not an organic gardener. I'm 67 soon to be 68 and I feel what hasn't already killed me won't kill be before my time comes. I try to bring the best of what works for the organic and the non organic worlds together while not over indulging in either.
I try to keep gardening simple...plants need food, water, growing medium, and sunshine. God takes care of the rest.
texasrockgarden= everything looks great. I am growing tomato plants in 25 gallon pots. I don't have them set up yet but have the plants growing in a 10 inch pot until all the Spring monsoons are gone... Then I have a greenhouse garden with mostly tomatoes growing inside. The greenhouse protects the plants from hail and windy rain storms during the spring. After it warms up well and wind storms have died down, I take all the poly off the walls of the greenhouse. (walls 7ft tall) I have tomatoes growing in raised beds and tomatoes growing in 4 gallon pots that are set in raised beds and have eggplants in pots set in raised beds and have squash plants growing in 25 gallon pots. And have pepper plants growing in 10- gallon pots and and and and ---a few concrete block raised beds out back with more tomatoes and other veggies such as potatoes and onions and garlic and herbs. All your set ups reminds me of ======mine. Except mine are younger.
I am a tomato growing freak and love to read and look upon other tomato gardens. I can smell your tomato plants from here.
I'm still trying to figure out how you get such abundant growth in a 4 gallon container. My beefsteam heirlooms won't do a thing in a pot less than 10 gallons. Could it be your growing medium? Light? fertilizer? what? Tell us please!
then i have three more concrete block raised beds with nothing growing in them yet.
then one giant concrete block raised PLanter= as i call it= for growing wave petunias in at
the head of the drive way. Nothing growing in it yet either.
then I have 2 4'x4' raised beds for growing corn in.
then there is the 2 16" x 12ft beds for growing okra in. The okra is growing in cups in the
greenhouse and is just about ready to set out.
Thennnnnnnn I have 4 2ftx8ft Table Top Gardens that have some bush snow peas growing in--and some
fingerling purple potatoes and a couple of Sweet Pea Currant tomato plants growing.
I am sure I forgot something.
A picture of some of the table top gardens that are 3 ft high.
I am gradually filling everything up with nice pretty green plants. I am saving a lot of the space in my raised beds for
bush green beans.
I also started some corn in little cups too to get an early start on it but I have never grown corn before. My bed is ready and my corn is ready. they are not root bound but sure need some fertilizer. I am transplanting them this evening.
I want to transplant the okra too.
It is going to be a very warm week and I hope the temps don't drop too low in the future.
oh and I have another bed====LOL= it is only 4ft X 5ft and it is also 3 blocks high.
grow beds all over the place.
Cricket, Thanks for sharing the pictures. It all looks so inviting. I really like it all. Wish it was mine.
I can see the 4 gal pot working if the drain holes are buried in growing medium so the roots can grow out into the outside soil. Year before last I used 5 gal grow bags buried half way into mulch. At the end of the season there were tomato roots growing under the mulch that came from the bottom holes in the bags. The roots were big as a pencil and 2-4' long.
My fertilizer mixture is 8 oz of Middleider Magic which simply micro nutrients from http://www.foodforeveryone.org
That 8 oz of micro nutrients is mixed into 20 pounds of 13-13-13, 3 pounds of epsom salt, 3 pounds of calcium nitrate.
I then apply about a tablespoon of this mixture to each plant every week. Except for the tomato plants that I grow in the 25 gallon pots. I give those plants about 3 tablespoons every week. Thats all it takes.
Thank you texas. My spring has just begun and antsy to grow something now.
Cricket, I am exhausted just looking at your garden setup! Are you in the veggie selling business? Feeding a family of 20? Or do you put up all those maters and other produce? That is a LOT of food! Thanks for sharing all the info and pictures. Janet
I used all treated wood ==but lined the boxes with heavy plastic.
The bottom of the box is 3/4 inch plywood.
The legs are 4x4s(2ft)
The sides are 2x12s
Before the boxes are lined with plastic===I drilled one inch holes in the bottom plywood.
Then lined with plastic and punched holes through plastic where the holes were in the plywood.
Wala done===nope not that easy=====they are really heavy so you better build them where you want them
and they better be where you want them to stay after you put the soil in cause there is no moving them
after they are full of soil.
The soil is mostly promix with some compost.
The boxes are great for bush veggies and root crops. But they are also great for mini melons cause they can grow
and hang over the sides. (even cukes) Oh= and I planted some small purple potatoes in the boxes too.
I sell mostly tomato produce but if I don't have time to deal with a veggie thats ready to harvest then i sell it too.
the peppers, squash, cukes, and eggplants.
The tomatoes are my passion= why not make some cash while im at it.
T-Rock, your staw bale squares for tomato plants gave me an idea. I have been trying to come up with a way to plant sweet potatoes in our short season and this looks like a great idea. What advantages are there to growing tomatoes in straw bale squares?
Absa-fraggin-lootly Cricket! Make some moola from all your hard work! Thanks for the table top info. I copied it and the picture to a word file and am sending to my hubs who is at work. Want him to see and start thinking about it. Some could line our fence in back...
There are several reasons I like straw bales: 1. it is a clean way to garden, 2. because plants are growing higher off the ground with good air circulation there seems to be fewer bugs and problems with disease, 3. you don't need a good soil, i.e., it works on rock or my caliche, 4. there is a lot of plant growth and the production is fantastic, 5. other than some wheat sprouting in the bales there are no weeds to deal with, and 6. most important for my bad back is not having to use a shovel or hoe.
The tiny caveats: 1. they work better for me with the bales boxed in, and 2. You need to get the watering down so the bales are kept moist.
About your growing potatoes in bales the bales may be to tightly packed for good potato growth. I have read where potatoes do great in straw but I think the bale had been broken and the potatoes were growing in loose straw or the straw was second year straw bale gardening straw meaning it had mostly composted itself therefor being loose and somewhat fluffy.
T-Rock, I took some time to preview your pictorial in the straw bale gardening section and it has given me some ideas which I need to work out in my head. I may have misinterpreted one of your pic on growing tomatoes. I thought you had made a square with the straw bales and filled them with compost or whatever you use for a growing medium. According to you pictorial if I understand correctly you are actually growing the tomatoes, squash and strawberries in the straw. I couldn't tell for sure if you were using either/or welded wire cages or cattle panels on top of the straw to hold the tomato plants in place but the pic with what looked like cattle panels had an interesting wood framed device to hold them in place. Although I had not thought about using straw bales for growing tomatoes it does give me some ideas on how I might be able to do something similar for some cherry tomato plants which I had planned on planting later in June and letting them sprawl.
"The tiny caveats: 1. they work better for me with the bales boxed in, and 2. You need to get the watering down so the bales are kept moist." If I understand you correctly here you place the four straw bales in such a way as to create s small square hole in the center rather than a large hole. And, how do you water your plants inside the straw bales?
You have opened up a whole new area of thinking with your pictorials using straw which will take me some time to digest. I spend a few hours each day just browsing through DG forums looking for new ideas and this certainly has some great potential. I do what I call subconscious thinking when I run across something new. Whenever I lay down to sleep I focus on an idea before falling to sleep and let my subconscious work on the idea while sleeping. I try to incorporate other ideas as well and you never know what you might come up with. Either way Jerry I will be spending a number of sleep periods thinking the ideas you have presented here. TUVM
Didn't mean to mislead you with the "boxed in" thing. I meant that in my case I like to surround my bales with R/R ties. When the bales break down the good stuff remains in the box bed. Come next season I just stack new bales on top of the old bales. This years bales are the fourth bales to be stacked in the R/R tie box bed. This years bales were set on about 9" of the residual from three previous layers of bales.
Last year I also processed and grew in two rows of six or so bales each that came together to form a 90 degree corner. I grew cukes and squash in these. You may have seen these in some of the pictures on the other thread.
If you start plants indoors and after potting them up to 4" pots want to put them outdoors to harden them off but don't want to drag them in every night straw bales can be used to make excellent hot houses.
I haven't tried it, but have seen the straw bale hot houses. I think it is a great hot house idea. simple and gets the job done.
About cross-ties.= how old do they have to be to be considered safe for gardening. I want to make raised
beds with some that I have here but I keep reading that I shouldn't.
Tex= do you line your cross ties with anything?
I like using tires too for tomato plants---they are free---but everyone says not to use those either...cant use anything
anymore for gardening unless its a fresh cut tree...sigh
It certainly makes sense now what you are doing Jerry and you did give me a couple of other ideas which I can spin off of here. I have tried the hot bed approach and considered placing potted hot peppers inside a covered double row of straw bales as well. However, the small opening with using four straw bales, even if unintentional, has given me some ideas, as well as using six or eight old straw bales for planting some sweet potatoes. It will take some time to think this through but I see some definite possibilities for our impossible and unpredictable weather patterns here.
[quote="CricketsGarden"]About cross-ties.= how old do they have to be to be considered safe for gardening. I want to make raised beds with some that I have here but I keep reading that I shouldn't.
Tex= do you line your cross ties with anything?
I like using tires too for tomato plants---they are free---but everyone says not to use those either...cant use anything
anymore for gardening unless its a fresh cut tree...sigh[/quote]
Cricket, most folks that reply to this question when ask on the Internet are against using R/R ties. I have probably read every argument against using them. There seem to be some folks that are OK with using older dry not oozing R/R ties. I'm in this group. Here is one site http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6985 that is OK with using them.
I line my R/R tie raised beds with tin roofing. I hand pick all the ties I buy and choose older dry not oozing ties.
I would agree with texasrockgarden on the rail road ties. Typically those sold for garden boarders have spent years in service and have leached most to the creosote out while in service. Using them to hold straw bales in place does not seem like much of a risk even without some type of liner which should not be difficult to construct if you are still uncertain Cricket.
I have given so more thought to the sweet potato planting inside a double row of straw bales and decided it’s worth a shot. The area I have chosen to try this experiment is a rock wall created from rocks removed from my yard and garden over the years. I have lasagna layered over the top of this wall and was planning on using it this season. The straw bales are from last season and somewhat decomposed and I liked your method of growing strawberry plants on top of the bales as well. I will have to cover these bales initially when planting some sweet potato slips but there may be sufficient time to transplant some strawberries which have grown too thick in their current location.
drthor, If they are blooming you will have peppers in a week or so. With the weather we are having they should set fine.
HoneybeeNC, I envy you as canned asparagus is one of my favorites. I grew asparagus in the early 80's with not so good success. I had dug a bed in this caliche that was 2' X 8' and 2' deep. I filled it with rich soil and had asparagus for several years even after I gave on gardening (at that time of my life). It finally died out and tree roots filled up the bed. As best I remember I would get a half dozen or so shoots and some would be tough as wood. I guess I didn't stay with it long enough or put enough effort into growing it to be successful. Maybe it gets too hot here in my region. I dunno.
After reading your post though I may try it again in one of my 27 gal nursery pots just for fun. I no for sure that multiplying onions do great in those big nursery pots!
Speaking of which here is a pic of a bunch I pulled yesterday evening for a salad I made last night. It is hard for me to believe that one onion planted last summer produced all these.
Honeybee I'm not up on the term Spring Onions but will do research. These multipliers taste like a mild onion but they don't bring tears when cleaning, cutting or eating. Bulbing onions are a once a year thing and storage varies. These little multipliers can be a year round thing just plant them in a huge pot or whatever in a sunny location out of the way place and let them do their thing. You will always have fresh onions for salads or to eat by themselves with meals.
I have been eating on them since Winter. This Spring they really started multiplying though.
Linda, I know you do most of your gardening in eBuckets, but just a thought on the onion problem. I grow lots of onions in my garden and I need to mound them like corn and potatoes as they grow, In the case of corn and onions this severs to combat our wind problems. I you are using transplants you could try trenching or setting the onion transplants in a hole and filling in as they grow. My plants usually are droopy just after transplanting along a soaker hose, but I give them plenty of water after transplanting and in a few days they straighten up.
I want some. [/quote]
I can send you a start if you like. I have two kinds. One kind blooms and makes seed and the other one makes tiny onion plants on the top of a kind of bloom stalk. These are interesting to look at. I'll take a picture of each and post later.
mraider, I haven't noticed any bulbs forming on the ones I'm growing so I guess they are not Spring onions but more like green onions. They seem to be attached at the bottom as I have to break them apart. They are like the ones my German grandparents had growing off in a corner of the garden. They never got replanted or anything. They were just always there. I was just a kid so GPs probably maintained somehow.
[quote="CricketsGarden"]Will the Violet Jasper actually produce violet toms?
The Phoenix look like nice tomatoes too. Are they new to you or do you know how they taste and produce and hold up to hot summers?[/quote]
Violet Jasper and the Phoenix are new to me I'll let ya know more about them when I get some ripe ones.
It's been a while as I have been busy working on a new chicken yard and working in the garden. I have to get up early to let the chicks out and they have to be shut up at dark. Some days I just stay over at the old place and work in the garden all day or work around that place. Not spending much time here so computer time is not so much as before. For us it's really cold her today so I'm staying in and spending a little time on the computer.
Well, the garden is coming into "High Yield" mode. About 25% of the onions tops have fallen over. The few fresh onions I pulled were about 3" in dia and sooo good. There is squash aplenty, Chinese cabbage is at its peak. Carrots are about half gone. Cukes are starting to do their thing. I picked 4 yesterday. Radish are about half gone. Beets and turnips should be ready soon. They are about the size of a half dollar, now. Herbs are good...dill, basil, cilantro, leaf celery, parsley and sage. The first female blooms on the cantaloupes and melons are starting to set fruit.
I have been picking ripe tomatoes for a week, now. Violet Jasper is pretty to look at, but not very tasteful and it has a mushy mealy texture. I will not grow it again.
Rambling Red Stripe is a beautiful salad size tomato with loads and loads of tomatoes on each plant. The tomatoes have good flavor and texture. I will definitely grow this variety again next year. It has a prostrate grow habit with sparse foliage that leave the large clusters of tomatoes exposed to the birds who by the way really like them.
I have also picked JD's Special, Southern Night and Black Krim tomatoes. Southern Night is new to me and I will report on its taste later. This is my third year growing JD's Special and Black Krim and they are among my favorites.
Oh, last but not least the 26 new 6-week old chicks are growing like weeds and making their contribution to the High Yield thing by making lots of good poop for the garden. ^_^
Sounds like you've got it going on! I so hate I wasn't able to set out early like you and dreaves and drthor did! But, my time is fast approaching!
I'm meeting with a landscape designer this weekend, moving toward a plan for my yard. I'm so torn between keeping the semi-lush St. Aug grass or having it pulled up and creating pathways to the raised beds I'd like to have.
on the tomato side, my Black Krims (my 2nd all-time favorite, after the Pruden's Purple) are performing miserably! The plants look healthy enough, and there are blooms, but no fruit set to date. I'm holding out hope that the DsTM aren't nearly up yet, but, realistically if they don't set fruit in the next couple weeks, our temps are going to dial up to the 90s and that'll be all she wrote for fruit set...
I might have to bum a couple of your Black Krim seeds for a fall plantout, if you're saving any. LMK.
Yes! I've been in my house since October, but have been up to my ears with the tomato and bell pepper seedlings you've seen, and reestablishing my growing containers.
I had already moved 2 yards of veggie gardeners blend from my old house to my nephew's place (where I had expected to live for 6 months...). I built that lovely 3'x16' raised bed and was all prepared to do the fall/winter gardening there. When my tenants decided to move out of my house (I never asked them to move out, nor did I want them to), I had to regroup and move everything from the far north side of Houston back to the far south side!
I started with retrieving ALL my gardening paraphernalia, and, because the original plan was to leave the garden soil for him and his wife to make flower beds, I had to start making container potting mixes, 'cause I had nothing to fill my eGarden with!
I've been either sowing seeds and babying seedlings, or sifting and mixing Tapla's 511 container mix since January! Two weeks ago, for the first time, I came home and stood in the yard taking a 360 degree assessment of all that was finally up and growing in containers. It's not much, actually, but it took a whole lot of long hours to get to this point.
I started with sifting through 1/2 yard of the pine bark fines (approximately twenty-two 5-gallon buckets + two 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes full...), added 1.5 LARGE bags of MG potting mix, and 4 cu. ft. of perlite. That's a lot of mixing...
I have, to date, 4 EBs of onions going strong, 11 tomato plants, 6 pepper plants, 4 Irish potato and 1 sweetie containers going, all in the container mix I've put together from scratch.
I am soooooooooooooo excited about sitting down with this professional landscaper to have him flesh out possibilities for transforming my yard into the outdoor growing/living space I want. It'll be a project in motion, over time, but at least I'll have a plan in hand. I've decided I'd much rather live outdoors than in, so that's how it's gonna be!
Whee! It's been a busy month. The hot unforgiving wind is beginning to take its toll on the garden.
Maters are about 85% harvested. Squash plants have been pulled and fed to the chickens. I have enjoyed lots and lots of fried squash. All the greens are long gone to the chicken pen. The bountiful onion crop has been harvested and put under the shed to cure. The garlic is out of the ground and curing. I'm still getting a few carrots, but they are starting to lose there sweetness. Peppers are starting to kick into high gear. They like hot weather if you can water so as to get their roots deep. My one eggplant is doing great with lots of eggplants. Cukes have done pretty well so far. I seemed to have lost my magic wan for growing okra. It has been a struggle to get plants to grow large enough to produce. Same thing last year. There is still time and I'll keep planting in different places until I get it right.
A word about the Bhut Jolokia pepper, it is hot. However, I added two chopped Bhuts to 7 pints of Ball's Zesty Salsa recipe and it turned out just right for my taste buds. I am looking forward to making some hot vinegar sauce using one or two Bhuts per bottle. I use the hot vinegar sauce with olive oil to dress my tomato, cuke, & onion salads. Tis the season!
Long days - up at dawn to turn out the chickens, put the chicks to bed at dark, can until midnight. I am just about ready for a short rest.
My first cannings since the early eighties. It didn't take long to get back into the groove. The Tomato Gods have been good to me this year.
Just finished trimming off the dry onion tops. They were pulled around the middle of May (I forgot to write it on the calendar) and spread out on the ground in the area of the barn that is covered, but open air.
Now they are ready to go under the cabin to be stored on baby bed springs that are suspended from the floor joists. The cabin is on pier and beam with skirting all around making for shade and good air flow.
The picture shows them in a trough used for mixing concrete.
I planted three bunches of the Short Day Sampler (Texas 1015Y (yellow), Contessa, and Hybrid Southern Belle Red) from Dixon Dale Farms in Carrizo Springs. This was a good way to go for me. Will probably do it again next year.
Wow, that's fantastic! How long do you have before they would sprout? When I buy organic onions, sometimes they seem to last a few weeks and sometimes not. I planted 2 sprouted onions but am not sure what they are going to do! Do they multiply? They are just some kind of org. yellow onion.
How long do you have before they would sprout? If I keep them dry, sometime in late Winter or early Spring.
I planted 2 sprouted onions but am not sure what they are going to do! They will go to seed.
Do they multiply? Maybe, if you leave them in the ground long enough and keep them alive.
They are just some kind of org. yellow onion. How can you tell if it is an organic onion? Where do you get them? How can you trust those who claim their product is organic? Just curious. I always have my doubts, but then that's my nature.
T, you Rock!
I planted one bunch of the same 1015 Sampler, and my onions are just a little bit smaller than yours. Did you go the whole 6 months or were the drying tops your "time to harvest" indicator?
My yard man came through yesterday, determined to half-do my yard, but, since I was home, I wasn't having it. I moved all the tomato containers so he could take down the 18" grass around them, and, I used a long piece of moulding to lift all the onion tops that were hanging over the EBs, so he could use the weed-eater. It looked so good after he finished!
From all that I've read, I've come to the conclusion that starting off with onion plants (not green onions, but, plants that look like green onions, and will grow to full-size bulbs), is the best way to go in our area.
At some point, I may try to start some onions from seeds, but, it's a pretty tricky and laborious process. "The Bayou Gardener" has a whole tutorial on starting onion plants from seeds. You can find him on YouTube. It was a fantastic tutorial, and gave me great hope, but it was almost a year-long process, from seed to table...
I'm almost up to 6 months of growing my current onions from starter plants. Add 3 more months to start from seeds, and that's 9 whole months. I've only grown one veggie plant for nine months, and that was my one and only baby! And, that was truly a mistake!
I planted these onions sometime around mid December or just a little after so that would make them in the ground about 5 months.
As you know I try to follow Dixondale's instructions as much as I can. Here is what they say to do, "Water thoroughly after planting, and regularly thereafter. Onions have shallow roots, so don't let the soil at the base of the plants become dry and cracked. Over watering is equally problematic. If leaves develop a yellow tinge, cut back on watering. The closer to harvest time, the greater the need for water. However, when the onion tops start falling over, stop watering and let the soil dry out before harvesting."
Once the tops start to fall over and you stop watering it takes 2-3 weeks for all the tops to be down. I start using the ones whose tops fell over first within a week or two (edit - pulling them as I need them). They keep tasting better from then on.
I bought a bag of org. onions from Randall's grocery. So, I just assume they are organic. Plus the fact that they sprouted fairly quickly. But only God knows FOR SURE if they were organically grown :)
Thanks for all the onion growing info! I'll copy it to a word file so I don't forget. Janet
Epson Salts are used for several purposes and rather then dump the water, I wonder what solution might I use on which plants? I read where house plants benefit and I also read where some suggest using the granular form when planting tomatoes and roses.
I'm planting our vegetable garden, primarily cucumber, tomatoes and pole beans on straw bales. Also I'll be transplanting flower seedlings, kohlrabi, zucchini, sunflowers, butterfly bushes, etc, etc.
What benefits from magnesium sulfate, and how much is safe to use?
As a foliar spray, what solution? When added in its granular form, how much? What guides or references might I refer to?
Epsom salt provides magnesium which is the metal in chlorophyll.
I would use a teaspoon per tomatoe or pepper plant.
And a tablespoon per gallon of water if making a solution.
It is a salt and there are some plants which do not like high salt concentrations.
I killed a stand of Campanula carpatica by sprinkling Epsom salts over them.
They were going yellow and I thought they were short on Magnesium.
Chlorophyll gives the green color to leaves, and plants must have magnesium to make it.
I just found this thread and was amazed. I think there is a lot here that I can covert to my home garden here in Alaska. As you say, you protect from heat and I protect from cold. I am really intrigued by the straw bales but think I should stick with buckets, like eBuckets. I just don't have much room. Although there is one little end of lawn about 5' wide that gets great sun almost all day and gets watered when I clean the fish pond (vacuum evacuates water to this patch).
So you just plant the tomato in the bale with no dirt other than what was in the pot it grew in? Seems like its roots would get too dry and hot. Even if you water regularly. I have enough plants to experiment with, however, and would really like to try. A couple in my raised beds with hoop covers, a couple in straw bales and a couple in ebuckets. The ground is too cold here to put them directly there. The only other area is out front of the house (in a subdivision) but I have to be careful what I put there as I have moose problems and they would destroy almost anything to get to nice succulent greens.
One year, I grew tomatoes in peat bales.
The bales were hollowed out, and some good soil placed in ---as the tomatoes were planted.
You leave the plastic cover on the bale, and cut it out on the top.
Drainage holes need to be made in the bottom plastic cover.
The tomatoes did not dry out as fast as in pots.
These were used for two or three determinate plants.
Must do that again!
ROTFL. Oh but such fun. Send some of that stuff my way. Oh, but you did!! lol. Wish DG had the emoticons. I could use a few right now.
I am going to try to build my first eBucket today. I am more and more determined to expand the vegies throughout the flower garden one way or another and determined to have great tomatoes. Posed another small raised bed up on legs for one part of the garden and got a frown from DH. Don't know why. He hates to mow. We almost did away with the lawn out back last summer but in the end we liked the way it meandered between raised beds and the flower portions like a green river. I was thinking of turning it all over and covering it with chips and such. But it really is fairly maintenance free. Will have to walk through again to look for opportunities to put in vegie beds that won't make the lawn mowing more of a pain than it is.
Oh, I got my compost to rebuild my raised beds yesterday. Gag at the cost. Six of one kind and one of worm castings. Plus another oscillating fan for the garage to keep the plants from damp off and to strengthen their stems.