I started this thread to learn how grow better tomato plants in my Zone 8, Dallas, Texas.
We all live in different climate and zones, and to me it is really important to understand what works better in my kind of environment - that's why I'd like to focus this thread on what will work better in my area.
I'd like to share my experience with Davesgarden members and I hope to hear and learn from you in Zone 8 TX on how to grow great tomatoes.
I'd also would like to encourage other members to start selected threads to their area, so we can all benefit from their learning.
Good luck to y'all.
I have transplanted out my tomato plants last Friday February 17th.
After watching the weather forecast I decide to transplant out my seedlings.
Soil temperature 55F, outside temperature 60F.
Since this is Dallas, I didn't expect to rain ... especially all day and all night !
I thought my poor baby tomatoes did drawn ...
Instead they are doing just fine ... for now.
The plastic cover did really help with the rain and the lower night temperature.
They don't look any worse for wear! Good thing you had the plastic up! I'm ordering some from the Territorial link you sent me. How long are your pvc pieces? The perforated plastic is only 6' wide, so I'll have to cut my 10' lengths to make lower hoops, yes?
Also, I see a drip tape snaking through the beds? Is it on an automatic timer? How often are you cycling on and off, and for how long each cycle?
Gymgirl, my PVC pipes are 7.5'.
I sweet talk a guy at Lowes and he cut them for me in the store.
I have a soaker hose connected with a timer.
Normally I ran it 3 times a week for 20 minutes (making sure that the wather pressure is low).
I pin down the soaker hose just my the stem of the tomato plant.
On the new bed you can see in the first picture my soaker hose goes around 3 times in the bed, so I run it only for 10 minutes.
But honestly after the rain of last week ... I will not turn the water on anytime soon.
If you are able to see the tomato plants through the plastic you can see how only the upper part of the plants is showing.
Everything else is laying horizzontally under ground. So each plant will have at least 2' of roots.
This huge root made a big difference last year with our crazy weather.
I had tons of tomatoes and very strong plants.
Now ... I transplanted about 3 weeks ago my 4" best tomatoes in a 6" pot.
I left my second best in the 4" pot.
Both plants grew the same hight.
The plants in the 6" pot developed larger leaves and they were more stable, while the 4" pots fell down a couple of time and not so large leaves.
When I transplanted the plant, it was much harder to plant the 6" pots and easy to plant the 4".
Most of those huge leaves had to be cut anyway to create roots underground.
The 4" pot tomatoes were NOT root bound.
The 6" pot tomatoes were full of roots (even if I didn't like very much the potting soil I used from Living Earth Technology here in Dallas - but I think my plants did like it)
So ... my question is: is it really worth for 3 weeks to pot up my tomatoes in a 6" pot?
yes ... huge roots.
The roots are planted just under the soaker hose, so the all 2' + root will get water.
Seriously ... you remember last here in TX - this made a huge difference.
Let's see this year.
I also tried to plant each plant under a PVC pipe, so if there will be snow or something heavy on the plastic, the pcv pipe will protect the plannt better ... instead the plat be under the plastic and in between the 2 PVC pipes ...
I dunno how to explain ...
But in the past, with snow the plastic went down into the plants ...
You planted your seedlings as directly underneath a section of the pvc pipe as you could, so any weight on top of the plastic from snow, or water buildup, etc. would not cause the plastic to sag down and rest on top of your plant...
Just put your PVC hoops a little closer together. I'm also making my hoops removable by putting the ends through brackets attached to the outside of my raised beds instead of sticking them into the dirt within the raised beds. Lastly, at the apex my PVC hoops they pass through a hole driiled in the center of a 2" x 2" cedar board (length determined by the length of the rb) to stabilize and keep the hoops from collapsing under weight of snow or ice. I can also roll up the frost cloth from the bottom sides up to the top and attach it to the board on sunny days when I don't want the beds covered. No ideas were original to me; I just borrowed them from other people smarter than me.
Feel free to scold me again if I got off topic.(ha) I really do want to follow the rules.
I know some of you is growig this tomato.
After I transplanted the Momotaro outside ... I just realized that it has a kind of fur on its leaf ... I never seen before !
It is like the fur on the stem of some tomatoes ... but on the leaf .. interesting ...
Today my tomatoes are still good and alive. No signs of cold burn ...
Since my tomato seedlings are no where near ready to be planted out and I'm getting really impatient to do so, I thought I would try and speed up the next phase, hardening off, by putting my seedlings under a ceiling fan inside the house. Problem is the fan only has one speed, high. Can this damage the seedlings? Can I safely leave them outside for a while today (it's a windy day) if they are in the shade? I'm not sure of the timing and when the hardening off should be begin.
Also ... and very important ... it avoids the plants to cook under the sun ... if the holes were not there my plants would cook under hot sun ... I had to go move the plastic up and over again at night.
With the holes I don't do anything.
I hope it will work for you too.
it is very windy out today ... I think you will do more damage if you put them outside.
If your fun has only one speed ... just keep it far away from the plants so you don't cause a tornado ... duuuuhhhh
My seedlings have been in a room inside with the ceiling fan on medium, PLUS a box fan blowing from across the room, 24/7. They get enough breeze on them to move their leaves a bit without blowing them over or causing them to lean.
I have determined that the wind can do almost as much (or even more) damage to a seedling as the beating rain or scorching sun. I think that blowing wind actually dehydrates a seedling or young plant. In any case, I'd take the rain or the sun. I live in a wind tunnel, and this fall/winter, I had to put up a hoop to avoid wind damage to my fall/winter seedlings. That wind can be brutal to a young plant.
The good part about the wind tunnel was that, after my tomatoes were established last January, I got FANTASTIC pollination from all that wind! Didn't need a single bee to do a thing!
Looks great drthor.
I enjoyed reading about your tomatoes last year...as I am now too.
I just love your little mini tunnel. Reminds me of a caterpillar worm = the way it curves in and out with the landscape.
For those of us whose tomato seedings are not yet ready to be planted out, North Haven Gardens in Dallas is expecting to start getting in tomato transplants this Thursday. I haven't seen them anywhere else, have you?
I stopped in at Callaway’s this afternoon after receiving an email from them yesterday. Vegetable transplants are $2.29 today. Tomorrow they will cost $1.60 (30% off regular price). Even though I got the days mixed up, they still sold them to me today at tomorrow’s discounted price. They had a pretty good selection of tomatoes, peppers and other veggies. I bought one Box Car Willie and one Early Girl tomato transplant since I didn't plants seeds of either one this year. I also bought a flat of overbearing strawberries to replenish my strawberry towers. My OCD has been
allayed, at least for now.
Oh shucks, do transplants purchased at a nursery need to be hardened off?
I was afraid of that! Ok, give me the short-cut, Reader's Digest version of hardening off tomato transplants. Do you think that I will be able to plant them in the ground over this weekend? This time, please give me good news
Were the plants you bought from the nursery inside or outside? Was there any evidence that they had been outside at all? Many nurseries get plants from large-scale growers, so the plants don't see the outside until they get off the truck. Those have to go through a full hardening-off. Other nurseries may actually grow their plants. If so, the seedlings may have actually been outside some, and will take less hardening before you can plant.
>Hrp50 look at the color of the leaves. If they are a bright yellow/green they are ready to get into the ground.>
The color of the leaves do not dictate they are hardened off. You can have very bright green leaves, or very light green leaves, and depending on the soil, the fertilizer (if any), the variety of tomato, etc will play a large role in that color.
Just putting in some seasoned information so you won't lose your newly-purchased seedling, hrp. Bottom line, color of plant has nothing to do with whether they are hardened off.
They were probaly unloaded from the truck and put inside under a covered area of the nursery. I'm guessing that they weren't hardened off, but tomorrow I will call Callaways and ask. Meanwhile, they are spending the night outside so I can't even check the color of the leaves.
How do you tell if the plant has been hardened off?
Better to harden off and be safe than Not harden off and lose them.
MY Hardening Off 101 - (7 days)
Days 1 & 2 - locate plants outdoors in a shaded area (covered patio, carport, etc. ). Protect plants from beating rain and gusty winds. If temps expected to drop below 45 degrees, either bring them in, or protect them with sheets or lightweight blankets.
Days 3 & 4 - move plants closer to more bright light, but not direct sunlight just yet.
Days 5 & 6 - move plants out into direct sunshine for 1/2 day and back into bright indirect light 1/2 day.
I'd say that's a good guideline to go by, Linda. Keep in mind, Folks, on Linda's "Day 5, 6" to consider which "direct sun" you may have, be it 65º or 85º. All in all, she's typed a good program to follow, and feel free to take longer than 7 days if you like. I would also add to reduce watering so it more closely mimics outdoor conditions
"Horseshoe >" How do you tell if the plant has been hardened off?"
I go by the plant itself. Does it retain its vigor in the wind? In the sun? Does it easily wilt or does it stand tall? Did it suffer from any wind burn or sun burn (white-ish looking leaves or spots on the leaves), etc. Once your plant can handle daytime sund and night time coolness and still be "standing tall as a soldier" you're good to go. However, no amount of hardening off will help if your outdoor conditions are not conducive to setting out your plants (i.e., soil temp is warm(er), air temps are suitable for tomatoes, etc).
drthor (is that short for Dorothy?)
>I guess I dunno anything ... ohh My plants indoor have blue/green leaves ... after being outside the leaves turn yellow/green.:<
I've seen your tomato plants and beds. Trust me, you know your plants and garden. Good going. As for the leaves turning lime green that may just be due to a change of soil type, transplant shock/lack of root system being able to carry nutrients to the foliage temporarily, or the plants simply having to be acclimated to the direct ongoing outdoor conditions.
I love a spirited discussion amongst passionate tomato growers. I just spoke with a guy at Callaway’s and he told me that the grower raised the seedlings in a greenhouse and they were not hardened off by either Callaway's or the grower. I'm glad I thought to ask the question before I planted mine. I also asked the guy if an experienced tomato person could tell by looking if a tomato seedling had been hardened off or not, and his answer was “no”. I compared the tomato seedlings I started to the tomato seedlings I purchased and I did notice a dark purple tinge on the bottom of the leaves of only the ones I started.
hrp50, This time of year I have never had problems with planting store bought transplants immediately after bringing them to the garden. Rarely but sometimes I will protect tender plants that might have wilted a little with some kind of shade cloth or anything to filter hot overhead sun rays during the hottest part of the day.
It doesn't need to be elaborate, be creative, maybe an old sheet or t-shirt or re-may rigged over chicken wire bent in a hoop fashion covering just the top of the hoop. Back in the day my FIL made shade for his plants by driving 4 stakes in the ground forming a square about the plants. He used old sheets tied at the corners a couple feet above the plants. It worked.
Why lose a week parking your plants under trees, etc.? After a week in the ground it is time to start a liquid plant food regiment and you are off an running.
Actually now the sun is is still laying south and west, not directly overhead. Now days I pay close attention to cold nights and those 37 or so degree killer frost. It has been my experience that plants with an established root system survive these conditions better than newly transplants. So once again the sooner I can get roots growing in the ground the better I feel about them surviving and going into production before the real heat sets in.
A pic of what I use to shade plants from sun when needed and to support frost cloth when needed. I made a hoop with concrete rewire and attached shade cloth. They nest neatly and get stored away when not in use.
The "purple tinge" on the undersides of your leaves could be a signal that they are suffering what I have dubbed "Blue Baby" syndrome. It means the babies are too damp and too cold, at the same time. Could be a draft. They turn purple, like human babies turn blue when they're cold...Check 'em out, and lmk what you find.
OT: We had a room at home when I was growing up that was painted blue for years. All different shades of blue, at some point or other. It was dubbed, duh, "the blue room."
Fast forward, and years later when people visit our home, and we tell them something or other is in "the blue room," They have to ask... because it has since been painted a lovely shade of pink. But, we still know it as "the blue room".
Rock I'm confused you said that plant was put out in. 2010 but it's the first bloom of of 2012.
Your in the tomato forum so how can you be on the wrong thread? Your in the right zone, not that, that should matter because we can all learn more about growing tomatoes. If we don't need to learn anymore then what's the point.
As a small commercial grower Im sure that most plants on sale now would not be hardened off. There just haven't been enough warm days in a row to accomplish this. Even those I saw at HEB were in a protected location in mostly shade. You can pretty much tell if they are harden off by how they react when set out in their pots.
Hrp50 I've found my seedlings to have a blue tinge if it's cold, as mentioned above. I've also been told it can be a phospherous (sp?) up take issue. I've had it on my plants but it goes way when they get planted out, it was just "one of those things" but not a problem.
Thanks for pointing out that this is a discussion, we all have different experience levels and different experiences so we all have something to teach and something to learn. ; ).
On that note it's supposed to be 90 today 38 tonight and high 50s tomorrow. Very windy right now.
Ggirl my 1/16/2012 (not 2010 :) and my 1/23/2012 tomatoes were all planted in Kozy coats. We had a couple heavy frosts and one 29 freeze. Those nights I covered the Kozy coats with heavy frost cloth.
1lisac, 2010 corrected to 2012. Geeze I can't get anything by you all. :)
"...this is a discussion, we all have different experience levels and different experiences so we all have something to teach and something to learn"
Good point. There are a lot of right ways of gardening and each of us have to develop techniques that work within the parameters of our individual lifestyles. Being retired affords me luxuries I often take for granted. Hopefully others can take my ideas, grow them and send them back my way and so on and so on.
True that on the wind. I just watered to keep the soil from forming a crust around the beets & greens that have only been up about a week . Also the carrots that started coming up yesterday. They will need to be sprinkled everyday for a while.
I noticed you have warm temps in tunnel and soil beneath. It's a good thing. My tomatoes growing in pots with the Kozy coats accomplishes similar warm temps. One of my toms is at the top of the 18" Kozy coat.
Yep, barring any weather catastrophes it sure does look like a good gardening season coming up. We get one of these about one year in 15 or 20.
You were probably correct about my tomato seedlings having a purple tinge on the bottom of the leaves due to the soil being kept too wet. Today the soil had dried out and the purple tinge was gone.
Tomato plants are growing well.
Sunny day but very windy today.
I think "tomatoes season" = "windy season" ...
The plastic with holes (from Territorial Seeds) is really doing its job.
Tomatoes are just cozy inside ... while everything outside the hoop house is blowing around like crazy !!
I watched the video and it helped solve some of my confusion on how to plant leggy tomato seedlings. I always wondered how you bent the stem 90 degrees upward without breaking the stem, but the guy in the video showed how he left the tomato seedling slanted as it comes out of the ground or seed pot. Then in a few days it straightens up when it starts to grow toward light. On the same note is that what you do when you set out your seedling in the ground and then they straighten up? I have several lanky seedlings that I’m going to have to plant that way or else I will have to plant the bottom part of the root system a ½ foot or more deep in the ground so that the soil level is just below the first set of leaves and the tomato plant is standing up straight.
I secure the end of my tomato plants to a small stick ... otherwise they will be slanted ...
I just use the smallest sticks I have (the one that always break), maybe 1' tall off the ground.
It helps ... later the plant will be secured in place by a bigger cage.
yesterday I bought 2 gallons of WORM WINE from TX worm ranch at the Coppell Farmer markets.
Assuming I will use the method of burrowing the lower stem in the ground sideways like you do, what is the optimal depth that the tomato should be beneath the soil level? I have one tomato seeding that is almost a foot and a 1/2 tall that in the past I would have planted deep but straight up and down meaning that the roots would be buried possibly a foot deep. Is possible to plant a seedling's roots system too deep? I’m trying to figure out if I’m better off using my old method or your method.
Drthor, I watched the video 3 times, and cannot hear what he is saying to mix with the soil when you plant them. He says not chicken or steer manure, but something else. What is it? He drops his voice when he says it, plus he is talking so fast. We, out here, are not used to that fast talk. LOL
jnette, he says (rather quickly) "buy a great bagged mix", basically telling you to stay away from steer/chicken manure or some cheap product like "topsoil", etc.
In your containers or raised beds if they are fully amended already you shouldn't have to add any soil amendment, just fertilizer/plant food.
hrp, when you trench plant your tomatoes the idea is to keep the plant in the warmer soil, not deep where the soil is still cold. Depending on your soil type this will vary. You can tell with your hand where the soil will start dropping in temperature when you dig the trench so use that as a guide. When I was trying to be the first at the mkt with early tomatoes I would often pre-warm the soil by opening a trench and let the sun warm it a few days before plants. You might like to give that a try, too.
Yep, normally raised beds have warmer soil than row-garden soil (unless the row garden soil has been tilled/plowed for a time before planting in it).
If your raised bed soil is nice and friable I have no doubt it will be just fine to set your plants in. I'd shoot for placing the root ball about six inches or so then angle the plant stem slightly upwards at an angle. Where the top of the plant is to be left out of the ground you can then just lean it again the "end" of your trench, supporting it again the dirt at an upward angle, not sticks or support needed. The end of the trench will be the support. I'd also recommend keeping any wet leaves off the soil surface if they get wet when watering them in.
Thanks Shoe. i.e. some compost. I am thinking of using buckets this year. Altho, last year I had the shortest season ever, and the best flavored tomatoes. I planted in alfalfa bales rather than straw which I had been using. Do you think?????Jeanette
It is funny you did ask me if I understood better English than you ...
You know .. I still watch TV with subtitles ... and my written English kind of suck ...
hrp50, using my common sense, I think if the tomatoes are planted down lower they will stay cooler and also more wet ... which is good in our area when the heat start.
For me ... I rather dig a long trench instead to make a huge hole ...
You know Shoe, I normally like to try different kinds of tomatoes 'cause I only grow about a dozen plants. Well, the ones I started from seed froze the first night I put them out so I had to go buy some. I bought from a grower who had a hundred or so of her 6000 plants left and you know, the labels were all mixed up when they started producing. I knew they were not the kind labeled, but they all were delish!! I had Early Girls, Oregon Spring, Mtg lifter, Goliath, Sun Sugars, Jelly Bean, Pineapple, and some others. But, they all were the best I have grown. So, don't know which were which. Also Pink Brandywines, Amish Paste. etc.
But you are right. I was shocked. Within 2 or 3 weeks once they started coming on, they were looking great. Must have been your cheer leading. :0)
Drthor, LOL, I didn't really take it the way you did. Just that people in different parts of the country do speak differently than others. Also, my computer speakers are not very loud so can't turn it up. People do tend to drop their voices at the end of sentences. Have you ever had someone leave their phone numbers on your answering machine and had a problem with the last number? 'cause they dropped their voices on it?
p.s. I do not like the silent movies. They are like operas if you read the subtitles you miss the expressions on their faces. I don't like that. I don't see anything wrong with your written English.
you are very funny.
I am Italian and I have been living in the USA for only 13 years ... that's why I still watch the movie with subtitles ... but the volume is also up ... so I can hear words and look how the words are written ...
If you read some of my old posts you can easily understand that I DUNNO speak proper English ...
OMG ... You froze your tomatoes ???
Please write more. I look forward for you next posts.
Today I did apply the WORM WINE to my tomatoes.
I wish I had some pictures, because the plants grew at least 3" from last week.
It was just such an operation to remove the plastic cover from one side while the wind was blowing like a 'super-sonic blast" ... I had to do it really fast ... so no pictures yet ... but everything is doing great !!
The weather in Dallas has been great ... apart for the wind.
I had my first tomato loss today ... ooohhhh
One of my Black Krim and I am so happy I have another one.
It was in my new bed and I didn't realized that corner was not draining really well and the soil stayed so wet.
Ooohhhh my baby ...
No worries ... I have some extras still that I can plant !
drthor, I just hate when that happens...I failed to cover plants ONE night last December and lost three really nice Black Plum plants. Could not replace them until now. Waiting for the wind to die down, so Cricket I feel your pain too. Current wind speed is 8.5 but it's been gusting to 20 or better.
Kevin, I bought all my Kozys online. The first 9 were 3/$12.95 and the rest on sale @ 3/$7.95. I put the Kozys on after plants are planted in their permanent spot.
I planted 16 tomato plants early in 13 gal black nursery tree pots and put the Kozy coats over them. This time of year the soil in the pot is warmer than the ground soil and the Kozy coat creates a warm environment about the plant which is especially important at night. Another plus this year has been the mild winter in my area.
I've started some squash and cucumber seeds and they have begun sprouting. Even as sprouts they will go in the ground later this week under Kozy coates. This is an experiment. If successful it will put the cukes 2 weeks early and the squash 5 weeks early.
I like your courage.
Please report your results on the cukes and squash. I did start a thread for zone 8 for spring/summer 2012.
I'd love to know if you can grow zucchini so early ...to avoid the SVB ...
TRG, thanks for the info on the Kozy's. Will look for them online.
I understand the containers warming up quicker then an in-ground garden, and we have 2 decent size raised beds. With the hot, dry summer we had last year, would it be too hot for the tomatoes later in the year?? Our cherry tomatoes in the raised bed did real good, but the others hardly produced at all. They grew to almost 6' tall but hardly had any blooms and any about 10 maters...
We tried Topsy Turvy several years ago and had no luck, thinking the big problem was the heat. It's been real bad the last couple years, but HOPEFULLY this summer might be a little different...
Cherry tomatoes do much better in our climate.
This year I am trying some larger tomatoes ... but I started them very early.
This is one of the reason why I am starting my tomatoes so early, because they will stop producing when it is too hot.
I hope I will have the same result as I did in the previous years: I had tomatoes from April to mid May ... after that the fruit will not set.
I have fruit set all summer long even in the heat. Last year was not a good example it wad just too hot. I have large, medium and cherries all summer long. Mortgage Lifter had good fruit set even in the heat. It does slow down in the heat but it doesn't stop. At least for me and my neighbors,I've been gardening in this area for nearly 20 yrs. This last summer was just too hot and dry.
Momma and the grand daughter LOVE the cherries, but I've never really liked them...just not impressed with the taste...
I grew up in North Jersey and grew the Jersey Beefsteaks from 30+ years ago. They were HUUGE and actually tasted like a tomato!!!
Last year we had the cherries way into October, and the okra went absolutely crazy last year. Cukes were mediocre...Beans were a BUST!!! And we grew about 6 watermelons by the vine on the perimeter fencing. That was fun, supporting a 15# on thin-wire fencing.
kevcarr59, My tomato growing goes like this: 13 gal pots start producing first and they go in decline first; raised bed starts producing second; the wheat straw bales start producing last and the raised and the straw bales finish about the same time.
The 13 gal pots get 6" to 8" of free mulch from County packed around their base. By the end of the season the tomato roots have grown out the bottom of the pots and out under the mulch. The roots are about the size of a pencil.
My tomatoes are doing really well.
They are starting to grow new leaves and I can see very small tomato blooms forming.
Here some pictures ... a little foggy because I took them on top of the plastic hoop house.
Today I replaced the two tomato plants I did drown ...
The good news is that the soil is finally drying up. We are having such an amazing warm weather.
When I removed the drowned plant I noticed that there were new roots on at least 1' of the tomato stem under the soil ... I think the drown plant would have recovered.
The very bottom of the stem was all wet and rotten ... so sorry my dear plant ...
I did have a few extra tomato plants ... so I just replaced them ...
But I planted the bad tomatoes on my compost pile ... just as an experiment ...
Maxine wrote:Does any one have a few seeds left over from planting "momotaro" heirloom tomato?
I looked on the net, but jeepers they want to sell so many or not any!
Momotaro is not an heirloom, it's a modern hybrid.
Where are you looking? Kitazawa carries Momotaro - that's where I went for mine, partly because I wanted some other seed from them - but their seed packet only contains 12 seeds. That's barely enough for a couple of succession plantings, allowing for less than 100% germination, with maybe a few plants left over to give to friends nearby. IMHO the shipping cost on single packets is much harsher than the actual packet prices.
Good morning. We r new to New Braunfels and I am hoping to be successful with some tomatoes this year. I am going to have a "keyhole" garden but would really love to see anyone's garden n the area that has had plants n the past. I used the tomato water walls in Alaska but was not impressed BUT it appears that they are a good thing here. I am VERY visual and reading what everyone is doing sounds so interesting but I can't really picture all of it. Is there anyone in my area that might be willing to let me "visit" and share some wisdom? I would be glad to help with planting, weeding, etc
Here a picture of my tomatoes under the plastic cover.
They really did enjoy the cooler weather (just a few hours) and the nice rain.
The plants have nice green leaves and they are growing taller.
They are also making flowers.
I will post more pictures soon ... under the cover (my DH took these picture)
Some updated pictures of my tomatoes.
The weather today has been really nice and I just pulled up the cover.
The wind is also not a problem.
With all the rain we had last week, Pill Bugs are back ... so I did trim all the bottom leaves touching the soil to avoid any Pill Bugs damage.
My tomato plants are growing good and they have lots of yellow flowers.
I did start to fertilize them with 1tbsp of BAT GUANO each plant.
Some of the plants are touching the plastic cover on the top ... but I have to keep the cover a little longer because the wind is so strong ... it will just decapitate those babies
I remember the wind this time last year and how every day for three or four weeks we had wind gusts up to 45 to 55 mph. I can’t remember past years since I just started gardening on a serious basis last year. It looks like this year is stating off just like last year (it’s so windy today I think I just felt my house move). Is this going to be a recurring situation? Can it be blamed on La Nina or El Nino? I must invest in plastic covering with the little holes in it. Drthor can you post once again where you buy yours?
Jnette ... the wind is so strong right now, hrp50 is right ... if I don't protect my tomato plants they will be flying straight to your home ... seriously ...
I did start my tomatoes on Roots Organic. I love it.
hrp50, it seems that when I have my tomatoes outside the wind is always blowing like crazy (at least in the last 3 years).
The plastic with holes let the wind in and out without damaging the plants.
I bought it here: http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1666
Ok Drthor, the reason I am curious about the RR plugs, is because I ordered some and they aren't here yet. Now I am wondering if I want to use them. I thought, who was it, Hornstrider, or one of the fellas that had used them and they looked so thick stemmed and full. But, he said they had so many nutrients in them. But now you are fertilizing with bat guano? Also, like I told you, the compost tomato wasn't damaged by the wind. I would think that would make them even stronger stemmed.
I don't want my tomatoes to get tall with a scrawny stem. I guess I will go back and see what he said about them. HOWEVER, I guess this all doesn't really matter as much as how do they produce?
Sorry, I am totally confused. Looks like I spent a lot of money for nothing. Maybe I better go back to my regular old potting mix like I used to. There certainly was nothing wrong with my tomato seedlings. I was just trying to get a jump on the season because we have such a short one. Thanks, Jeanette
I never used RR plugs. I think there is another thread dedicated to them.
Honestly I go for the easy/simple/successful method that works for me.
I start straight on 4" pots with Roots Organic media. I pot up once and that's it.
I never fertilize my plants while they are growing indoor, because the media is so rich.
My tomato plants have been outside for more than a month and they are starting making flowers and that's why I started to fertilize them. I love BAT GUANO (I buy it at the local Farmers Market)
The picture of the tomato growing on my compost pile was from yesterday and yes the bottom was all shredded away from the wind ... I definitely don't want this kind of plant in my vegetable patch ... I am just watching it for fun ... and it will be great to have fruits from it ... but I am not expecting much ...
Yes you are right the wind will make the stem stronger ... if it is a nice breeze ... today we are talking of "severe alert" kind of winds ... the kind that will blow me and you down ...
While my tomatoes are growing indoor I use a gentle fan to encourage a strong stem.
None of my plants has "scrawny stems".
It is hard to see in the picture, but my plants root system is about 1 1/2' - 2' deep - The outside part is about 2-3'.
Sorry I cannot help to decide if you want to use those plugs. I never used them.
What I can tell you is: before using this Roots Organic media ... I had so many problems and I was not able to grow plants as good.
You just do what it sounds good to you and stick with that.
Jnette-Hornstrider, to my knowledge NEVER said the plugs had any nutrients in them. He did post what he added to them and he also used another sponge plug that he liked more. Its all in the seed starting thread in the tomato forum. If you have any questions regarding the plugs dmail Hornstrider, I dont think he'll mind answering at all. What I like is "the no dirt flying around" but I start 1000s of them so I need to keep the cost down. But so far all of my plants have been ready to go in the ground at 6 weeks. I have peppers plants sown on the 17th of Jan that are 1' tall.
Root Organics on the other hand does have many amendments (fertilizers) already in it so seedlings started in that growing medium are being fertilized from the beginning but at some point they will need more fertilizer.
It is so windy here things are blowing by the window horizontally. Its incredible.
Have any of you started anything in Happy Frog? I have used that on my baskets etc. container plants, but have not started seeds in it. It also has a lot of the nutrients in it. It might even bee the same thing as the Roots Organic only a different brand. Will have to look. Shoot. Well, I will go back and try to find it.
Or, maybe just use the pro-mix like I have used in the past. I suppose I could mix some of each together. Whatever. Guess I will see what Hornstrider did.
I'm in zone 8, but not near ready to put seedlings out. It has snowed yesterday and today more than all of winter, and spring is almost here. Zone 8, but very far away from Texas, in the northern CA foothills...
At least you have some sort of blooms. You can look at the Crocus and imagine that it is a small yellow blossum that will transition from a small green bump to a large orb of colorful tomatoey goodness!
My plastic cover did really good yesterday and last night.
I couldn't believe that the hoop house held up yesterday with that very very strong wind.
I kept watching it from my second floor windows ... the wind was incredible.
The Fava Bean plants were just down on the floor, my beautiful irises split in half ... ohhh
... but the tomatoes did move just a few degrees under the plastic ...
Last night and right now has been raining - yeaaaahhh
The plastic is protecting from all of this rain.
Only one concern: is my new raised bed ... I think it doesn't drain well in about 8', where is flat ... My tomatoes in that area they just did recover from last storm ...
It was my fault, I kept the soaker hose going ... I am not used to garden with all that water and I didn't "think" ... ooohhh
Yes, it blew through. Thats what most storms do here, they come in with a bang. No damage that I can see but it came down hard with a lot of wind. The only damage was to my sleep. The storm is now East of us so they are getting hit now. What I CANNOT figure out is why they usually hit at night. I am glad I didnt have anything planted out, it would have gotten washed away or broken by the wind. THANK YOU for asking.
My tomato cages & transplants survived the wind. Everything is well watered! I planted everything except the corn in raised rows, and it looks like it all survived. Even the corn rows don't look badly washed. The softened ground helped the last of the beans planted two weeks ago to pop through. My soil forms a crust that causes seedlings to have a tough time pushing through. Normally I water very lightly every couple of days, just to keep the surface soft.
I'm hoping the tomatoes put on some growth with this burst of moisture and the warmth expected this week. A couple of plants already have buds, less than two weeks after planting. I would guess that most have grown at least a foot taller, too. I hope that the wind dries everything out enough that I can get the cherry tomatoes in ground before the weekend. They are hardening now, but are beginning to get root bound.
D, My soil crusts worse than any i have ever seen, and seeds just were not able to break through last year, so what i have been doing with great success this year is leave the seeds on top of the soil, and sprinkle a 1/4 or 3/8" inch of sand on top of the seeds. Works well for both vegetable and flower seeds.
What a difference today.
After the rain and the wind stop this morning ... it was so calm.
It felt like being on the eye of a hurricane.
I took advantage of this nice weather and I removed my pvc hoop house and built my final structure.
I am keeping the perforated plastic to protect from the wind.
I did half of my tomatoes today and soon I will do the rest.
In a few weeks I will remove the plastic and attach more wood posts to support the cages.
I gave a tomato plant to my friend.
He pot the 4" plant on a gallon container in January. Kept the plant in his green house.
He just transplanted outside.
His plant doesn't look really good ... but it has tomatoes ...
I removed the perforated plastic and I found lots of baby tomatoes in the bottom.
Still ... I think I might be a little behind my schedule compare to last year.
In 2011 my plants were much bigger ... I guess I am glad I didn't kill them all after all that watering ...
I am not used to garden with "soaking wet" soil ... so I learn my lesson.
Still I cannot complain.
I have removed the leaves below the first flower buds and also all the suckers
Really!! I am shocked that you have had no potato leaf tomatoes before this Drthor. You seem to have mastered the growing of tomatoes very well, but why would it be that this is your first potato leaf???? There are tons of them out there. LOL, maybe not tons. How about a lot?
Growing and growing.
In the first picture you can see my old vegetable bed on the left with the better tomato plants, while on the right it is the new bed ... plants are growing good now, but I had a problem with bad drainage.
I reinforced the wire cages and secured them with yards of twine ... now they can keep growing.
Yes, the plants are growing, making a lot of flowers and fruits too. Very healthy.
I have a small garden, but I like to grow so many different variety of tomatoes so ... I have to squeeze them together.
So far so good.
As far as production I can tell you that I normally harvest for 4 months and I have my freezer full of tomatoes for at least 6 months - plus I give some tomatoes to my DH pets.
At the very beginning of growing tomatoes didn't really know what "removing suckers" was ... so I had those huge plants.
I still had fruits ... but at least 1/4 of what I harvest removing suckers ...
BUT I was just starting growing tomatoes ... maybe I didn't know what I was doing.
It is hard to substantiate claims about results unless a controlled trial, same variety, same food and water is done to compare. When we have a gooz year, we think it is because of tbe new technique we started. Without a control, done at the same time and all other vaiables the same, there is no way to compare.
I know what you are saying David, however, if you are having 4 times better production and that is the only difference, taking the suckers off, which it sounds like that is what Drthor did, then I would think that should be a pretty good comparison.
Google up Suckering Tomatoes for Increased Production, and you will find lots of references both pro and con, but the majority that i opened seemed to lean towards better air circulation and plant size control rather than increased production.
I remember this same discussion back in the early '30's about suckering corn, to allow more of the limited water to go in to corn production, rather than just making leaves. Lots of formal studies were done on that, with the majority showing no increase in production.
But Faith, and the supplements that Drthor uses may well be giving her different results
I can see that with corn. However, suckers on tomatoes do produce. Guess my question is, if you take the suckers off, do the stems left to grow produce more fruit than if you left the suckers on to produce also. After all that is the reason for growing them. To get the most bang for the buck.
I really cannot answer that question for you.
It might be worth for you to leave all of those green suckers since you have such a short season.
I will keep removing them because it has been working for me in the past in my zone.
Just keep posting your results.
There is a lot of debate about pruning or not pruning. The first question is to define how you are measuring productivity. Is it the earliest fruit? Is it the most fruit? Is it the largest fruit, or is it the total weight of fruit. I think that depending on your measurement, you may get different results.
The argument for not pruning is that more plant means more energy production and more fruit. Plants don't "waste" their energy producing leaves--the energy from the leaves are what produce fruit. If leaves are removed, then there is less plant to perform photosynthesis.
I think that the concept of too many leaves limiting fruit may be the result of bad fertilizing practices. If a plant has too much nitrogen, then the vegetative growth is stimulated and less fruit is produced. That causes people to establish an incorrect cause-and-effect. The thought that, "I have so many leaves, the plant didn't have energy to make tomatoes" misses the root cause. There were fewer tomatoes because the excess nitrogen stimulated leaf rather than fruit production.
On the other hand, what supports the idea that pruning stimulates fruit production? Some say it is the increase air circulation, others say that the pruning protects against pests and disease. Others say that it is the competition for nutrients from other parts of the plant. There is evidence that pruning may cause fruit to form earlier, and may also help to make individual fruit larger.
My guess is that there are a couple of things working when a tomato is pruned. The first is that the pruning introduces stress on the plant. Chemically, the tomato says, " I can't grow more leaves the way I'd like to grow, so I'd beter start making tomatoes." The stress causes the plant to begin fruiting more quickly, to ensure it is able to produce seeds. Pruning secondary growth means that there are no blooms on the secondary growth, so the fruit forming on the primary stalk get all the excess sugar production--bigger fruit.
I would also think that it would be easier to see and control pests or disease if a plant was pruned. The downside is that if a pruned plant gets a foliage disease it is done. An non-pruned plant would likely still have enough foliage to produce some fruit.
However, the facts are that for more fruit that leaving plants unpruned is better. There have been several field trials, properly controlled with multiple varieties, that show pruning reduces total tomato production (in pounds), Those same studies show that pruning does increase individual fruit size and decreases time to harvest.
Here is one report from some of the studies I found. It is reasonably easy to read and understand:
David's post on the suckering seems to have pretty well covered it. With all other fruits, Thinning, or Pruning, does directly affect the Size, by reducing the Number of Fruits. I am sure this will also apply to Tomatoes, but i am not sure a comparable and accurate study could be designed that would show definitely whether a moderate number of large fruit would weigh more than a lot more small ones.
Each plant will have its own variables, compounding the difficulty of reaching an absolute answer.
Plus, each grower will have a different pair of green thumbs, so their results will also vary. drthor has found that pruning works to her advantage, but the chances are all of us will have different results, either up or down. We can influence the plants we work with, but we never have absolute control of them. Or so it seems to me.
I'm currently removing suckers from my tomato plants, but for an entirely different reason: my trellis is an overhead suspension line attached to each plant. Consequently, I'm removing suckers to keep my plant to a single main vine. I only have one plant that I'm allowing to branch (make a "Vee") off into a secondary stem. I'll have to attach that branch to an overhead line, and continue to remove suckers from that side, too.
I'm following Cricketsgarden's system that she uses in her commercial greenhouse (over 1,000 tomato plants growing side by side in 4-gallon containers, spaced as close as 8" apart). She has a bumper crop, and the vines aren't all over the place.
I don't like sprawling tomato plants for myself. This overhead line keeps them growing vertically without any other support.
Growing in the greenhouse, or a like environment is a different ball of wax. The high production is gained by the intensive management and the number of plants possible with the spacing and techniques. You can do all of that but weather control in your setup.
I am doing the same thing, removing suckers and lower branches, because i read here how you and Cricket do it, and I have 14 plants in a 5 X 10 space with 25 linear feet of tall trellis. So I am growing long and thin, instead of short and wide.
The tomatoes will be up in the sunshine and if the cool winds become a problem, i will be able to stretch plastic windbreaks on the outside of the trellis, so this will give me some control over the ventilation, heat, and cool winds.
Cricket has it down to a science, with feeding and watering done under micromanagement. I couldnt stand the stress. Most of the time Im lucky just to get them in the ground. From what I gathered from Cricket she knows exactly when production will slow and yanks those and starts again. Thats about the time mine are starting to produce for the first time. LOL Mine are in cages, some sprawl, either way they are able to root as they go which helps keep the plant strong. Right now my New Big Dwarf is doing the best of any (its in a container) it has huge blossoms.
I was really counting on this big storm to moisten the soil and make it easier to dig. But like David Ill have to keep waiting.
I think Cricket's way is the proper way to run a business, and I always tried to stay on top of the details as much as i could, but I am more relaxed now, as this is just a hobby to keep busy so far. But that was what i said when i started that Nursery and wound up with 30,000 trees and 30 miles of drip tube, when i sold it. But tomatoes are a very interesting subject, and i can see how it is able to fascinate so many of us.
I'm a little confused regarding terminology. Removing suckers is a relatively common practice but I can't say I know the advantages or disadvantages to it. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don't. They are great for rooting new plants, I know that.
But isn't pruning diffent then pinching suckers. To me they are not the same thing. Pinching the suckers doesn't severly alter the plant. But the practice could help with air circulation and keeping the plant size more manageable.
I just spent 20 minutes typing a long message... but lost it! The gist was that I am changing my mind about pinching/pruning for Texas tomato growers. The key is that in Texas, the heat cuts the growing season short. The benefit of earlier & larger fruit from pruning/pinching may produce more fruit by weight in the shorter growing season. If we had an unmodified season, not shortened by heat, then unpruned plants would produce more. Given that the heat makes a shorter season, then pruning may increase total production. This may also apply to the cold-weather climates that have short seasons (Jnette? Rick? Ernie?). Pruning may help for total yield there, too. I have enough Big Beef and Jet Star that I can take cages off a couple and prune and stake. Of course, it may be too late this year to really know, since my plants are all about 4-feet tall already. : /
Are there any other Texas or hot climate growers reading that may have done a comparison of pruned vs not-pruned?
Lisa-- I would say that pinching and pruning are just variants along a continuum. Somewhere in-between is topping the Sungold that would otherwise grow over 10 feet tall. Crickets pruning to a single vine is the most severe, while pinching the branches below the first flower cluster is probably the least severe. Pinching all the secondary growth (suckers) would fall somewhere on the lower end of the middle.
Lisa, to me the pinching and pruning are the same as far as the end product. EXCEPT that pinching means to me taking them off when they just start. (are not very big) And pruning means to cut them off when they are bigger.
Now, I think that by pinching them off early, you gain the strength that would be wasted by growing out the suckers and then CUTTING (pruning) them off. Not sure why you would prune rather than pinch unless you were not sure if you wanted to keep that sucker for a producer and then decided you don't want it.
Don't know if I made myself clear on what I was saying.
I don't know quite what you mean by gaining production by keeping the suckers off either by pinching or pruning David. I guess I know what you mean, but don't know the answer unless I try it. Which I certainly can, and will. How's that? To expect a huge difference like Drthor says she is getting tho, that would PROVE that it works. There is no other item that would make the difference like she is getting unless it would be ice cycles on them. And that would swing the other way. LOL
I normally prune mine, including 2/3 of the leaves and the tops (anything that does not look like it will have time to ripen or be useful goes) Any part of the vines that do not have a good production, about again 2/3 of the way thru my season. Very radical at that time.
So, maybe we are saying that if I were to pinch mine like Cricket is doing from the beginning, I might get a bigger production. We'll see. I don't think am sure enough of it to do all my plants like that.
I plant my tomatoes in hay bales. Last year I used alfalfa and had very good flavor. The several years previously I used strawbales. I do not know if the alfalfa was the difference, or??
Having had a crummy production year last summer from our tomatoes, and reading some of Cricket's hints, I've decided to do the pruning task to our crop this year. We don't have any problem of air circulation as we are at the top of the hill, and always have wind. I really didn't think of us having a "short" growing season down here in Texas. Last year was incredibly hot early, no rain, and wasn't the best year to get involved in gardening as deeply as I did. Our large tomatoes didn't do anything at all, only about 8 tomatoes off of 5 plants. The Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes were great, and with only 3 plants, in fact, I guess we had some that dropped seed because we had 6 or 7 plants that started in the same place again this year. I've moved them over to the other end of the raised bed where we moved this year's tomatoes. Today potted up 3 of those Sweet 100's in bigger pots & plan on putting them into 5 gallon buckets and give them a go that way.
I would agree with David that Cricket's single vine pruning is the extreme end of the spectrum, and there are certainly other avenues to go down to accomplish getting the most from our tomatoes.
Another important variant is the TYPE of tomato being grown, wouldn't you think?
I would expect much more production from pinching suckers off a smaller, patio, or cherry type tomato which is a fast grower vs. pinching suckers from a beefsteak or heart-type tomato that takes longer to grow huge fruit to maturity.
Does this seem like a viable element in the production equation?
I don't need a plant loaded with branches and limbs in my short 90-day window. I push the envelope, and my long-season, beefsteak tomatoes need every one of those 80-90 days to mature before we hit 100+ degrees.
If pinching all the suckers forces more energy to the tomato ripening process, then, "pinch on!"
I would agree IF the plant has a full growing season. Pinching or moderate pruning seems to increase early yield. When the season is artificially shortened by heat or cold, then forcing the fruit increases yield. The extra tomatoes in the early season increase the total yield because the plant doesn't produce normally for a "full" growing season..
Cricket just adjusted her pruning since she found out that removing the leaves under the first fruit set actually causes the fruit to ripen sooner. She has over 1000 tomato plants to deliver to market, so I imagine she uses whichever method gets her tomatoes ripe the quickest in her growing window.
Thank you for posting that explanation. I, too, had not associated "forcing" and my short growing season. Now, I have a better view of what has to happen, and when, for me.
Have a close look at those pictures.
I did remove the suckers ... at my best ... look how big and wide those plants are ...
Yellow Pear is already on top of my cages and strings ... ouch ... (this one is loaded with fruits)
Can you imagine what the plants would look like if I didn't remove the suckers?
... and it is only the beginning of the growing season ...
Yes, I admit, I squeezed plants together, because I'd like to grow different varieties ...
Anyway, this works for me in my little veggie patch in ZONE 8a.
David, Thanks for the explination. Is make sense now. I'm like Kev tho I don't feel like I have a short season but 1 long season. Must just be my Micoclimate. I'm interested to see the results of your experiment.
Drthor, I wonder if your tomatoes aren't ripening because it's so much cooler then last year. I know my market plants aren't growing near as fast as last year. The peppers are MUCH slower. They did have a growth spurt when it was warmer a couple weeks ago. Just a thought...
It is a big difference. Last year was crazy hot and it started very early. My plants loved it until it got record breaking. I was surprised how it effected the growth of my plants, this year is more normal.
I did find a baby tomato on my New Big Dwarf tomato plant. It a "new to me plant". I'm surprised how big the leaves and blossoms are.
I haven't seen them at TT, or I would have bought them there. I'll try to start a thread about the Dwarf Tomato Project tomorrow. Right now I have dirt on my hands, yah... Still. I've started others but I have to look what kind. Most of the types I got in a trade, the rest I got from Victory seeds, I thought they were kind of expensive. But the germination was 100% at least so far.
Jo-that's great to know. Did you grow yours in the ground or in pots? Mines in a pot, I'm hoping these can be my indoor outdoor toms during the winter. It's amazing that little plant can produce big fruit. Where did you get your seeds?
I had mine in the ground in front of my house between some flowers! Neighbors would marvel at the sight of so many big tomatoes on such a small plant. I will have to finsd a photo and see where the seeds came from- I'll get back later with that.
Everything is going well.
A cool front is going to pass by Irving tonight ... maybe 49F !
That's ok, it will slow down the tomatoes a little bit ... I am in no rush.
I will be gone in a week for 12 days ... I don't want any fruits to mature while I am gone, otherwise my DH will give it to his pets.
Those tomatoes are all mine ... my precious !
Our last first date is the end of May. But, normally our Junes are very cold and wet. Our first frost date in the fall is any time after the middle of September. We normally have one good frost hit sometime in the last couple of weeks of September and then it can be nice and warm until or thru October into November. Never know. But that one frost hit finishes it.
Just like the June. Mostly as stated, but could be nice. Trying to time growing from seed and getting them to the proper size most people give up and just buy plants In late May or June sometime.
Lisa, In defense of those "short, unpredictable growing seasons" I lived in North West Idaho, not far from Jnette, and while it is true we only had 100 frost free days, the long days produced tremendous amounts of growth. I raised over 27 pounds of potatoes on one vine, excellent growth on shade and ornamental trees, grass hay higher than the hood on the tractor, Cantaloupes that took first and second prizes at the County Fair, Grapses, etc, so it is just a matter of working WITH . the conditions you have.
Remember, Mother Nature is a woman, and you can force her only so far.
Yes Ernie, it could be the sun you have available also. I live on a mountain and surrounded by trees. My one option to try would be to have all my trees cut down. So it is a toss up. Do I take a chance on that working? You can't grow these big trees back in my lifetime if it didn't work.
You talk about about the long days of sun, well, I'm not going to argue with you, but my sun is over the mountain next to my driveway by 2:30 in the afternoon. All of those trees also keep it about 10 degrees cooler than just 40 miles south. So, guess I need a different hobby.
Maybe you could grow tomatoes in a hoop house or small greenhouse. That would help raise the temperatures at least. I don't think that you can do anything about the sun if you are living on the east slope of a mountain. You would have to make sure your tomatoes get sun from the sunrise until the "set" at 2:30. If you could do that, you would easily have 7-8 hours of sun which should be enough.
That's back to the lights,because you could build a roof platform that might get afew more hours of sun,with the trees blocking the sun ,but the sound of ancient trees they may be too tall for that and really even topping them is really not an option.I'd imagine the trees even block morning sun and it would be difficult to get more than a few hous of sun.
Oh well' gardeners loves and imaginations 'know no bounds"!!
Jnette, There was no argument or criticism of you meant in my comments. I was not talking about ripening cantaloupes in the shade on the North side of a mountain. I had to be careful, even on the South Slope of my property in selecting proper locations, not only to be sure they had sunshine, but the air drainage and wind exposure were also important. That was the basis for my comments that we can only force Mother Nature so far, and then she puts her foot down. Also, I was replying to Lisa's comment that made it sound like that part of the Northwest was much more difficult than it really is. It is true that 100 FF days is very short, but it can be very productive.
We all have problems of some kind, no matter where we live, and the benefit of these discussions is to learn all we can about how everyone copes with their microclimates, and then put in practice the parts that help us. I am having very different problems growing things here in CA, than i did in Idaho, but i still have problems that must be coped with.
Too add to Juhur's comments, you might want to study the angle of the Sun that hits your garden, as that angle is pretty low in the Mornings and Evenings that far North, and you may be able to just remove some lower limbs from your trees Southeast of that area and open up more sun on your plants. But I do understand that you are gardening under difficult circumstances, and applaud your efforts.
Yes, we all have microclimates and I keep forgetting that during the summer the days are longer (much longer) the further North you go.
Drthor- On another thread, dont remember what forum, some body posted a picture of a worm that looked JUST like a Tomato horn worm but it wasnt. It was on some other kind of plant. I wish I could remember the details, if I find them I will let you know. Anyway, what you found may not be a tomato horn worm even tho it looked just like it.
I have NEVER known a tomato hornworm to be all that choosy, have found em in very strange places, busy trying to get away from ME, or hiding just under the soil by the plants, but, do make sure with our bad season for bugs that it is what it looks like and not an imposter, I love your Italian, drthor- so much more understandable than the folx in NJersey, sigh, for instance
My neighbor and I pulled all the beets yesterday. I took enough for 5 pints pickled bring my total to date to 12 pints enough for one pint per month until next year this time. The rest I gave to the neighbor. He should have enough to pickle to make at least a dozen or more.
Amen, Mr. Reaves, Amen... I've done BBQ Cook-Offs and cook about 85% of the time at the house, AND YES, I KNOW HOW TO CLEAN UP AFTER MYSELF!!!! I guess I slack off at laundry at only 80%... I also deep fry turkeys, done about 500+, since all 3 sons were in Boy Scouts, and we fried the turkeys for Thanksgiving fundraiser. Did 56 at one time for our record. Another record, we never had a Scout burned or had an accident in 8 years of cooking...
Starting to pick up jars for the pickled okra and need some good recipes.. Will look at canning forum, and have found several already...
I am back in town and here what I did harvested yesterday.
Off course 1/3 of the tomatoes are missing from the pictures and went straight in my mouth !! so delish !
Cherokee Purple is the larger tomato in the middle.
All my larger tomatoes are still green apart this one.
Tomatoes are ripening so fast now ...
Some of my larger tomatoes are also turning color: Cherokee Purple, Jubilee Golden and Momotaro.
My most productive tomato at this point is GOLD NUGGET (yellow cherry), followed by Blonkpochef and Ildi
What a nice harvest drthor. It looks as if you are starting this year's tomato crop where you left off last season. I'm growing Gold Nugget for the first time this year based on your success with them. They are the only variety of tomato from which I've gotten ripe fruit so far, and they taste delicious.
I am glad you like Gold Nugget. I loooove it
Start to cut down the bottom leaves as soon as they will turn yellow.
Only this variety act like this in my garden ... not a problem.
I hope you didn't remove the suckers on this tomato, did you?
Gold Nugget is such a short, compact variety.
Does early blight cause the yellow leaves you're talking about? If so, I haven't seen any signs of it this year, while last year it eventually did in all of tomato plants starting the day I planted them in the ground. And I’m not removing the suckers and instead of caging them (Gold Nuggets) like I normally would do, I'm just letting them sprawl on the ground and it seems to be working.
Not to venture too far off topic, this year the birds seem to be ignoring my strawberries, blue berries and black berries, unlike last year. This season so far has been much less stressful and more enjoyable than last year because of the cooperation I’m getting from the birds. We’ll see how long that lasts. Also, I'm enjoying the two lizards that inhabit my back yard. They are getting so large and I hope it's because they are eating lots and lots of insects from my garden.
In the past, Celebrity has been very reliable. It's looking as if Gold Nugget may overtake it this year. However the season is still young. I really like the flavor of Sapho but I can't seem to grow them, while all of my friends growing them get huge production from their Sapho tomatoes.
This year I'm trying a new variety, Tycoon that I brought back from San Antonio. (“In 2010 the Rodeo tomato was Tycoon. The new introduction is going to have to perform very well to match the Tycoon. It produced large fruit on a relatively small plant. The Tycoon plants were very productive even in the extreme conditions of 2011. It won the top tomato prize at local competitions for uniform, well-colored, firm fruit. One of the most important characteristics of Tycoon was that it was Yellow Tomato Wilt resistant. The white-fly-spread disease wiped out many plantings in 2010 but did not touch the Tycoon in 2011”). http://www.mysanantonio.com/community/northwest/news/article/Rodeo-tomato-It-ll-be-tough-to-top-Tycoon-3323763.php)
Keep my updated on Tycoon.
I am actually not going to grow Celebrity next year ... or maybe I will grow until I finish the seeds.
Here is two of my largest tomatoes this year so far: Cherokee Purple and Jubilee Golden
Nice haul drthor! I'm only getting four or five small tomatoes a day, but at least it beats last year. I'm starting to get yellow leaves on my tomatoes but I don't believe it's early blight. It could be caused by some insect. I'm trying to find my magnifying glass so I can take a close look at the underside of the yellow leaves.
I also find some yellow leaves on my plants. but they are mostly on the bottom and where there are not tomatoes.
My common sense is that they are older leaves, so I keep cutting them away and helping the plant to push its energy on top.
I always did this way in the previous years too.
It will help with air circulation also.
At the beginning of July normally I will have just trunks of the tomatoes plant showing on the bottom.
The first week in July is when I transplant my cucumber plants under the tomatoes trunks. Maybe this year will be earlier ...
The top of the tomato plants will help to shade the baby cucumbers.
After the cukes are grown I just remove the top of the tomato plants and say Bye Bye to them.
A picture of my humble harvest today of Sapho and Gold Nugget tomatoes. This about equals my total harvest for 2011 so anything additional I get is just gravy.
If I can upload more than one picture at a time, which will be a first, there will be a couple of pictures of the yellow leaves on my tomato plants. The leaves are not yellow at the bottom of the plant where early blight starts but rather are in the middle of the plant going up to the top. Any thoughts on what the problem is?
I finally made it into in the house with enough fresh blueberries to make blueberry pancakes this morning. Next year I think I will replace my two raspberry bushes with two more blueberry bushes. The raspberry bushes have nice foliage but in three years I only got a total of about twenty raspberries, not worth the effort.
Congrats on your harvest.
I am not an expert on yellow leaves or blight ...
But for sure I will cut everything away right now.
When I harvest my tomatoes I always go out with two baskets: one for the tomatoes and the other for all the leaves that have a yellow spot on them or they look like yours.
So cut cut !!
Today I found my first tomato hornworm on my favorite Gold Nugget plant.
I have also killed 5 leaffotted bugs ... mosters
when I moved to Dallas a friend of mine told me that only Blackberries do well here.
I have tried Raspberry with no lack for 2 years ... I am done with them now.
So far I had good luck only with Blackberries ... which they are suckering everywhere ouch ... but they are good suckers, right?
drthor wrote:I have tried Raspberry with no lack for 2 years ... I am done with them now.
"Dorman" is the only variety I see consistently recommended for the humid South. I haven't tried it yet (I'm allergic to the thorns - get terribly itchy welts that take hours to go away even with Benadryl lotion or topical steroids).
I'm trimming my caged tomato plants (I have tomato plants I'm letting sprawl on the ground with no yellow leaves yet) around the bottom so the limbs don't touch the ground, even if they are not turning yellow. However, most of the yellowing leaves are in the middle portion of the plant, not at the bottom, which makes me question if it is something other than early blight. I think that I'll take a sample over to NHG today and see what they have to say.
I see in your picture that you have a pet snake in amongst you tomatoes. Do you think that really does any good? I have tried putting a life-like looking rubber snake in my strawberries and later found two halves of a snake, so the birds must have thought “who are you kidding” and then pecked it in half just to spite me.
Did you buy those plants? or did you grow yourself?
I bought only 4 plants at NHG this year, because I had a coupon I had to use.
All those 4 plants seems to have problems: small production, funny shaped leaves and aphid attacks.
All the ones I have started they are fine !!
Temperature is raising here in Dallas. Tomatoes are ripening very fast (at least the cherry ones).
I harvest the fruits as soon as they turn color in the bottom and let them ripen in the kitchen with no loss of flavor.
Otherwise they will explode from the heat and also the birds/squirrels will eat them.
In the second picture you can see Indigo Rose tomato. Purple on top and red on the bottom.
Not impressed by this plant yet.
In the third picture on the bottom-right is Momotaro tomato. The fruit tastes really great, but small production on the plant so far (but maybe it is my fault, since I started this plant later than the others)
I harvested this tomato as soon as it started to turn color.
This will be my record tomato this year ... I think.
It is VIRGINIA SWEET. It's final color should be yellow/orange.
It is just getting too hot and the tomato was cracking ... so I picked it.
Drthor? 90* shouldn't hurt a tomato plant that's well watered and fertilized proper, not yet, and let me ask you - since I know you do- when you bake a cake and you want it to taste good you add sugar and the top cracks-Everytime! But if you want it to look good, you reduce the sugar- no cracks but really pretty looking and tastes blah. Same thing with weather- it is the doom of every commercial growers greenhouse because too much water makes the plants grow too fast -ESP when the plant is happily trying to get it's seeds grown and kicked out the door! I was kinda thinkin we may actually have as mild a summer as we did the winter- tho I know that 111* out in Phoenix the other day did no make me happy! Glad you are back
That's great !
Kittriana you sound really experience on growing large tomatoes with no cracks in Zone 8.
Could you suggest a variety of a large no cracking tomato that you have grown before in our zone 8?
Pictures also could help.
Nope, can't even suggest these years drthor, once upon a time, yes. cracks never bothered us either- they were destined for a skillet of creole, or stewed tomatoes or a whole crop of short human garbage disposals, chuckl. Your crop of tomatoes looks so good to me it makes me hungry, when I did get home it rained for 3.5 days and I was outside in between sprinkles makin sure there would be fruit set for my daughters table. I only know she sends me pictures of each bug she finds on the plants, she always hated the crunchy ones!
More Virginia Sweet tomatoes. Those don't have larger cracks.
The taste of this tomato is just superior. Inside is very orange with red stripes.
Baker Seeds sent it to me as a gift and they are not selling them anymore ...
These are the tomatoes I have harvest today.
This year I am in love with a variety called :COYOTE
Days: 75 - Size: Indeterminate - Color: Cherry - Season: Mid-Season - Type: Heirloom
This variety was given to heirloom tomato collector Craig LeHoullier by Maye Clement during a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Harvest Fair show, as a cluster of fruit on the vine. She indicated that it grew wild in her home country of Mexico. It is a tiny cherry tomato (3/4") that ripens its prolific crop to an ivory, translucent yellow color, shading to darker yellow at the shoulders. Flavor is superb.
So far so good. All the hard work and risk on transplanting my tomato plants outside at the end of February was well worth. The plants are very strong and healthy.
I don't use any spray of any kind.
After I took this picture I realized that it looks like a butterfly ...
My tomato plants are loaded with fruits.
Every time I harvest the tomatoes in the morning I go out with two baskets; one for the fruits and one for leaves.
I trim any leaf that: is on the bottom touching the soil, is yellow or some part brown, is below the fruit production.
In this way I am concentrating the energy of the plant on the top ... making tomatoes.
Look at those pictures to prove this system
The bottom of the tomato plants are just trunks ...
I have started cucumbers indoor today and soon I plan to transplant them under the tomato plants.
The tomato's trunks will help the cucumbers to go up, while the upper leaves will shade the cukes..
By the first week of July the tomato plants should be done (it is just too hot here to set fruit).
So I will cut the top and let the cucumbers grow. This is my plan ...
Yup, very good plan! Lots of stuff to ripen for 4th of July summertime suppers! the heat- temps are how we ripen or slow ripening during transport of tomatoes- we choose a green tomato in the load, take it's temperature and watch the color of the blush as we drive for Hunts Point, NY and Chicago Farmers Markets. Too much and the tomato rots, too little and it remains green, that load of tomatoes are watched closer than a newborn babe! You tend your plants exceptionally well drthor!
drthor; I've been enjoying your thread , I see you cucumbers like starting in the shade some also.I have a tomato plant loading up with blooms only It's been in the 90's here and you know the story.Next week the 70's are well anticipated, and how do your cucumbers fare when the temperatures go way up. More clearly, what would you say is your cucumbers maximum temperature range.
Mine show signs of problems at the 90's especially when you add mildew or wilt in high humidity,it does and can get problematic some years.I've heard like melons that they are, they can take temperatures well into the 100's only as I have never seen any doing so I don't know if that is real or not.
So I thought I would ask a Texan, that would be a way to find out about a plant surviving in the heat.
Today was 95F ... which it seems hot too early for this time of the year.
juhur7, I just checked the pictures from my 2011 harvests and I have noticed that I harvested cukes until the end of October.
I grow the cucumber plants on cages, and I think the upper leaves shade the roots and the fruits. I keep removing yellow leaves or chewed up leaves. My DH pets love to eat them.
Last year we had a record of 70 days over 100F degrees (normally we have 4 days only).
I think my success with cucumbers is due to the fact that I grow only parthenocarpic varieties (grow fruits without pollination). In my opinion they don't stress so much in the heat like the regular cucumbers. But I dunno much ... I am just a lucky gardener.
Lots of tomatoes today too. They are ripening so fast.
But some variety are taking their time, even in this heat.
Example Red Fig, it takes time to even turn red inside the house. Also Yellow Ping Pong.
I like them very much and they don't spoil so quick.
Today I tried the recipe on page 62 of the last Heirloom Gardener magazine (from Baker Creek Seeds): TOMATO TARRAGON BISQUE.
I didn't have any Tarragon, so I substitute with Dill.
I have used the large Virginia Sweet tomatoes (the recipe calls for 4 cups of diced tomatoes) and they were just perfect.
If you have the magazine, you must try this recipe. It was so BUONISSIMA !!
drthor: I didn't know that about cucumbers that did not need pollination , Thank You.( I guess I must of been on Mars)
kittriana; You typed that in at the same time yesterday so I missed saying thank you also.If it was not for Farmers Markets ,Roadside and Open Markets, and the growers that truck to them, some of us would be without a couple of our fondest memories,Thanks again.
Here are the tomato I harvested today. First time that I harvest more red tomatoes than yellow ones.
The larger yellow are "Jubilee Golden" .. fantastic yellow/orange large tomato (a few are cracking).
Also my first Green Zebra ... first year growing this variety
As many vegetables as I haul they are the first thing I hunger for- I see the roadside stalls and there I go to grab a melon to chill under my truk a/c and tomatoes to eat - better than any soda, ahhh! I know many of them are just seasonal and sometimes what comes up from southern farms, but... In Calif out on the valley floor the farms offer local fruits and melons, vegetables and honey, and sometimes they will cut n chop and bag them for you, I cannot tell you how very good they are- I cannot munch down the road in Calif cuz the law tickets drivers for holding sandwiches or cell phones while driving, but I can find a wide spot and slobber all I want over my treasures, yummy. Especially after watching drthors green thumb harvests- she is so hard on me!
My harvest today: lots more red than yellow tomatoes now.
A big surprise of this year is GRAPPOLI D'INVERNO tomato. This is a huge plant. I keep removing the suckers and it is growing and growing loaded with tomatoes.
Their taste is good and they are about 1.5" red cherry with a point on the bottom.
My favorite yellow tomato: GOLD NUDGE is at its end of production ... well done !
My harvest today. It seems , again, that now I am harvesting more red than yellow tomatoes.
Also, the tomatoes seem to ripen slowly ... which it makes no sense since it is getting warmer ...
I found 2 very red tomatoes with a hole, like a bird was eating them ... off course he has to choose the very red ones ...
this is reason that I always pick the tomatoes as soon as they will turn color on the bottom and let them ripen in the kitchen ... I guess I missed those 2 ... but that's ok - bird you can have those ... but no more !
I have to admit : while I didn't like very much the taste of GREEN ZEBRA ... now this tomato is growing on me ... I think it tastes between a tomato and a kiwi ...
I love the look of the fruit in the salad.
I did purchase two of those Green Zebra plants at the garden store because I had a coupon to spend, so I didn't start them from seeds.
At the beginning I was kind of disappointed because they grew slower than others and one of them had a few fruit with BER (which I never had in my garden) ... and I also found out that this variety is 75% effected by BER ...
... but now both plants are loaded with fruits and their taste is really growing on me ... aaahhh
The other picture is INDIGO ROSE. I also bought this plant with the coupon.
By the way the only 4 plants I bought this year are the ones with the problems (lesson learn for next year)
Indigo Rose, started very slow. It is a very small plant. Tomatoes take forever to ripen. They crack and their taste is bland.
Nope, I will NOT plant this variety next year.
What is the name of the method you use to hold up your tomato plants, if it has a name? This year I'm trying both cages made from concrete reinforcement wire and letting them ramble on the ground. The rambling on the ground method seems to work best for the small tomatoes (gold nugget, sapho, porter, etc.) and the cages seem to work better on the larger varieties (big beef, cherokee purple, etc.). However, most all of the large tomato varieties I'm picking have BER, so I'm looking for a different large tomato variety to grow next year. Got any suggestions?
no, not production, just starting seeds since it is almost impossible to grow during this time of the year. I've learned from others here that you start seed now for harvest when the weather has cooled down. The in 2 months start another round of seeds for harvest before the heat gets a good hold here.
Longboat, I love driving through there, we looked at houses but way to many rules that you can't plant this, can't plant that, your fence,... so we are off Palma Sola Bay. I so love being back home.
I have just made up my tomato holding system ... my DH says that I am a tomato cages engineer ... aha aha ha
Could you send a picture of your tomatoes area, please?
As far as large varieties for our area ... I don't have much experience yet ...
To me, cherry variety give more instant reward.
The larger varieties I have tried and I will not plant again are: Celebrity and BHN 444.
I am thinking to substitute Black Krim and True Black Brandywine with Cherokee Purple next year. Those black tomatoes they all taste great, but Cherokee Purple was the only one that didn't crack.
The large tomato that really intrigue me this year is VIRGINIA SWEET. Baker Creek sent it to me last year as a gift, so I planted.
This tomato is huge. I harvested only three so far. The largest one was 15oz. The tomato is striped yellow and orange and it is so good and sweet. ... but it takes forever to get one tomato.
The plant now is huge and it has more tomatoes ... I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw 2 more tomatoes almost ready. I think I will break my personal record with those two. So stay posted.
So this will be the larger tomato I will plant again.
Baker Creek doesn't sell the seeds anymore ... but Gourmet Seeds does.
ah I forgot ... my large favorite tomato is JUBILEE GOLDEN ... a must have: large (8-10oz) totally yellow, juicy and sweet.
I plant this tomato every year.
Still Gold Nugget is one of my favorite yellow. I discovered COYOTE this year and I cannot live without this mini yellow tomato.
Also I looooove Black Cherry.
Last week at Coppell Farmers Market a vendor told me that after Gold Nugget his personal favorite is GOLD GEM ... so I ordered some of those for next year ... weeee
These are more VIRGINA SWEET. They are huge.
I think I will grow this variety again for fun.
I will not grow True Black Brandywinde and Black Krim next year. You can see why ... they crack really bad. So I am wasting half of the tomato.
This is my first year to grow a yellow tomato and I have two varieties, Gold Nugget and Sun Gold, and they're both extremely tasty and sweet. And I believe that the Gold Nugget has the shortest time to harvest, either 50 or 56 days, which is a big plus, so I will definantly be growing them in the future. I'm growing one Cherokee Purple plant this year that I purchased and transplanted around May 1st, , very late, but it only had blooms when I left and I don't know what has been going on in the past week I've been away. I’m very anxious to get home to see how the other new variety for this year, Tycoon, (http://www.mysanantonio.com/community/northwest/news/article/Rodeo-tomato-It-ll-be-tough-to-top-Tycoon-3323763.php ), is doing. I wonder if anyone in the San Antonio area where I found the variety, a “2011 Rodeo winner”, where I purchased the plants has had any experience with the Tycoon tomato?
Drthor, looks like you have rope, twine, jute, (?) going every which way holding up your tomato plants, but it obviously works real well for you. Are those tomatoes in the middle picture Sapho, which is still my favorite red variety and is always of uniform size, shape and color. It looks like Sweet Virginia should be in the running to be the large variety of tomato I grow next year. I will post pictures of my tomato cages and rambling tomatoes when I get home next week. I’m looking for a different and better way of supporting my tomato plants for my fall crop. Gymgirl has offered an explanation of how she does hers that I will try but I’m open to other ideas.
hrp50 mid picture is Sweet 100 and Black Cherry ... I think ... now they are all mix together.
Yes I use twine from one cage to the other. I secure the cages with wood stakes and run the twine. It really works well and it is really strong. Every year I add a few of those green cages. I like them, because I can store them very well.
I hope you are in Italy ... the Euro is really low compare to the USD right now ...
By the way: Tycoon seeds are not available for sale any where . Also Sapho's seeds.
When we are in Longboat Key around October, I always see this guy at the Sarasota Farmers Market with fantastic tomatoes transplants for sale for just $1.
Good luck and keep posting. I need to learn how to grow tomatoes in that climate.
In the pictures below you can see how I am training my tomato plants to grow horizontally ...
What I mean is that after the plant reach the top of my caging system, I keep bending the branches down and wrap them around the twine ...
In this way they are growing horizontally and ... it might just be me ... I really think they are producing much more in this way.
Just like with climbing roses, when I lay the canes down horizontally, they make more flowers.
Has anybody any experience on training the tomatoes in this way?
When are you going to write your own book on how to grow tomatoes? You just keep coming up with these great ideas. If I cull all of the techniques you've written about on DG and put them in a book and publish it, will I have to give you a cut of the profits (70-30 sounds fair, I’ll have my people call your people)?
On a serious note I just ordered a book I found on Amazon.com called the Texas Tomato Lovers Handbook by William Adams. I’m probably wasting my money when all I had to do was read the DG tomato forum.
Drthor- that Would be variation on upside down tomatoes, but natural to vines anyway, dunno if it's practiced or not tho in home gardens with space available to do that.Keep documenting what happens tho, pls?
What do you mean by "the growing season is about to start here"? I thought yous guys (no, I'm not from Long Island but my DW is) in Florida had a year-round growing season. Heck, we really have almost a year-round growing season for at least some crops here in Northeast Texas.
Not any more trouble that a second (or third) freezer can't get you out of.
Have you picked and eaten a Virginia Sweet yet and if so how did it taste compared to others you like? Are Virginia Sweets red when they ripen? I just placed my order for Golden Jubilee tomato seeds. If I don't stop ordering seeds I'm going to have to add a new room onto my home just to store seeds. Maybe it would add resale value to my home if I made it a combo room, a humidor, wine room and seed saver. I really should find someone to buy seeds with since I get 25 to 125 in a packet and I only start about 10 seedlings per variety and 10 to 15 different varieties per year. Oy!
Not that you should care, but I still think your blue snake is ridiculous and isn't keeping away even one bird. Of course this is coming from a guy that can’t keep the great state bird of Texas, the Mockingbird, from treating my garden like it’s their own private smorgasbord.
Point-counterpoint, and the debate winner is...1lisac. Sorry but 1lisac makes sense to me and is thus correct. Not only are male birds brighter colors than the females in order to entice them to the dance, I can think of many animals in the wild in which there is a difference in the coloring of the males and females. Besides Kittiana, have you really ever seen a fluorescent blue, psychedelic looking snake before?
With that little exercise over, back to tomato talk 'cause I know drthor is lurking out there somewhere and we all know she runs a tight ship.
hrp50 ... ah ah seriously my snake is working.
NOBODY will touch those huge tomatoes !!
I might have lost only 5 small tomatoes to birds ... and it was my fault, because they were bright red ... I should have picked them.
I have harvested 3 Virginia Sweet so far. The first cracked badly (while I was away ...) and the other 2 were perfect.
They are huge striped tomatoes: yellow and orange striped, look at the very top of this picture http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=9142439
The taste was amazing, but since they were just too large I made a Tomato Bisque ... BUONISSIMO
Here it is : VIRGINIA SWEET my record tomato this year so far: 16+ oz. !!!
I had to harvest one of them today, since it started to change color I was so worry that somebody will steal it ... my preeecious !
I will post a picture on a couple of days on how it will ripen indoor: striped yellow-orange.
I think the other one in the vine might be bigger ...
And here my harvest today.
I almost have to harvest the tomatoes every other day, otherwise the fruit will explode ... I also found a few tomatoes bitten. Off course the bright red ones.
It seems that nobody ever touches the yellow ones.
drthor wrote:I also found a few tomatoes bitten. Off course the bright red ones.
It seems that nobody ever touches the yellow ones.
I've heard and read the same thing, and now have had a chance to witness it myself. This year I'm growing almost exclusively yellow tomatoes after reading that the form of the antioxidant lycopene in the brighter yellow and orange fruit is much stronger than that in the red types. The birds are going after a couple of pepper plants with small bright scarlet fruit and completely ignoring all the yellow and orange tomatos a few feet away...
ok, let me know.
I'd like also to find out at the end of your season your favorite yellow tomato:
cherry : GOLD NUGGET for the production.
cherry: COYOTE for the taste ... the skin in this little baby cherry is so thin and it just melt in your mouth ... very productive too.
large: JUBILEE GOLDEN
More tomatoes today ...
I never had so many large tomatoes ... I think it might be because this year I seeded the larger tomatoes 2 weeks earlier than the cherries.
Look at those huge Jubilee Golden tomatoes (the large yellow ones)!
I will attend the class on "preserving tomatoes" Saturday at 10am at the Coppell's farmer market ... I think I better learn how to do it !!
Tomatoes are still producing ... even if I think the plants are giving signs to be tired ...
Golden Jubilee yellow tomato has been amazing this year !
another beautiful display of your labor... Between the tomatoes and cucumbers the long, looks like beans, is that what the green and purple are is beans? If so do you mind saying what kind, they look very interesting.
meadowyck wrote:thanks for the taste update on them, sounds like something that just might grow down here in our heat.
Will look into adding that to my list.
Jan, I've grown several varieties. They do indeed tolerate the Florida heat and humidity quite well. I chose varieties that originated in southeast Asia (they are very popular in Thailand) as being more likely to stand up to our summer climate. Side-by-side with a modern French-type pole bean, they both outlasted and vastly out-yielded them, and didn't seem as bothered by the leaf diseases or insects that plagued the regular green beans.
I think the beans pair up best with Asian-inspired flavors - rich ginger, soy, and garlic mixtures.
If there is a disadvantage, I would say it is that they absolutely must be supported - the vines grew very long, easily over-topping my 5' tall wire-supported trellis.
could you post the bean varieties that you like, at your convenience, please?
growing beans is my new adventure this year and I really need to learn because they are great source of proteins.
The variety that did the best for me is no longer offered. It was originally from Baker Creek. The seeds were deep red, almost brown. As I recall it was simply called Thai Red Seed (without any numerical designation). I saved my seed from season to season, but there was a lapse of five years when I was renting a small place in town (during my divorce) and didn't have room for the vines, and I let the seeds get old.
I suspect any of the Thai varieties from Baker Creek are worth a try in a hot, wet climate.
More tomatoes today and my first "canned tomatoes" ... I run out of freezer space ...
Tomato plants are slowing down like usual at this time of the year.
We are under a brutal heat ! Right now is 99F and it is 8pm !!
My DH loves reptiles. He does rescue tortoises ... you cannot believe how many people put tortoise in water thinking that they are turtles!! It is very sad sometimes. We do have a couple that their shell was erode by the water !! Now after 2 years they seem to be really healthy.
Tortoise = land, Turtle = water ... duuuuhhh
They love to eat the okra leaves ... my plants always look like sticks ... but cutting the bottom leaves encourage pods production, as you can see Okra is starting to produce more and more everyday and it loves those crazy 100F we are having already in June !!
I don't know if you know about neem oil, but I would say if you have any other tortoises come in with shell problems get some pure neem oil and apply daily to their shell. not so much to drown them/shell, but like putting oil on your skin, and rub in at least 2x a day.
Okra, never really cared for it, the usually reason, didn't like the looks of it, too slimy, the smell, yuck... so I've stayed away from it.
The fruit production is all on the top now.
Next year I must add more twine at the very top, so I can keep bending down the canes. Too late now.
Look at the dragonfly I shoot whit my tomatoes.
Big surprise this year: A GRAPPOLI D'INVERNO tomatoes (on the left of the dragonfly)
Same size tomatoes than Sapho, 2" red cherry with a little point in the bottom.
Huge plant. Must constant remove suckers. Lot of fruit production. Still loaded with fruits in this heat.
I will grow it again next year.
At this moment the thermometer is 100F ... hoooot!
yes you are right, soon my tomatoes will stop producing. The plants will keep growing and making flowers, but no fruits.
Some people trim down their tomatoes to 1/3, some people start new plants which MUST be in the ground by mid June.
I have tried both methods and it was just a waist of time and space in my area. But sometime you can get lucky and have a great fall tomato crop.
I rather use my limited space to grow greens in the fall.
How hot is in your area right now?
The tomato plants are growing very well on top. I am still turning the canes horizontally and I think it is really encouraging fruit production.
On the bottom of the tomato plants I have already transplanted cucumber plants.
The tomato canopy is helping to shade the young cucumber plants.
Black Krims have set some fruit, but it's very small. The Parks Whoppers are poking through the bird netting and starting to show some new blooms. This is going to be fun when I have to take the netting down, it's going to be all into these tomato plants.
Oh sorry, I meant in making lasagna, way better tasting to me and DH. Plus my favorite is to just grill slices of it with a little OO drizzled on it with some garlic.
We finally got the new A/C unit installed last night and when I was posting it was still rather hot, so was posting in a hurry so I could get back to the bedroom with the window A/C unit turned on...LOL
I am still harvesting a lot of tomatoes.
The tomatoes taste good, but not as good as the early spring ones.
Definitely turning the canes horizontally is working ! Lots of green tomatoes in the plant still ...
GRAPPOLI D'INVERNO is a big surprise this year. This variety is advertised as a great storage tomato ... Which is not true in the heat of Dallas ...
But amazing production and a huge plant.
Yes, I must plant it again next year !
meadowyck wrote:How hot is it where you are and do you not have humidity? I have since learned after moving back to FL that tomatoes here don't like it hot and humid as that is when they stop flowering.
You really must try Momotaro next spring. My one plant is still setting new fruit, and I've got fruit in all stages of ripeness. The only thing that seems to affect them is our heavy afternoon rains - I'm getting some fruit splitting.
The current star of the full-sized tomatoes though is Kellogg's Breakfast - huge bright yellow beefsteaks with incredibly rich flavor. I just sprinkle on a little salt, it's all they need (if that). Not a prolific producer but worth the wait!
I have 2 plants of Momotaro. They did not produce many tomatoes. One plant maybe 4 and the other 6.
They all split. I like their taste, but it didn't do well this year/
But again, I did plant them later than the others so ... I will try Momotaro one more year. Thanks for your suggestion.
My absolutely favorite large tomato this year is VIRGINIA SWEET. Its taste is incredible.
I have 2 plants of Momotaro. They did not produce many tomatoes. One plant maybe 4 and the other 6.
They all split. I like their taste, but it didn't do well this year/
But again, I did plant them later than the others so ... I will try Momotaro one more year. Thanks for your suggestion.
My absolutely favorite large tomato this year is VIRGINIA SWEET. Its taste is incredible.
What is your most productive tomato?
For sheer number, Cupid scores high, but the individual fruit are small. For total weight of useable fruit, I'd have to say Momotaro. There are better tomatoes with larger fruit, but Momo has continued to perform through high temps and humidity when the other "standard" tomatoes have slowed to a crawl.
For sure I will try again MOMOTARO next year.
Right now I am amazed by GRAPPOLI D'INVERNO tomatoes. The plant is huge, it keeps growing and making those round 2" red cherry with a cute little point in the bottom !
#1. You can see how the tomato canes are all on top of the plants. I keep turning them horizontally. More production in this way. The tomato leaves are shading the cucumber underneath.
#2. Now those cucumbers are growing really fast ... soon to touch the tomato plants. Those are Grappoli D'inverno tomatoes, which they are still producing.
Gosh at this rate, your tomato plants should be ready for even more tomatoes after the heat slows down...LOL I can not get over the fact that they are still producing that many of them, which is great.
I think the secret was to start the seeds so early. If you look at the start of this thread you can see how early I did start them.
My plants are very strong and they have deep root by now.
I really don't think I will do fall tomatoes. I need the space for my fall crop ... but you never know.
I will be gone half of September and all October ... which is my transplanting window ... so I will do my best.
Anyway, I never had good luck with fall tomatoes: they really never got ripe ... or even tasted good.
Honestly ... I am kind of tired of tomatoes by now ... I am sure I will change my mind in a month or so without them !
Good luck with your tomatoes. make sure you will keep posting pictures so I can dream of them !
It will be a dream to have tomatoes all year around for me too ... tomorrow it will be three months of constant tomato harvest ! WOW !
Yes, two large shelves of my freezer are full of whole tomatoes just in ziplock bags. I pop them out when I am doing soups and sauces.
Today harvests, plus some of the large Sunflowers from the front !
how did you manage to get your sunflower heads with the seeds still on them..LOL up north when I grew them the chipmonks got to them before I ever could... so now it is nice to know what they look like... instead of with just a few seeds left on them...LOL
those sunflower heads in the picture are with all the seeds. I will dry them a little bit more.
I will keep the larger one and I have friends in line for the rest.
I did have lots of sunflowers in the front of the house. Right now the heads are down and full of seeds. Birds are heating them and also leaffotted bugs and another red bugs. It's ok. I just kept the best for me.
Last year, when I did the summer clean up in November I just sprinkled some of those seeds in the ground and woila' they started to germinate by themselves in February. So easy. I will do the same for now on.
Think of the fact that if you let them complete their life cycle they will return with a vengeance next year. They will burrow into you soil and the moths won't have to look very far for a place to lay their eggs. They don't eat only tomato plants.
I mulch the rows and paths of my vegetable garden every spring and early summer with fresh grass clippings, which soon turn brown. Next thing you know, little black brachnid wasps move into the mulch - and I haven't seen a tomato hornworm for many years.
I don't know if mulching with grass clippings would bring those harmless hornworm-killing little wasps to gardens in other parts of the country, but it might be worth a try.
I vote for another video of them eat the worms,,, come on I would to see them all get one... I had never seen that before, until your last video. Pretty please... shoot another video of them eating them????????
you are funny !
Actually my DH found 3 of those worms and gave them to "Big Mama" ... she is adorable!
If you have not see the video just scroll up
If I was a Horn Worm I would come to my garden too ... nobody grows vegetables around me ... and I kind of attract them to my garden planting lots of Datura ...
The Tomato Horn Worm moths are just so beautiful ... it is just nature and I don't worry!
I want the Tomato Horn Worm to do take care of my tomato plants right now ... it is so hot outside !
Back when I had tomato hornworms, before I started mulching my garden and the brachnid wasps moved in, I had some fun with them.
I'd pick hornworms off the tomato plants by hand and put them in a jar or can, then take them down to our pond. Hornworms are very light - they float high on top of the water and struggle, and that really sends bluegills, bass, and catfish into a top-water feeding frenzy. lol
This is the first time in years ive found more then 1or 2 hornworms. I was gone for 5 days and several plants were stripped it looked like deer got the plants but I got the worms, they were huge! If there was a pound around here I would have used them as bait.
Hornworms are cool! But Big Mama is even cooler. Gotta love her! I really hate Hawk, Sphinx moths. Oddest creatures on the planet, almost too creepy to live :) Saw one recently trying to act like a Hummingbird...undulating in the air. Made me angry how freaky it was lol.
I wish I had a pond or Tortoise. But I have Nemo spotting them. He's pretty good at finding them, but when I give it to him, he just claws holes and walks away.
drthor wrote:If I was a Horn Worm I would come to my garden too ... nobody grows vegetables around me ... and I kind of attract them to my garden planting lots of Datura ...
The Tomato Horn Worm moths are just so beautiful ... it is just nature and I don't worry!
They like moonflowers too. I used to live in a place with a hot tub covered with a trellis on which I had grown a number of vines, including blooming moonflowers which I had planted for their scent. I'll never forget the sound of those things coming in for nectar - the thrumming noise seemed to come from everywhere. Very eerie.
"What is an adult man doing with a cat named Nemo?"
Well, maybe he's a Jules Verne fan. My garden cat is named Sylvester. The cat lied to me - it was a stray that wandered in several years ago, and I chucked rocks at it for a couple of weeks until I realized it was a big, tough Tom with a swagger and a torn-up ear from fighting, and I kinda liked its attitude. We started feeding it and kept it around outside for mice and varmints.
Then Sylvester disappeared for a couple of days, and it turned out SHE had a litter of kittens under my workbench. (I don't go around checking the undersides of cats.) I've forgiven her, and the kittens have been given away and the cat (Sylvia now?) fixed. She hangs around in the garden with me, and she comes running like a dog from anywhere on the place when I call her.
1lisac wrote:What is an adult man doing with a cat named Nemo?
LOL! Not sure. I guess I could lie and take Ozark's idea, Captain Nemo. Buuuut, I won't :) His name was gonna be "Mojo" but while watching Finding Nemo, he was too easy to name. Orange, brave and has a crook in his tail(like Nemo's bad fin). So there it is.
He plays fetch with peppers(hot or sweet). Sometimes he just pulls them off the plant and brings them to the door with teeth marks. He also loves a plate of fresh picked cherry tomatoes, he thinks they're toys for him to swat around the house. He's entertaining to say in the least.
drthor wrote:Well... I also have a cat named NEMO ...but he spends most of his time sleeping ... and he doesn't like Hornworm.
Wow, that's the first other Nemo I've heard of. Your Nemo sounds like my other cat, Harry. 14-16 hours of sleep a day.
They're great rodent control. While my neighbors have squirrel problems, I haven't seen one in years. They get the occasional gopher as well.
Big Maaama is an adult Box Tortoise. Actually we have been baby sitting her for a while ... I think she will stay with us because her owner has not ask about her for months. She is not perfect, her shell is flat on top and not round ... but it is ok ... she has a great personality.
I cannot find 3 huge Hornworms .. oh oh ... I think they are in their cocoon ... sorry Big Mama !
The tomato plants are just stunted by the heat.
Definitely I will start again in December this year with my tomato seedlings.