This season, Hornstrider used Root Riot Seed Starting plugs instead of Jiffy Mix to start his tomato seedlings, and his results thus far have been outstanding. Hornstrider reports that he has the biggest, thickest stemmed, healthiest, greenest tomato plants he's ever started!
Since this info could be helpful to people who have not started their seedlings yet (like the folks up north), we opened up a lively discussion on seed-starting methods. Feel free to join us. Catch up on the first thread, then come back and share your own methods here, and post plenty of pictures!
me: what goes wrong with your seed starting method? tx_gardener: It's been so long I don't really remember -- I'm talking jiffy pellets, I think, which I don't like and will not use again.
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I know lots of folks really like pellets but I've never had good luck with them. My current favorite method is to start seeds in small cell packs (the ones you buy a six-pack of small plants from the nursery) filled with Roots Organics, or any other good potting soil. Bottom heat, a dome of some sort (or just a plastic bag twist tied shut over the cell pack) for humidity, flourescent shop light overhead. As soon as most of the sprouts have popped the surface, the humidity dome comes off and the lights are lowered. Bottom water with a weak solution of cammomile tea made with bottled water (the reverse osmosis kind you can fill jugs with at the grocery store) and a splash of hydrogen peroxide. I keep a small fan going on the seedlings to help the stems stregthen. Do not add any additional fertilizer to your seedlings, this will kill 'em for sure. Wait for two sets of 'true' leaves, then only a very weak solution of liquid fertilizer, if any. I like Roots Organics because of all the good stuff already in it and find I save money on fertilizer because I don't need to add anything additional until they go out into the garden.
Hope this helps and encourages you to try again. - Adding my favorite 'seedling' picture...this plant looks like a small tree!
Thanks MaryMc, since I live in a small town I don't have access (except to order and pay freight) to products other than the ones I don't like (miracle gro, jiffy, etc.) I'm contemplating (probably for next seed-starting season) ordering the 'ihort' plugs that Hornstrider likes so much (and skip that dinner out LOL). My fixed income needs fixing...
I purchased a different "sauce" tomato this year, but it's performance is "spotty" so I sowed some seeds saved from last year. So far, last year's left over seeds, (plus my own saved seeds from last year) are doing better than this year's seeds.
Anyone else having problems with 2012 seeds?
If the older seeds and my own saved seeds were not sprouting, I would say there was something wrong with my growing methods, but I'm using the same "recipe" for everything!
TX_gardener, and Earnie...There are some things that GG did not post about what I did w/ these plugs. I only watered from the bottom. I would fill the trey 1/2 way w/ rain water, and let them soak up the water, and then poured the water out of the trey. I don't know if that makes any difference, but that is what I did. I watered the IHORT plugs twice as much as the RR plugs because the RR plugs would stay wet so much longer. The IHORT plugs would need almost daily watering because of the air flow around the plug. All of my plants survived the hardening off process, and are doing well now. I also tried something that you are not supposed to do. I planted carrot seeds in the IHORT plugs (one little seed per plug)...it seemed to work as the picture shows below...Also pictured are some of my mater plants started w/ the plugs.
I did not know you were not supposed to plant other seeds in the RR plugs, and i planted some Winter Squash seeds in some, and most of them have sprouted. I have not bothered to record the days it takes as it depends on the ambient temp, since i do not use heat. I have those ten plugs in a section of the tray they came in, and the group in a plastic container that loose spinach comes in from the market. It has a little bit of water in the bottom and soaks up through the plug. Incidentally, i use my Bandsaw to whack off some of the cells from the 50 cell tray they come in. It is all so much cleaner and neater than fooling with the starter soil it is just no comparison.
I planted my carrots and turnips and beets and beans directly in the garden, but it crusts so bad here, i then sprinkle a 1/4 inch of sand on top instead of covering the seeds with dirt. It looks like nearly 100% germination in the ground using the sand, versus maybe 50% last year covering with dirt. Ray Der Phan gave me a variety of tomato plants to try this year, so i have not started any tomatoes yet.
Hornstrider, I got a bag of the RR plugs but haven't done anything with them yet. I did this before you posted the IHORT plugs info. Ok, what if I somehow loosened up the RR plugs so they get more air? Yes, coir is very water retentive. Or moisture retentive.
Hi everybody! I was looking at this thread to see what people were doing because although I've been stumbling around a garden for a few years, I've never done seeds. I have the jiffy "greenhouse" thingie with pellets, and I got to planting (zone 6a) or "sowing" for those of you who don't like the planting word :) this past week. Here's my issue - I have never had a light or mat or any other toys, so I was wondering, am I doomed before I even get going? Right now I have the greenhouse thingie in my Florida room, where it's been 80 degrees due to our weather. PROBLEM is, I have no light, just the sun, so am I going to get "leggy" and useless plants? I have a variety I'm doing but I wanted to mention that I'm doing Black Krim and Sungella tomatoes... My green envy zinnias are already a couple inches tall (four day germination!) and they're kind of leaning toward the sun. Have I done them a disservice?
For one thing you should turn them so they get the same sun all around. Is it a lot of sun? Are the zinnias leggy? Guess we would need to know how much sun they get. What is a greenhouse thingy? You mean a clear dome over a potting tray? Did you plant the zinnias in the pellets? What exactly do you mean by pellets? Those flat round things that swell up with water?
The Florida room is on the southeast side of the house, so it gets a lot of sun. Thanks for the turning suggestion! I will do that every day. I don't know if the zinnias are leggy because I've never seen a baby one. The greenhouse thingie has been aptly defined by Jnette (yes it's what you said) and yes, the pellets are the swell-up-with-water kind. I'll take a picture tomorrow and post it so people can tell me if the zinnias are leggy! Thank you SO much, Jnette for your reply. I always feel so stupid asking these kinds of questions so your kindness is much appreciated. I am always afraid that gardeners might have a clique and tell me that I have to go sit at the geek table...
The light will be your biggest issue. People have been starting seeds on window sills for years, though, so it can be managed. Let the pellets get fairly dry between watering, though. I've had good luck with the peat pellets, so I would say that you can make them work. Jnette's suggestion to rotate the seedlings may be the only way you can keep the growth even, though. Good luck!
Earnie...I have read you should direct sow carrots in the ground...not start them in treys like maters, peppers ect...I direct sowed my winter carrots, and I am still picking carrots...I dont like thinning them so I thought what the heck ...I will put them in a plug..looks like it worked, and I dont have to thin them...you can sow just about anything in the plugs like you would any seed starting medium...
I think a lot of root crops do not transplant well, but actually with the plugs most of them do not even know they are being transplanted. I do not mind thinning but i wait until they are big enough to nibble. Too bad we cannot get a precision hand held seeder that works well and not too expensive.
Ive used the jiffy pellets and jiffy seed starter for yrs and have had really good luck with both. I start 1000s of seedlings a yr. Everybody has the way that works best for them but I cant see a reason that these methods wouldnt work, there must be something else going on. I will try to post pictures of a few of my plants tomorrow.
Cynical- leggy tomato plants will still produce tomatoes they will just need to be planted deeper. You can buy a regular shop light set up and keep the lights 2-3" from your seedlings this will help with the legginess. Leggy does not = useless.
Where does it say that only tomato seeds can be started in RR? I've read it 3X and while Im sure it there I dont see it. LOL
On the other seed starting thread there was some confusion about whether or not RO (root organics) had fertilizer already in it. Like Mary said "yes" it does. For me this doesnt work. I need more "control" over how fast my seedlings grow. I have found that a good potting soil without amendments works best when I pot up, BUT I add organic fertilizer when I water them as needed. Before I pot up the seedlings they dont receive any fertilizer as that is what the nurse leaves are for.
Mary's plant looks fantastic but I have seen others started in RO that were very leggy and while they will produce great tomatoes they were not great looking plants like Mary's or Horn's.
Thats what makes this thread so important is it gives great information and allows people to decide what works best for them. If I get time tomorrow I will post a picture of 2 plants started at the same time one is much small then the other because I need it to go out with a later order. I can hold it back by not fertilized it.
In the early stages, lack of light is probably the main cause of "legginess" but i know for sure that too much nitrogen makes trees "leggy" or too tall between lateral branches, and too thin. So too much nitrogen probably does the same thing to other plants, too.
Lisa, Being able to control your plants like that is a sign of wonderful management. When i read of people having trouble with their plants being too big too soon, for planting out, i wonder why they started seeds too soon and gave them too much warmth and light. Your keeping your projects under tight control is the way any good business needs to be run.
Ernie-thanks for the compliments. Everything I've read or been told about starting seeds says "don't start seeds in medium containing fertilizer". I do not want to start an argument but I don't see a reason to start seeds in any medium RO or any other that has any amendments in it. I can start seeds on the top of the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
All the directions I've read say don't fertilize until the 1st or 2nd set of true leaves. I've read here that the plants not only don't need the amendments but they can't absorb them, I don't know enough about this to say if it's true or not.
Now by the time they get potted up, they can be fertilized, I don't always as some just don't seem to need it. The good organic potting soil I use doesn't have any amendments added so I fertilize as needed with a water soluble fertilizer. The tomato seedlings are ready to go out by the time they are 6 weeks old. All this is very inexpensive, quick and easy. I don't fertilize ANY of the seedlings before they get potted up, not with a growing medium that has amendments or by adding fertilizer. I honestly don't see a reason for it, but once they are potted up it's a whole different story..
Great discussion! Thanks for all ya'lls continued input!
How many carrots did you end up planting in IHORT plugs? Wouldn't that get to be a bit expensive? I think you might have just being doing it to see how it would work, yes? Glad it did work! Enjoy your $.08 carrots!
Everyone here was once a "geek". In fact, I'm STILL a garden geek! And, no one would ever regulate anyone to the "geek" section, so don't ever be afraid to ask a question here. We welcome your questions wholeheartedly. It's what fuels a lot of the discussions on Dave's Garden.
Thanks for the GDD discussion. The relationship to seed starting that i see is that it helps me decide WHEN to try to start soemthing, or what variety to try.
I thought about it and realized that almost any metric or advice is most usefull when you can compare something that you know about your own garden (like how one variety did, grown a frew diffetent ways), with information from other gardeners (like, this variety and that variety ripened after X and Y degree days in this location).
Finding that information from other gardeners mostly depends on how 'standardized' it is. For example, it's easy to find a "hardiness zone" for plants, because that is very standard (aside from rapdily fluctuating temperatures)
"Average days to harvest" is fairly standardized , but it does assume favorable but unspecified conditions. you can still use it to COMPARE two varieties: if everyone else says that X ripens in 60 days and Y ripens in 80 days, but it takes me 90 days to ripen X I better not even try Y!
"Degree days to ripeness" for varieties is not commonly found on hobbyist seed packets: I'll have to do some research.
I suggest you try to find information on the relationship of GDD to soil temperature for your area. That will not be precise for one year, but is an average. The key that i think is not mentioned enough with seed starting is the soil temperature. Most seeds need at least 50 degrees to germinate and for transplants to grow,and some need 60 degrees. So, I just keep checking the soil temp, as i do not have a market date to meet. But if i was doing this as a business, i would want to know well in advance, all i could about when the soil can be expected to warm up, and then i would have all my ducks lined up ready to go close to that date. If transplants, that is the time to have them ready to plant out. If seeds, have the ground ready to plant.
Air temps have to be above fifty degrees to add days to the GDD, and those below fifty are subtracted. I am sure information exists that will correlate the number of DDs to bring the minimum soil temp up to 50, and then you could start from there fine tuning to your exact spot. I have only lived here one year and i have established that the temps on my property are between 4 and 7 degrees below the daily temperature recorded for local weather. So i worry about frost if 37 degrees is forecast locally.
Then the next step i would take would be to find out the GDD between that expected soil temp date of 50, and when i wanted to harvest, and then, as you mentioned, i would either focus on DTMs that fit my expected GDDs, or i would modify my micro climate to increase the GDDs at my place.
The latter is what i am doing for my personal tomatoes. I live 9 miles from the ocean, but the topography is such that as heat rises inland it sucks cool ocean air up this canyon. So my tomatoes did not ripen well last year. I built a cold frame with four foot walls of removable plastic, to break the wind and capture as much heat as i need. I can increase the temps about 15 degrees, or i can remove all the panels, and equal ambient. So, i expect to have ripe tomatoes this year.
I agree with all of your thinking as to how to proceed, only adding that you should give more thought to how you can trap more heat in your conditions. Focus on windbreaks, keeping the plants short and close to the ground, or just anyway to increase the temperature at the plant. If you have a choice of different spots for different plants, consider which plants need the most heat. I have mentioned before that i was able to ripen table grapes in Bonners Ferry Idaho, because i had one spot on the 65 acres that was warm enough to do that, and i was lucky enough to stumble on it. Efforts before that had failed. Now, i would know enough to deliberately search a spot like that out.
Keep us all posted on what you try, and especially on what works best for you.
LOL, Rick you slay me. You lived there one year and think you have it all figured out!! Well, good for you. Seriously. I lived there 30 years and I never did figure it out. Just thanked God if I got a good ripe tomato. And I did. Now and then. Maybe between you and Ernie you can figure it out so you can get good tomatoes EVERY year. Pardon me if I don't believe it will happen.
I honestly hope you prove me wrong. I know a lot of people do not believe in Global Warming, but I do. So, you may get those ripe tomatoes from now on. But, we won't know if it is because of GW or because you have it all figured out now will we. LOL :0)
>> modify my micro climate ...
>> for my personal tomatoes. I live 9 miles from the ocean, but the topography is such that as heat rises inland it sucks cool ocean air up this canyon.
Bummer! At least I get the benefit of Puget Sound (really Possesion Sound).
>> give more thought to how you can trap more heat in your conditions
I've been doing lots of thinking but only a little doing. I made a low garden-fence / double-layer plastic-film tunnel for some plants I had to get outside ... and there's been snow on it 4-5 times since plus other frosts. Just a day or two each time, but those overwinytered plants would not have been happy.
That, perhaps plus 2 liter cloches, would have let me put seedlings out a few weeks early, but I;ve been so late / busy / behind / lazy this year that I may not get ANY tomatoes started!
I'm on a VPN as I write this, and the photo is on another PC. The photo won;t show scale well, but the tunnel is 10 feet long, 24-30" wide, and around 28-30 inches tall.
Is your cold frame big enough to cover adult vines in the Fall? Or only Spring seedlings?
My Stupice went from "somewhat better than supermarket flavor"
"WHAT??!!?? Are these ROTTEN???"
when I had a brief cold spell towards the end of summer - in other words, normal Seattle weather.
I'm thinking that I could stretch my tomato season by 4-8 weeks in the Fall with a tall enough, wide enough, plastic tent. Bent EMT conduit lashed together a' la' Boy Scouts? PVC pipes glued together? Why won't my Fargesia rufa bamboo hurry up and get big?
And/or plastic domes over buckets.
Maybe 4'x8' corrugated PVC or polycarbonate sheets folded creatively.
This Spring, however, I might be optimistic to think I'll even have time to get seedlings under 2 liter plastic cloches (soda bottles) plus a heavy floating row cover.
I almost forgot: my only usable soil is in rasied beds (and maybe buckets, so if I can keep cold rain off it, it will warm up faster than in-the-dround soil. Your point was very well taken that seedlings care about SOIL temps at least as much as air temps.
Well, 3-4 years. And I was as amazed as anyone last year. I let three tomato starts in quart pots follow me home from anursery just so I could learn how futile the effort would be. Carried them indoors every night for 3-4 weeks. Then put them in the gorund and they just sulked for another month.
Then green marbles.
Green golf balls.
That was what I expected.
Then, a miracle! Some ripe tomatoes. Then, before I could show them off to a firend from out of town, a cold spell and the Stupice went to tasting about like old oatmeal.
I still call it a miracle. But now that I know it's possible (and I read about another coastale PNW-er who is seriously into tomatoes-under-plastic in Spring and Fall, I'm looking for a technological fix.
"The Army Corps of Tomato Coaxing".
I've also been collecting cold-tolerant short season varieties.
We shall see!
P.S. Global warming might extend my growing season :-) but I will need to buy a snorkle for planting and harvesting. :-( Are there any tomato varieties that thrive under salt water?
MaryMc -- I think it deserves to be a separate thread - maybe "cukes and okra" so it'll show up and instead of inside this thread (and I'd like the info too, esp. on okra (one of my top three veggies).
Jnette, it did not take me a year to figure out i have a cold spot. it only took one day when i saw frost on my grass while the TV was saying it was 37 degrees in Vista. So, since i knew the problem, it was normal for me to try to find a solution. Rick seems to be the type that searches for solutions, too, It is okay with me if you want to just complain about it and wait for God to send you a ripe tomato, but i was taught to not curse the darkness, get up and light a candle.
You seem to be on the right track, and trying everything you can think of until you find what works is bound to succeed.
As to covering your plants with plastic, or jugs or such, i understand there is a lot of difference in the amount of sun that comes through different types of plastic, so while you are saving the heat that does come in, you may not be getting the maximum possible. I took a couple of pictures of my cold frame today, and it has some similarities to a raised box, as it has a concrete block foundation. You may be able to put removable vertical walls and a top around it, giving you more height and temperature control, as well as more vertical room to grow.
I can close mine up when cold enough, but for now i have some fence panels vertical for the vines to climb. I have been very impressed with what Gymgirl, 1lisa, and Chricket do with their pruning and vertical reach to increase their plant numbers, so i have copied them, and think i am okay with 14 tomato plants in a 5 X 10 space. I will know more by September. lol. I also have some of the same aged plants along the fence, and it seems to me the ones getting partial protection in the open hot box are growing more leaves and setting more blossoms, but i have not found any tomatoes yet.
One more thought, considering how low an angle the Sun shines as far north as you are. If you can reflect some of those sunrays back onto your plants, with something reflective on the north side of your boxes, that would increase your temps, too.
On the height question you asked, I can grow bush type tomatoes with the roof panel on the hotbox, so may try to grow some until about November, but i think it will be more useful growing things like Kohlrabi and Cauliflower. I still need to learn more about when the soil cools down in the Autumn.
Jnette...sorry I am late...I am sorry I confused you, and everyone else it seems...both plugs work great...go up, and look at the pictures I posted above of all of the plants in the ground as of a few days ago...1/2 of the plants you see ars the rr plugs...the ihort plugs just grow faster, but both are great, and I will use both again...the final product in the ground is all that matters...I have said this a number of times that mater seed starting has been my shortcoming...once in the ground I can grow with the best of mater growers...both plugs work great..if you have rr plugs they will work great...sorry I am on my g4 again
No problem Horn. I have the ro plugs now and I will use them. I love experimenting anyway.
Ernie, it isn't just the ripe tomatoes but the flavor too and the right sun makes a big difference. What is your zone Ernie? Even if you are a zone 2. Which I know you are not, but your being in California the sun is a lot different than any sun Rick or I get in NW or NE Washington. Ask any Doctor about the different rays of the sun and then we go get Vit. D shots up here. There is more to sun than ripe tomatoes.
Just reflecting the sun doesn't mean a thing when it comes to flavor.
Rick, Here are some pix of the Hot Box. The roof and front panels are off for the summer. They are light and easy to handle. The North wall is a piece of metal roofing, and can be taken off by removing a few screws. The trellis i have in there are pieces of iron fence that i replaced with chain link. The plants look very happy to me. I removed the plant in the rear left corner today because it had some Septorum blight on the lower leaves. I also lost one in the middle row from that, and i have a new small cherry tomato in there.
All of those nice plants of different varieties were given to me by Mark, [Ray der Phan] to help me get started finding the varieties i like the best. I will be spraying with Kocide soon to stop the Septorum.
I use Min/Max thermometers on the inside and outside to monitor the differential, and am still learning just what it will and will not do for me
The big plant with the pink tape on it is an Early Girl from Home Depot that i bought before Mark's plants were ready to just test the panel settings on the Box. It is older than the other plants.
The plastic panel on the left end is the same type that cover the tops and fronts.
I live in Vista, CA now, which is 30 miles north of San Diego. Zone 10 A or B, but i started a very successful Shade and Ornamental Nursery in Bonners Ferry Idaho, which is about as close as you can get to NE Washington without actually living there. The Nursery was a second career for me, as i had been an Engineering Contractor, Highway and Heavy Construction, for over 30 years. So i had to go through the process of learning how to grow beautiful trees in Idaho, just like i am having to learn how to grow a good tomato now. That is why i am so grateful for the experts on this forum that share their years of hard earned expertise with us neophytes.
As far as i know, all of the Sun rays come from the same place, and reflected or bent sunrays do have the same effect as the more direct ones. Reflected sun rays can blind you, or sunburn you just like the direct ones can. I agree many things affect the flavor. The advantages as personal growers that we have over the commercial tomatoes is that we do not have to ship and machine process ours, so we can grow tender skinned varieties that we cannot buy at the market, and that hopefully will have more flavor.
The variety, the soil, the water, and other things do affect the flavor, but it requires a certain amount of light, from the sun or other wise, along with a certain amount of heat, tophysically grow the tomato, and until you can get it ripe, you do not have any place to put the flavor
"Be Satisfied with What you Have, But Not with What You Know."
I mentioned the other day that i was going to try using the RR plugs without putting them in a cell. So far i have found out sitting in the water without the cell seems to be okay, as it has held its shape, but i will have to use them upside down as the top is wider than the bottom. I will keep them sitting in a quarter inch of water. Not sure yet if it will have any advantage over using the cells, but it would be handy for me to be able to do 8 or 10 in a group, in a plastic Spinach container, or something.
>> Rick, cherry tomatoes. Do those count as real tomatoes?
>> Only in Seattle. LOL
FFPPTT! :-) Yeah, yeah. You GET to tease because you live here, too. I no longer make a distinction between what I CAN ripen successfully and "real" tom atoes. Oh well, whatever works!
Hey, waitaminute! 'R you one-a them EASTERN Washingtonians that get actual summers as well as winters? No fair teasing usmoss-covered coastal wimps! To us, anything under 40 or over 75 is a severe temperature stress and we don't know how to handle it.
>> Rick seems to be the type that searches for solutions, too,
You might be too kind: I've also been told that I look for problems, as an excuse to indulge in gadgetry! I do like to fiddle, I just wish I had more time, energy and budget. Also, I tend to think and talk for many months before DOing. I've been chewing on this project for a few years now, and indeed thinking about it abstractly since I saw the New Alchemy Instuitute on Cape Cod many decades ago.
Optimum timing for seed starting: if your window is too narrow, you HAVE to be prepared to tweak your micro enviroment. Or some people carry trays of seedlings back under cover for unepectedly cold nights, or tuck them in at night with blankets.
>> i understand there is a lot of difference in the amount of sun that comes through different types of plastic
I bet you're right. I bought some 3.5 mil plastic film, not realizing it was translucent instead of clear. I bet that cuts down the light a lot. Oh well, this roll was more for keeping alive some plants that limped through the winter in my bedromm, not for vigorous spring growth.
I'm thinki8ng that big, clear polycarbonate sheets ought to let a maximum of light through (max after glass, anyway). Someone wrotye that glass is an unfortunately GOOD conductor of heat. It reflects infrared RADIENT heat energy, but warm air in contact with glass will have its warmth conducted away faster than through some othr meterials ... that author said.
I also recently thought about how to make a largish cold frame more easily lifted and moved. Maybe make the back wall out of white-painted plywood for insulation, but make the side and front walls easily detached from the back wall. Then I could leave the back wall in place year-round, and just move the clear solar walls and lid around. If I moved them to a place that had no back wall, I would probably make a second clear piece for a light movable bgackwall. But, then, the new site would need some strudy in-ground rear posts for everythinhg to attach to.
>> I can close mine up when cold enough, but for now i have some fence panels vertical for the vines to climb.
I envy your cattle panels, and I may call around to find out prices for getting some delivered. But SPENDING the money will be a harder decision.
How would you grow vines on a cattle panel, then also put plastic film OVER it all? For example, I will eventually want to protect indeterminate fall tomatoes from both chill and frequent drizzle. It would be nice if they could grow up something like a cattle panel, but I would still want to build a tent over top of them.
Something like a swing set built out of PVC or 3/4" EMT electrial conduit. We don't USUALLY have high winds, but I was starting to think about 4' - 5' - 6' tall. That might be impractical. Perhaps do a brutal pruning in late summer, and remove anything within 18" or the top of the trellis or cattle panels. then just drape palstic over the top of the trellis, and if a few tips touch the plastic and get too cold, prune them also and discard tasteless chilled fruits.
What do you think?
>> One more thought, considering how low an angle the Sun shines as far north as you are. If you can reflect some of those sunrays back onto your plants, with something reflective on the north side of your boxes, that would increase your temps, too.
YES. I might conceivably do something like keep clear side walls for maximum morning and afternoon warmth, but whitewash the roof just in case the sun came out from behind clouds at noon while I was at work. Steamed veggies.
Oh! Now I see your hot box. Cool trellises! They look 10 feet tall! Your construction is 5-10 times sturdier than I was imagining myself constructing, but "Engineering Contractor, Highway and Heavy Construction" sounds like a more usefull first career than "imbedded control software".
>> Min/Max thermometers
You instantly convinced me what my next gadget acquisition MUST be!
>> The North wall is a piece of metal roofing, and can be taken off by removing a few screws
I like the modular remove-ability, but isn't "metal" pretty conductive of heat for a North wall? Maybe a coat of paint on each side would help a little - or if it is cheap enough and you have room to spare, a double wall trapping some dead air inside. I like the idea of drywall, if it can be kept dry. Good insulator, and cheap!
I'll try to find time to pull the plastic off my "mini-tunnel" to reveal the bent garden fencing underneath. Its gauge is midway between "chicken wire" and "cattle panel". Unfortunately, the roll sat outside too long before I thgought to write down the gauge. 10 or 16 or 18 or other AWG.
Rick, why not use a cattle panel as a hoophouse? One cattle panel will spread 8 ft across at the bottom and 6 ft tall in the middle. And they are 52 inches wide so if you want just an arch use one. If you want more, you just wire them together. Mine is 20 ft long. I have my visquene on 2 1" x 6" 20 ft long. One on each end of the visquene. Rolled up we put them up on top and roll them down on either side. I take it off in mid to late June and if I want to extend the season we put it back on around the first of October. But it does have to come off again before the snow flies around Mid November. That is for my country. We left the cover on one winter and it got so heavy it caved it in. Bob took each one off, laid them out, and stepped on the creases and straightened them out. Worked great. Then just put them back on.
In this area we have so many mountains and trees, we are right up to the Idaho and Canadian borders. So, the temps are around 10 degrees colder than Spokane. Last year is the first time in all these years I had a decent tasting tomato. Have had ripe ones every year. But no flavor. The only difference I could find was that I grew them in Alfalfa bales. Our season was very late getting here. June was cold and wet. The plants just sat there.
Yes, the remote thermometers with the max on both ends are a must.
Nothing wrong with thinking, as the idea is THE starting point, but probably better to focus on the first or basic step and then build on that, as each successful step may require a failure or two before you get it working right, and then go to the next one. It seems like your basic problem is trapping heat, so trying different ways of doing that on different plants would quickly give you results of which makes your plants grow best. Light, or Photoperiod should not be a problem for you at yoru latitude. I do nor recall just how far Everett is below the Canadian border, but that border is about 49 degrees N latitude, which gives you several hours more Summer daylight than the people farther south. You also have a big advantage over those people in Windy locations, as that blows away a lot of heat, too.
You can find a lot of information about the amount of Sun different plastics admit, by browsing the Greenhouse Suppliers. They list the % of the different materials. Also, while clear or translucent plastic lets heat through, black plastic absorbs and retains heat. I have never tried it, but an old Farm wife's trick to help her tomatoes was to stack a couple of old car tires and plant her tomatoes in there, as that absorbed and retained the heat from the day. Black plastic on the ground will keep that warm, too.
Reflection: Except for the sun rays that are blocked by the plant itself, you can reflect the rest of them back onto the vine and get almost a double shot of sunshine. Only some of those rays are blocked by cloud cover, but i do not know the relative importance of the remainder, except they also carry heat. I have been sunburned many times on cloudy days.
A simple sheet of mylar, or any reflective material on the North side of the plant will add a lot of heat. The white side of the tin sheet on my hot box reflects to the plants.
The Hot box was built mostly from leftovers. The Roofing sheet was left over from a Patio roof project, and the trellis was mostly old gates. The blocks are just sitting on sand, for easy removal, with a few colums of holes in them filled with concrete so they will not knockover. I did buy very good quality greenhouse plastic for the covers, and a 30 dollar temperature operated hatch opener for one roof panel, as overheating on a clear sunny day can do a lot of damage.
I saw inside temps increase as much as 25 or 30 degrees, but that is too much, so i try to set it for about 20 degrees over ambient. That warms the ground inside, and some of the increase in the soil temps carry over, but without insulation, the inside of the box cools down to ambient by morning. I do not expect to use any insulation nor to make the joints air tight. I will put a thermo controlled heater or light in it during the winter set at about 36 or 38 degrees, and just grow cool weather veggies in it during the coldest parts of winter.
I actually get more useful information from a six dollar soil thermometer than i do from the Min-Max, but both are very helpful in learning what is going on.
I missed one your points as to growing fall tomatoes. I just asked Cricket for advice on using the Big Bush tomato in the vacant corner of the hot box. I have about 4 feet of clearance back there, with the roof on. The trellis will come down when the weather cools. This year i am planting all the different varieties finding out which are best for me, but normally i will plant fewer and give each one more room, hence not needing as much height and pruning.
I do think you will be able to solve your micro climate problems and be able to grow good tomatoes, and have a lot of fun doing it, too.
If you build walls for your raised beds, i do suggest you make them separate, as i find that i only need to remove one or two at a time to as weather warms. I just hang mine on the frame so no fasteers need to be removed except on the Tin Panel.
The panels Jnette suggested are a good idea, very well made from galvanized rod, and are usually called SHEEP panels, as they are not strong enough to hold cattle. CATTLE panels are not bendable, normally, as they are made from flat steel rails that do not bend as easily, so are much stronger and heavier. Probably will not fit your raised beds, but very good to work with if they suit your situation.
I did not mean to dispute what you said, i just wanted to clarify for Rick if he went shopping for them. I had sheep on the hilly parts of my nursery and would buy what they called sheep panels from the farm store in Spokane. My neighbor ran cattle, and he used the much stronger ones made from the formed sheet metal to hold his cattle in. I never paid any attention to the hog panels, but i would think a big hog would require thicker rods and closer spacing than a sheep. Stronger would also be harder to bend. Sheep do not require much strength to confine them, unless they are paniced by the dogs. I never tried to hold my Rams with the light sheep panels, and i doubt they would hold a romantic ram. All three sizes and strengths of panels are based on what farmers have learned will do a certain job.
And of course you are correct that with enough posts the portable panels would hold anything, but they are usually used with very little in the way of posts, usually just temporary. But if you can bend them over your planting beds, a Ram, or a Cow can bend them much easier.
Rick mentioned he has raised beds, so he probably cannot bend them into hoops like you do, but it might be economical for him to cut them into panels to fit his beds and then stretch plastic over them for screens. I would think they would also make excellent trellis.
What town do you live closest to? I would sometimes go through Newport to Spokane from Bonners Ferry, but seldom went North of Newport up into that portion of Washington. I enjoyed the area the 18 years i had that place up there.
"But if you can bend them over your planting beds, a Ram, or a Cow can bend them much easier."
Ernie, I am talking about bending a 16ft cattle panel. Maybe I was not clear. If you take an 8 ft 2x4 lay it on the ground, take a 16 ft cattle panel and make an arch of it by putting one end on each end of the 2x4, you can do that with almost any kind of panel. 16 ft. is a pretty good length.
If you stand it up, the middle of the arch will be 6 ft high. I tie my tomatoes, indiscriminates to it instead of staking.
I understood what you were talking about. So, you had to be using the ones made with round galvanized rod. I had several of them, using to divide corrals, separate lambs, etc, and we would bend curves in them when necessary. I agreed that they would make a good hoop house, or whatever.
But the other type of what is usually called a cattle panel could not be bent in that fashion. It is more like a sturdy metal gate without the hinges. To recap, the ones you can bend easily are strong enough to make temporary pens for Sheep, but they are not sturdy enough to hold Cattle or Cows when you are working them. The ones made out of sheet metal panels are strong enough for Cows, but too stiff to bend. Simple enough. But calling all three types Cattle Panels will lead to confusion when shopping for them as there is a lot of difference between the way they are constructed. That is not to mean that people might not intermingle the different names, as probably lots of people may think sheep and pigs are also Cattle. But in the Cattle industry, cattle are considered to be Cows, bulls, steers, heifers, and close relatives.
I hope this clarifies and completes this subject as it is taking up too much space.
Ernie-maybe a regional thing. In Texas, we call the round rod panels that have 6" x8" grids "cattle panels". The panels that have 4" x 4" grids and slightly lighter rods are "sheep/goat panels." The panels that have a graded size, bottom-to-top, are "hog panels". Finally, the heavy, powder coated tubular or square tube panels are called either "alley panels" or "corral panels".
I got myself in deep doo doo, just trying to correct a slight mislabeling. So i am very glad to see you step in to help clarify it.
If you can arch what you call the Cattle Panel, that is a size or grade or strength that my neighbors never used to handle their cattle. We are on the same path as far as the hog, sheep and goat panels, and the tubular Corral panels, but all of what were called Cattle Panels in that area were far too strong and stiff to bend into an arch.
HoneybeeNC...You might try doing what I did w/ my cuks. I inserted the seed in the plug, watered until the colytons came up, and planted into the ground. Be careful ... cuk seed are much like water melon seeds as they float. The holes in the IHORT plugs are 1/4 inch in dia. What I did was tore a piece off an old plug to plug up the hole, and keep the seed down. The method seems to be working because my cuk plants are looking good.
I also planted a few cuk seeds the old fashion way. I rolled them up in a paper towel, and kept them moist for approx 5 days until the seed sprouted, and put the sprouted seed into the ground. Just a thought.
Gymgirl - it might be hard to judge which end to sow "down" but if you look carefully at the seeds, one end is slightly rougher than the other end. Sow with the rough end down. I use tweezers 'cause I find it easier.
I've not paid particular attention, but I think the growing point is the end thats stuck to all the "stuff" that's in squash, melons, cucs, etc.
When you cut into a melon (for instance) all the seeds are pointed towards the middle rib-looking-thingy. I think the growing point is the one stuck to that rib.
I don't have anything to use as a visual aid at the moment.
Well I guess take a look at the picture I posted of a cuk seed. I can't tell one end from the other. It appears one end sends out a root looking growth. I am not sure what happens next, all I know at that stage I put them in the dirt on their side, and a few days later the leaves appear from the bed, and reach for the sunlight. I have never paid attention to it, and they somehow find their way through the soil and into the sunlight. I would assume it really does not make much difference since in nature I don't think they align pointy side down when they hit the dirt. In fact I would think they would lay on their side in nature. Anyway HoneybeeNC I wish you luck..
Maybe you should consider starting a thread devoted to the plugs so we can discuss everything we use them for besides tomatoes. I am having lots more success and lots less mess with the plugs, but i am still using the RR plugs that i ordered first. I think IHORT says the holes are for cuttings, and they also have some plugs with slits in them for seed. I started some blackberry cuttings this morning, very easy to make a hole.
How many plugs do you buy at a time, and what do they charge including shipping.
ERNIECOPP...I really think I have beat this plug thing to death. I think the people that are interested are following this thread. It sounds like you are somewhat like me in that we have not had real great success w/ jiffy mix for whatever reason, and the plugs just make this seed starting a fun experience. I know I am starting seeds that I have never tried before. In fact last night I seeded 140 IHORT plugs w/ Zinnia seeds. It's so easy, and does not make a mess.
I have to do my seeding on a bench in my workshop, and the mix and water, sprinkling, etc was really a mess, and until i read your post, i had only heard about the pellets that did not spark an interest. So, hearing about the plugs was the best thing i have learned from the forum.
But, like i would like to share the details about how easy it was to start the Blackberry cuttings this morning, compared to paying 7 dollars for a cutting, but i worry about offending someone that wants this forum to focus only on tomatoes. We will all have our successes and failures with the plugs to talk about. So far i have had good luck with Nasturtiums that i could not get to sprout in the ground, had cantaloupes pop right up, cauliflower and Kolhrabi, everything seems to like the plugs, but just nervous about talking about anything except tomatoes
Gymgirl said we could talk about anything, but not sure how far that covers.
Earnie...I believe I have rights to 1/2 of this thread...I believe you should post anything you want regarding starting seeds, cuttings, whatever. I sure as heck think you should be able to share your successes with everyone. We all grow maters, but we also grow other veggies, and any help is a good thing. I say keep on posting until admin steps in. I like your enthusiasm. Everybody benifits it seems to me.
Well, since you didn't answer me several days ago horn when I asked you about somehow poking holes or something in the RR to allow more oxygen in them like the IHORTs, maybe I will just try them anyway. But, I do have a bag of the Roots Organic Soil too. Going to try them all.
Okay, with your blessing for a backup, as soon as i have some important successes i will report them. Starting cuttings can be either the easiest thing in the world, or very difficult. Up in Idaho, some tree varieties we could just stick a branch in the ground and 3 or 4 years later send a $50.00 tree to market, and other varieties would not root at all, and had to be grafted, but with the BB cuttings today every thing seemed to work so perfect, i just have good feelings about it. I will let you know in about 3 weeks.
Jnette-please keep us posted on your experiences with all the methods your using. I don't think there's any way to for Hornstrider to answer if he hasn't tried it, and people seem to be happy with the RR the way they are. Maybe you could try it both ways.
Horn-I realize you feel like you have beaten the subject of plugs to death.. Lol but the information gets stuck here and unless your on this thread or know to do a search. The idea of not having dirt everywhere sounds great, if people saw my living room they would call the health dept. But ALL my tomatoes need to be potted up in the next day or two or they wont have time to grow into the pots.
I sow my zinnia seeds without making a mess too, I just toss them. Lol
Glad I wasn't around for the panel discussion, but David explained it correctly, at least for Texas. We have panels for everything.
Ernie-please do start another thread. Which plugs were you using? I'm sooo confused. Maybe I'll even try them for my own stuff. ATM regular starting mix is working for my market plants but I'd like to "branch" out. Pun intended.
Thanks all for adivce about livestock panels. I've been kind of busy getting an engine transplant for my car, then gushing another mushroom cloud of steam after the first repair :-(.
My beds are so small that I would look for the wimpiest grade for low tunnels and seed-starting cold frames. Even (dare I call it) "rabbit fence" (a.k.a. garden fence) was just barely sturdy enough for my first attempt. Chicken wire is much too weak; it barely supports its own weight plus plastic film.
But one of the stiffer grades sounds right for a trellis and over-tent. I doubt that I would try for a 6-foot tall trellis: more like 3-4 feet tall with access on both sides. That way, I might be able to build a 4-5 foot tall 'tent' over it for fall rains and warmth.
(That kind of tent would also let me keep late summer / fall rains off plants from which I want to collect seeds. I've usually had "Moldy sponges" instead of seed heads.
I think that, when I start such major construction, I had better make more effort than usual to keep it tidy and not unattractive, lest the neighbors decide I've gone too far (I live in a manufactured home park and most of my projevcts are 'works in process' and look it).
I do not know enough about enough different aspects of the subject to start a thread. The ideal situation is for you and Horn to keep it here and clarify that is for all aspects of Starting Seeds, cuttings, Plugs, and other aspects of propagation, and not limited to Tomatoes. You indicated before that was fine with you, but with the thread being on the Tomato forum, I did not want to offend anyone.
The Stock Panels are wonderful, economical solutions for many things. They make good portable fence, Trellis, and in the lighter grades, arches or tunnels. They would provide support for windbreaks, Camoflage if your neighbors complain, Vee shaped tents if snow load is a problem, just many uses, but if you do plan to arch them, try bending them before you buy, as some arch nicely and some, made stronger for larger animals will be hard to arch. That is all i was trying to say in the first discussion, and like Lisa said, i would have been glad to not be here for that discussion, too.
Jnette...I am sorry I guess I did not understand your question. I have stated the both plugs work great. I did not punch holes in RR plugs, nor do I recommend doing that. /The two plugs are made differently. The RR plugs are very dense compared to the IHORT plugs.
Let me start over w/ my seed issues in the past. I have been growing maters for 7 years now. I have been a member of DG for approx. 6 years or so. When I first started growing maters I purchased my plants from various nursery's, and box stores. I noticed that most of the posters here at DG started their own seeds. I thought I could do the same so 5 years ago I built a greenhouse, and tried starting my own seeds. I would use Jiffy Mix, make a huge mess, and grow my own seedlings. My seedlings were not bad in fact they were fine, just not as big as the plants I would see at my favorite nursery The Natural Gardener. They had most of the variety's I had started in my greenhouse, and I would purchase their plants, and discard mine because I did not have the confidence in my own efforts. I did not want to chance my mater season on my seeds when I found healthier plants of the same variety at the nursery. The funny thing is they did not carry some of the variety's I wanted to grow like Stupice, and Black Krim. So I would discard my Cherokee Purple, Big Beef, Sun Gold seedlings for the store bought plants. But I planted my Stupice, and Black Krim and they did just fine. This year I tried something different I used these plugs instead of the Jiffy Mix, and I immediately took a liking to the plugs becasue they were so easy to use, and NO MESS. I also purchased some new lights, and I was on my way. My seedling grew like crazy with big thick stems. I went to the Nateral Gardener and I noticed my plants were much bigger, and healthier than theirs. This is the first year that I have not purchased a single plant from a nursery. That is my story for anyone who even cares. Of course I have to show off my efforts. This is a Black Krim planted on approx Feb 15 2012. It has approx 8 maters on it.
I will follow up the previous post with the fact I believe I am a good mater grower. I have learned a lot over the years from you guys on DG, and from my own mistakes. It is just the seed starting issue held me back. Once I put a healthy plant in the ground I can grow a very healthy, and productive crop of maters. This year I have 37 mater plants in the ground, and most of them have mater on them. I am growing Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Big Beef, Stupice, Early Girl, Amish Paste, Roma, San Marzano, and one special plant that Ozark suggested I grow. I saved the seeds from my super plant, and I put one in the ground. I don't know what I am going to get because the super plant was a hybred Early Girl. Thanks to every one on DG especially Dr. Carolyn. I understand about 1/2 of what she tells me, but I am a better mater grower because of the 1/2 I understood.
Thanks texasrockgarden (you always have something nice to say), and Gymgirl...well actually that's 37 maters in my garden, but I also planted 9 tomato plants in my oldest son's garden at the Hog Farm, and 4 mater plants at my #2 son's garden. (I have 5 children)...so that is a total of 50 tomato plants I have planted this season...all from those amazing plugs...Pics from a week ago at the Hog Farm. I hope to finish the garden this weekend, I have one more bed to build, and I also need to weed eat all of the weeds you see. I will knock down the weeds really low, and spray 20% vinegar mix, and put down a black weed barrier, and cover w/ de-composed crushed granite, and finish it off with pine straw...That is my daughter in law planting flowers. She is the mother of two of my grandsons...and a very special person.
No more posting on the NO MESS aspect. LOL Potting up hundreds of tomato seedlings today so I can be DONE. The cat was playing with something on the floor, it was a piece of potting soil. During my "off season" Im going to play around with the plugs. I would love something for cuttings and no mess.
Ernie-All my info on starting seeds is on here. I do it the very old fashion way and have never had problems with Jiffy Mix, but I start seeds on a large scale.
We can always start another thread when its 110 outside and there is nothing else to do. I think the naming of panels is a regional thing.
Horn-on your list of tomatoes you started didnt you leave out Indian Stripe? Lol
I have been reading this thread with interest, but there is one point I'm confused on. Dr. Carolyn says transplanting young seedlings is essential:
"... why is it so important to transplant? Because it shocks the plant and
retards foliage growth so that root growth can occur. If you don't do it you
get huge leggy stupid seedlings that flop all over the place and are a
disgrace to the genus Lycopersicon. That's why."
But people who use the plugs seem to take the opposite point of view. Here is a quote (from another website):
Once the seedling is ready for transplant, the Root Riot Cubes are easy to
transfer into rooting cups, a pot, or the ground without disturbing the roots
of the seedling. It is a little more expensive than just using coco or a seed
starting mix, but you are less likely to lose a seedling since there is virtually
no transplant shock with the Root Riot cubes.
So, I am befuddled. Anyone care to comment?
Lisa...I did that on purpose just to get your attention. I have not heard from you so I figured you would catch that...The Indian Stripe that Lisa was kind enough to share with me...She send me 5 seeds, and 4 germinated..I have 3 in my front garden, and all have lots of maters on them. I planted one Indian Stripe at the Hog Farm...I also forgot to mention I planted a Brandywine Sudduth. I started about 10 seeds, and I was planning to put maybe 3 or 4 in the ground, but Dr. Carolyn was not a big fan of the variety so I only planted one. (That is I think she told me that)
I can only speak for myself but I pot up so I can bury the plants deeper so more roots can form. Even doing that I have ended up with leggy seedlings because I couldnt get them planted our soon enough...they still produced great tomatoes. I havent used the plugs.
DonShirer...all of my seedlings were started in these plugs, and transplanted into 4" pots when they put on their second set of leaves. See pictures below. I did not plant the plug directly into the ground. Is that what you are asking?. Maybe someone else did that.
Pic #1-Started seeds in plug on Jan 1, 2012
Pic#2-Transplanted into 4" pot when second set of leaves appeared
Pic#3-Plants today with tomato's on them
Jnette...The IHORT plugs needed to go into the ground on Feb 15...that would be 46 days from the day I planted the seed on Jan, 1, 2012. They were too big, and needed to go into the ground. I did not want to pot up again.. So I took a chance and planted. I got lucky. The RR plugs were a full two and 1/2 weeks later until they got too big. The RR plugs sort of saved me because they were slower to grow.
I've got my process down to 6-8 weeks before it's time to go into the GARDEN.
Week #1 Seeds sown and declare (germinates, peeps, etc.)
Weeks #2-3 Seedlings put on 1st and 2nd set of leaves (pass the cotlyedons, or nurse leaves)
Week # 4 Potting up ONE TIME, to next container
Weeks #5-7 Seedlings grow on
Week #8 Hardening off begins
Depending on how robust the growth is, I may begin hardening off after week 6, and plant out at week 7 or 8
Your post brings me back to what I was reporting about the Roots Organics potting soil.
Depending on how late or how early you want your seedlings ready to go out for hardening off, you actually can control the growth rate by how much of the Roots Organics you start with at sowing. If you want a seedling ready and robust enough to go out in 8 weeks exactly, I'd grow in 100% RO.
I needed mine to slow down on the second batch because, on the first batch (in 100% RO), I was stuck with ginormous plants with no place to go outside in the freezing cold. I started the second batch iin a 50-50 blend with my regular Sunshine Plug and Seed Starter mix (NO additives in the Sunshine mix). So, although the plants still grew robust (from the RO additives), the timing was spot on. In six weeks I hardened off a beautiful set of seedlings for plant out.
I have gorgeous seedlings now, waiting for me to put them outside...
I figured April and May as approx. 8 weeks. This is the first of April so I thought if I got them in this week they should be about right. I am going to try different things. Problem is, do you think there could be a difference between all the different kinds of tomatoes too? But, I also wanted to try Happy Frog to see what that does. But, I am trying to hold the amount of plants down too but I have 13, I think it is, kinds and I was going to start 2 of each. Well, maybe 3. I can give some away. I really don't want a lot. Too much work for me and I don't have the space.
Yes, Lisa, I do have a short growing season. Maybe 3 1/2 months if I am lucky. I can extend it some with plastic on my hoophouse. But, I really believe you need the sun etc. to get the flavor of tomatoes.
>> Problem is, do you think there could be a difference between all the different kinds of tomatoes too?
I would say "yes". I did some research on cold-climate tomatoes after Heather jump-started my eductaion in that direction. Varieties particularly adapted for Canada and other cool climates probably tolerate and will grow in cooler air and soil than heat-adapted tomatoes.
Probably short-season tomaotes don't NEED to go out as early as mid-season tomatoes - they should still ripen and might even benefit from avoiding the cold-stress of being planted out as soon as possible.
From what I read, night-time lows of 50F should be avoided for most varieties, but in principle, shouldn't there be a whole array of air and soil temperatures (slightly different for each variety) where:
- this kills plants
- this damages and stunts them
- this stops growth and takes time to recover from
- they won't grow or mature much at this tmeperature
- cooler than they prefer
- they grow OK at this temperature
- optimimum temp for young plants
- warmer than optimum
- heat stress
- too hot to set fruit
I would love to know what each of those temps are for average short-season tomatoes!
Oregon Spring - extra-early, very cold-tolerant, "plant 4 wks before last frost & protect only when there's frost"
Manitoba - extra-early, cold-tolerant, 3'-4' DET, "Canadian for colder climates"
Matina - extra-early, INDET, "dependable even in cold/wet summers"
Sub-Artic Plenty - extra-early, DET Developed by the U.S. Military - fresh tomatoes for troops in Greenland.
Northern Delight - ultra-early, "for the Far North", 2' DET
Beaverlodge series - ultra-early, compact DET, containers
Sophie's Choice: Heirloom from Edmonton, Canada, Carolyn Male. Extra early. 2' DET vines. Best production in cooler climates.
Early Cascade - (hybrid but seems pretty true) - early, short-summer, PNW, "reliable: sets fruit in any climate"
Early Wonder - extra-early, 3'-4' SEMI-DET, med red globe
Early Wonder - extra-early, SEMI-INDET
Siletz - extra-early, reliable, DET,
Sungold F1 - extra-early, 4'-8' INDET, containers, sweet orange cherry with 'tropical' flavor
Ildi - extra-early, yellow grape pear, 8'-10' INDET
Gold Nugget - extra-early, 2-3' DET, bland yellow cherry
Yellow Plum - early, productive even in cold, 4'-6' INDET, yellow cherry
Bloody Butcher - early, cool climate, 4'-6'
Maskabec - early, 18"-36" DET, 4-6 oz. red globe
Golden Rave (hybrid) - early, gold Roma plum6'-8' INDET
Husky Cherry Red - early, semi-DET or dwarf INDET
Sub Artic Cherry - early, DET, pink, "developed in Alberta for short seasons"
Early Cascade - early, short summer, red-orange
Chadwicks' Cherry, aka Camp Joy
Gardener's Delight, aka Sugar Lump
Mountain Magic F1
Smarty F1 (grape)
Thank you for the clarification. It looks like you just plunk the plant, root riot plug and all into your 4" pot and fill in with potting mix. True? That seems the direct opposite of Carolyn's method of shocking the roots by lifting the seedling and its root out of its original container and plunking it into a bigger pot of mix. Yet you report a great success rate and healthier plants (and what looks like easier transplanting too). As Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh-in, "Ver-r-r-r-y Interesting!"
I only have room for about eight tomatoes in my smaller garden, and up to now have been following Carolyn's advice and starting 3 seeds (in sterilized starting mix) for every variety I grow. Usually at least 2 good seedlings result from the 3 seeds, and I just pick the best plant to put in the ground after the last frost. I can see that someone growing on a much larger scale, as you do, would be looking for ways to improve your germination rate, reduce the work of transplanting, and achieve sturdier plants, and it appears that you have found one.
DonShirer...Thank you...I put one seed per plug, and had a 95% germination rate, and really I do almost the same thing that you described above. I rip the plug out of it's cell, and you can feel the roots exposed on the bottom of the plug breaking loose from the seed trey. See bottom picture of the plug w/ the plant..
20% and stronger vinegar is toxic and should not be used.
White vinegar: This is the vinegar that should be used for cleaning around the house and as an ingredient in the vinegar herbicide formula. Sprinkling white vinegar atop a dusting of baking soda is terrific for cleaning sinks, tubs, tile floors and other surfaces. For cleaning, it can be diluted with water as much as 50-50. For the herbicide, it should be used full strength. In all cases, the products to buy in this category should be true vinegars made by distilling grain alcohol. For the purists, there is organic white vinegar made from corn.
Cider Vinegars: Natural vinegars such as those made from fermenting apples and other fruits have little herbicidal value, although the original research done by the USDA on the herbicidal aspect used a 5% product. There are two basic categories of cider vinegars – regular apple cider vinegar and organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” included. That's the clumpy stuff that settles to the bottom of the bottle. The regular non-organic products are what I recommend for use in the Garrett Juice formula and to use in the watering of interior plants at 1-2 oz per gallon of water in the Garrett Juice formula.
The good organic stuff is what I take internally daily – usually an ounce or so.
Bad Vinegars: I've warned against 20% in the past, but it unfortunately continues to be sold. It is stronger than needed and too expensive. These products are made from 99% glacial acetic acid and should be avoided. This material is a petroleum derivative, dangerous to breathe and can be damaging to eyes and skin. In addition, the 10% white vinegars are strong enough to work well in the weed killing formula and don’t cost as much. One final warning is that some of the 10% vinegars being sold to organic gardeners are the fake 20% product that has been cut with water. Proper vinegars should have on the label that they are made from distilled grain alcohol or other similar language indicating natural products from distilling.
TX_gardener...Wow...I am just getting ready to leave for the Hog Farm in Marble Falls. I listen to John Dromgould on Garden Talk radio on Sat mornings, and he is a strict in your face no chemicals kind of guy, and he recommends the 20% vinegar. What do you suggest to kill the weeds?...I am doing this today so a fast answer would be appreciated...I will check you answer on my G4...
Well, I'm now out of a bottle I purchased so will see about getting the ingredients to make my own. I think the main point that guy makes is 10% vinegar is the highest and best strength to use. I have used 10% with added dish liquid and water (don't remember the ratio) and had decent results. Nothing's gonna knock 'em down while you're watching! LOL Even some of the 'chemicals' can take a week or more. All I can tell ya is spray and hope... and spray and hope more. Weeds are stronger than we'd like, for sure.
I have heard that vinegar works best on new growth, so you may want to mow 1st then rake and when new growth appears apply the vinegar. You may have to apply several times a couple days apart in hot sun. I don't think vinegar kills roots but plants without foliage will eventually die.
I think you are on the right track, giving consideration and importance to the negative factors, and not just focusing on the positives, as both seem to me to have equal importance in how things grow. Not enough experience here yet to comment on most points you brought up, but did just learn a lesson about the importance of soil temps.
Ray der Phan, my Tomato Mentor, told me that Cantaloupes should not be planted in this area until May, but with the Air temp in the 80's, small peaches on the Peach tree, Blossoms on the Apricot, i thought we might be having an early Spring. So, i bought a sixpack of Cantaloupe plants and set them out. They just sat there, shriveling up like a Duck Hunter on a cold December day. Moisture was good, no sign of disease or bug bites, so i finally checked the soil temp when four of them had died, and it was only 53 degrees when Cants like 60 degrees. Lesson learned, so it does take more than Sunshine to make these plants grow.
I am a great fan of Vinegar, and usually drink all the Dill Pickle juice in the jar before the Pickles are gone, but after having my mouth, eyes and nose shot full of Roundup, from 2 feet away and under 65 pounds of pressure, when a helper was coiling up the Spray hose, I think Roundup is a safe way to kill weeds.
I know this will upset a lot of people, and i expected to be dead, or at least blind, before i got to the house, but after spitting out what i did not swallow, and wiping off my face, i felt absolutely nothing, then or later.
Some chemicals are surely dangerous, but if Vinegar does not do the job, i do not think Roundup will hurt anything but the weeds.
TX_gardener, ERNIECOPP...Thanks guys. I just finished the last bed, We did not get to weed killing. I use Round Up around the house all the time. My daughter in law is a organic type person, and it is their garden I am building. I am going back tomorrow, and we will get it taken care of one way or the other. The weeds are mostly clover. I think if we cover with weed block topped w/ de-composed granite we will be ok. Thanks guys!!
Thanks for the tip. It can do a lot of damage, but i will not need to get near the tomatoes. The Roundup i am using now is not nearly as strong as what i used on the Nursery, and takes about 3 times as long to kill weeds and grass, but kill it does, so i am always careful with it.
Trying to simplify my spraying, as i have a lot of trees to spray. I have to use Kocide frequently and hope to keep pests under control with Malathion, with usual adherence to time limits on edibles. Do either of those damage tomato plants? I can find a different pesticide if necessary but do want to stick with Kocide for the trees.
This note was passed to me by a friend. i have seen a few mentions of Hydrogen Peroxide, but nothing like this. Please comment. Ernie
"I decided to try the hydrogen peroxide soak for my seeds and the results are just amazing. I put the seeds in ice cube trays and labeled them. I filled each cell 1/2 way with water and put 1/2 a dropper full of H2O2 in each and let them soak overnight. The results; hollyhocks, which list a germination time of 10 to 15 days were up in less than 48 hours. Totally did not expect that. Okra, Minnesota midget cantaloupe, Sumter pickling cukes, Brussels sprouts, and triple treat pumpkin were up in 72 hours. Gourds, heirloom tomatoes, lemon cukes, and broccoli were mostly up in 5 days. All of these seeds are from 2 to 5 years old. I have another bunch soaking and will plant tomorrow. I was very careful about planting depths and this was also the first time I ever planted seeds with tweezers. I wish I had soaked the peas, carrots, radishes, and beets I put in the ground 2 weeks ago. My succession plantings will be soaked from now on. Gardeners...you have to try this! So very simple and I am thrilled with the results"
I've seen many comments about using diluted peroxide. Most talk about the improved germination. Peroxide may also help prevent damping off if used (diluted) with the baby seedlings. I've used it a couple of times for older 5+ years tomato seeds with good results. I don't use it all the time, though.
Ernie, Hydrogen Peroxide puts oxygen in the soil, roots, and also is great for, as you said, damping off or killing insects, and diseases. I have used it many years. A month or so ago, I bumped up an old, 2004 thread regarding it. Especially used with seed germination. Believe it is under the propagation forum.
It is especially good used in the winter time when most houseplants are killed by overwatering. If you put some in the water each time you water houseplants, that will ensure oxygen so the roots don't rot.
There are tons of uses for hydrogen peroxide. There are books written on it's uses. Just like vinegar books written.
Hi Horn, Many years ago I was using a product called Oxygen Plus on my houseplants. They were really nice. You used two squirts from this bottle, a pump action thing, into a gallon of water. So, I don't know how much those squirts were. If I had to guess, I would say about maybe a tablespoon each? Anyway, after getting in to the interesting subject on DG, I realized that all the time I had been paying a big price for Hydrogen Peroxide!!
So, you can kind of take it from there. I just give it a good gulp into the watering jug. No measuring. I use it every time I water EVERYTHING. Everything I water by hand that is. Container plants only? Maybe that is a better gauge.
David, Personally, i have been satisfied with the germination time both for the plugs, and since i started sifting a 1/4 inch of sand over the direct planted seeds instead of putting dirt on them that crusts and holds them back. It was not so much a germination problem for me but the hard crust they could not break through. I found the article on rapid germination interesting, and it would be valuable knowledge if a person was doing a large amount, or was in a hurry. I have been trying to load 2 pictures without success, although i loaded four last time. I will try one this time.
Okay, the one picture loaded okay. You can see the beans and the other row is turnips, and that is more than double the number of plants that were able to break through the crust last year. Except for the crusting problem, that adding compost has not seemed ot help, the soil is just extremely fertile.
Horn, I recall you were talking about the extra air the Ihort plugs allowed the plants, and while i do not yet see how the oxygen would affect the seed time, it may well do it.
I know from personal experience HP adds a lot of Oxygen. I was still climbing the mountains in Idaho at timberline, selecting Sub Alpine Specimen Fir for transplanting, when i was in my 70's, and i would run low on air, so a few drops under my tongue would get me going again. So, if the oxygen is what speeds up germination, that is the connection, but it is not clear to me how the seed, BEFORE it germinates, can put the oxygen to use.
I hope we hear more from people that have compared the results. Also, the guy that wrote the article said he used a Half a Dropper, but did not say what size dropper it was, so more information on the amounts would be helpful.
When I use H202 with seeds it's to contol any possible disease, I assumed the 02 issue only came into play after they had germinated? For the longest time I couldn't understand how it helped because it's a relatively unstable compound that breaks down into H20 rather quickly. But now I understand that the release of that 1 oxygen molecule is the whole point. : )
I use it to soak seeds overnight or for however long it takes me to remember to sow them. Lol. I've never had an issue with dampening off.
I only use the HP for germination on large hard shelled, or, seeds larger than tomato seeds, I put some in a paper towel soaked in the diluted HP and into a zip lock bag to germinate. Some flower seeds. i.e. Daturas and Cobeas. I use the HP AFTER germination on the tomatoes, petunias etc.
Just sowed a bunch of tomatoes, and other items, in a little greenhouse and am using a H2O2 solution. I forget whose post I saw it on had a formula of 1/3 cup H2O2 to water. With what I've seen here, I thought that solution was a little strong so I cut it to 1/4 cup.
Will keep track of germination timing and report here...
I don't worry about length of time to germinate unless, of course, they aren't going to at all. As long as they progress to good healthy plants I am satisfied. I put mine on a heating mat because tomatoes like their feet warm, and overhead light close to the dome. I just want good thick stalks. Don't like spindly plants even tho I know you plant them deep. I plant mine deep even with nicer stalks. Just me.
I can think of 5 ways that H2O2 might speed germination.
- softening the seed coat without encouraging bacteria and fungus
- removing a water-repellent coating
- inactivating germination inhibitors
- carrying unusual amounts of oxygen into the seed's interior tissues
- killing fungus or mold spores that distress seed embryos after ermerging
Just remember, Hydrogen peroxide comes in two different strengths in stores: 3% or 35%.
My guess is that most recipies bandied about on the Internet are based on the 3% bottles sold as a first aid wound cleaner or oral rinse.
A 3% to 8% solution will bleach hair when used with ammonium hydroxide, so 35% is a very powerful oxidizer.
Here's a link that gives dilution ratios to make seed-soak solution, oxygen supplemented water for unhappy roots, or anti-fungal solutions. It suggests diluting 3% hydrogen peroxide by another 32-fold, or diluting 35% by 300-fold
(For soaking seeds, it advises 0.1% H2O2.)
Thank you. Now we know it does speed things up, so anytime we are in a hurry we can do that. I would think for those like you that have a lot to germinate it is a big help. It still amazes me to hear what you and a couple of others manage to do with these plants.
Rick, you have to really need it and know what you are looking for to get the 35%. Almost all stores carry the 3% which is the common usage one.
Mainly food handlers etc. use the stronger one for cleaning. It is pretty dangerous I think if you don't know what you are doing. One of the DGers bred and raised and sold dogs. She used it for cleaning the dog's area. Those reasons, and others like them, are why you would use and go to find the stronger HP.
I'm glad to hear that the 35% is hard to find! I feared that, since you would need it to make 8% bleach for hair, that many drugstores would carry it.
I've worked in the chemical industry and various labs, and I always think it's a diservice to most people that so many "warnings" are printed on things that don't need any warnings, if you're smart enough to learn to read. Like lawnmowers that "warn" you to keep your feet out from under. Our liability-motivated warnings that add up to "if you take this product out of the box you are violating the saftey warnings".
However, those warnings teach people that they can safely ignore warnings, and that is NOT true with many chemicals. Burns and blindness are easy to do to yourself if you don't pay attention to the REAL warnings.
You can buy a gallon of hydrochloric acid strong enough to etch concrete or digest your teeth, with warning text not much more scary then the warnings on a Mr. Coffee! And yet we feel it necessary to label electric hair driers "do not use in the shower with water running". Somehow those two facts ought not both be true about the same population.
>> Is the Hydrogen peroxide for faster germination, or you trying to speed up the plant out date.
Only to speed up germination. And to make it more reliable, or to get a higher % of sprouts to emerge, or maybe to cut down on damping off if your soil surface stays damp. That's my opinion.
And I've heard a few people say that it is more likely to help seeds that are:
- old enough to have have reduced viability
- strongly dormant seeds
And some people just always use it whenever they soak seeds, and for whatever reqaon, those people are good at starting seeds. I kind of like that theory: why not discourage bacteria and yeast and fungus? Hydrogen peroxide may not be an antiseptic, and in these concentrations it won't sterilize, but maybe it will deter or slow down some microbes ads you soak overnight.
Or maybe it is just that people who take pains and try anything that probably helps, are more likely to have other good habits that work well!
The safe date to plant out depends only on your variety, your average date of last frost, how variable your spring weather is, or how sheltered your spot is.
Horn, I am not sure why others are using it. I said I use it for hard shelled seeds. I use it after on all other plants for damping off, killing pests and diseases. Also, to get oxygen to the roots. That is what it was for originally. The oxygen then the other things came to light. You know, it is like vinegar. You can buy books on the uses of HP.
Rick, I said you had to want it for a specific thing and know where to look for it. If you are using it for doing something to your hair etc. then you know to go to a drug store. Probably even have to ask for it. Don't know.
Ernie, I don't use it on all seeds, just seeds I soak. Which are usually older seeds or large seeds, as indicated above. I have some pepper seeds that have not germinated. After growing season, in the dog days of summer, I will try these seeds again, but I will soak them first to see if that gets them to germinate.
I don't use it often on container plants because it is a disinfectant, so it will kill the bad but also the good.
If I'm going to soak seeds I usually use a small paper/plastic cup "some" HP and "some" more water. Since HP isnt very stable to begin with I don't believe the solution stays "active" for very long.
I don't know if the HP or the soaking helps speed up the germination, but I still use it,when I soak seeds. That is the only way I have gotten some seeds to germinate, then I make sure I save the seeds so I don't have to go thru that again. Some of the SUPER HOT peppers take forever to germinate.
I do think it helps deter any possible problems (dampening off) which is more of a concern to me then speed of germination. So as long as I'm going to soak them I use HP. Many of the larger seeds or seed capsules (beet and Swiss Chard) recommend soaking on the directions.
A few of my cuk swellings got wacked by pill bugs ...just two seedlings...diva...I have one diva still trying to make it...I was going to thin anyway...but it upsets me that a pill bug wacked my seedling...I put a little seven dust down, problem solved...I had to do something...that is the first non organic thing I have done so far this year...I kinda feel guilty...
Rick, thanks for the links for the HP and the post here on DG. I guess it was just by "dumb luck" that I hit the 1/4 c. to gallon formula for the seedlings. Like what was said about the strength of vinegar, never realized there were different strengths of HP.
I didn't think my questions about the use of HP was going to garner this much attention and information.
Now with the new info about HP speeding germination, maybe this last set of tomato seedlings aren't going to be doomed after all...
Don't feel guilty it works and your not spraying it unchecked everywhere. In Texas the bugs can be a real problem if there is choice between me eating or them I figure I should win. Many of the " organic" products have to be used repeatedly to get results, since they kill the good and the bad bugs I figure there's less of a chance of killing the good if I don't have to keep applying it.
The people that live behind me were missionaries in Africa, the older man grew up there. He always tells me about how he grew up in " the Wilds of Africa" but never truly encounter bugs until he moved to TX, and he's lived all over the US too.
One year my tomato seedlings kept getting mowed down, every morning I'd go out and find more dead. I'd been told that it couldn't be pill bugs because that wasn't what they did, so I put seven dust around everyone of them. The next morning I went out and thought I saw rabbit poop, it wax jillions of dead pill bugs, I had to put my glasses on to see it wasn't poop. I did it that one time and never had to use it again that year because I'd stopped their life cycle.
If you ever start to feel guilt again dmail Ozark. He'll give you a boost.
Well in the Jiffy 16 I got 8 each of Beefsteak & Brandywine, plus 10 Bradley's. Finally got those okra seeds that I had frozen last summer in a greenhouse, along with some cukes, cantaloupe,iceberg lettuce, and some beans. When Momma was sowing some of her seeds, she put some soil in a aluminum pan and put some tomato seeds in it, so I transplanted them into 3" peat pots, that's another 8.
Going to see what will produce in 5 gallon buckets and looking for some other containers.
I used to get Bradley tomatoes from their source, Bradley county Arkansas. Every June they have a "Pink Tomato Festival" and the guest of honor is the Bradley tomato. They were large, pretty, and delicious. They haven't grown well for me, I think the climate is too dry. For what ever reason, I didn't get the large delicious tomatoes that I could get in south Arkansas.
I just reread these entire TWO threads. There is GREAT stuff here!
Thanks, again, to everyone who is contributing!
And, since I know that everything happens in God's own time, I will probably be sowing my okra, eggplant, and cucumber seeds this Friday. I will soak the okra and eggplant seeds Thursday night in 3% H2O2, and plant the seeds Friday in the IHORT seed plugs.
Since I'm just beginning this whole progress, I'll post a pictorial documenting the whole process from soaking to planting out, and maybe, beyond. As God would have it, I can capture the whole process for those who've just joined the discussion and are just getting started.
To everyone that might be thinking about using the Hydrogen Peroxide for starting plants, it will not be much of a financial burden. I was in Costco today, and bought a twopack of quarts for just $1.99. That should be enought for several lifetimes.
I am not sure i will use it myself, and if i do, it will be a very small amount of it. But it is good to know that about the short shelf life. We used it for cuts and scratches as a kid, as that was about all there was, and it seemed to never stop foaming, so i did not think about it losing its strength.
Ernie for the money you saved you could buy the book (advertised in the Parade mag in the Sunday papers) on Peroxide. You are right. When I have a cut, usually caught by the dog's claw, I pour that over it. It has all kinds of uses. I know a Tetnus shot.
LOL, last year I was trying to find Epsom Salts in Wal Mart for my tomatoes. The clerk even took his inventory machine out and was looking all over for it. Couldn't find it where it was suppose to be in the pharmacy area. So, after quite a while of looking I gave up. Was going down to the garden area and walked right into it on an end cap in the garden area!!! Normally they might have in both, but on just in the garden shop.
I had put some hard shelled seeds in a shot glass with water and a little HP in it yesterday. 4 were a tropical plant for houseplants, They were all sprouted.
The other one was a Corkscrew Vine the instructions said to soak them for 12 hrs. I remembered to look at them after about 30 hours. and it has not sprouted yet. I put it back in with some more water and HP. Don't know how much, just poured some in the cap and then poured some out of that into the shot. We'll see.
I just might go in and pull it out of there and plant it since it said 12 hrs. Would hate to ruin it since they are expensive.
I'm very late to this thread but glad I found it. My tomatoes are just up and growing in the greenhouse now after moving them from the heat mat in the basement. I use the little 6 packs from the nurserys to start mine. I use a seed starting product I bought years ago. Actually, two huge bags of compressed seed starter that I use for everything. One bag is gone and I am well into the second. When it is gone I will have to give up gardening, but it may be time anyway due to my age. My head does much better gardening than my body. At least, for now. LOL I am specializing in Russian tomatoes this year because of their ability to grow and produce in our cool conditions here on the Ore. coast.
After their 2nd set of leaves, I will pot them up once, grow on, harden off and plant hopefully around the middle of May.
Another experiment this year is my saved seed of Early Girl. OMG I can hear you gasp from here. Yes, she is a hybrid, but I have heard you can get nice tomatoes from saved Early Girl seed, so we shall see. I think the planning and starting process is my favorite of all.
Here are some photos of my tomatoes from year past planted in front of my GH and including my hardening off plant rack.
Well keep the photos and some film,because if you gardened always like you said, you'll never give it up as a state of mind.And similar to my grandparents, my greatgrandparents, my parents, I'll bet you will always have some pot of something growing nearby.Thanks for the pics I wish I was. that neat about mine ,ithat looks delightful.
bb, your set up looks so neat and nice. AND, the tomatoes look great. You are going to have to keep us posted of your success with the Early Girls. What are the Russian tomatoes you have been growing? I did Siberians a couple years ago, but the tags got mixed up so not sure how they did. I planted a few others like those but can't remember the names.
They are supposed to do better in the colder climates. But, if you can plant out in mid May, that is not too bad. I don't plan on it until the end of May. Wow!! Just looked at your zone. 9?? Because of the closeness of the water. So, other than that, how do they get 9? I wouldn't think there would be enough other things, except that you never have the snow and ice that I do. Ok, how long do you get ripe tomatoes in the summer?
Those are cans,fruit or bean the usual food from the grocery.they have been outside since march 15 approx.I just like taking chances knowing it is a month or so too early. Only when it works that way I get big strong plants.The yellow currants are'nt shown were winter sown and they have stayed small after sprouting,sometimes plants dwarf and never develop,that may be with those this time.I'll know in a few weeks.I'm not too concerned with a few frost's that happen but it's suppose to freeze next week and that I worry some about.If that happens it becomes more work than I like throwing earth and mulch over lids I'll place on them.They have baggies over them easy to open and close. the word easy ,my favorite.
Even though I wasn't asked the one's shown are ester hess and farmstead,and yes there are other's in the garden. Blog at ya later.
Yes, and thank you Linda . We was behind a horrible wreck in Alabama that no one walked away from . I count my blessings it was none of my family , prayed for the survivors of those souls .
Enjoyed Sunday so much . My gift toms arrived safe and got a good rain that night on them .
Back to topic
This thread is super ! Going to a master gardener show today . Too bad they only have trees and flowers , a booth or two with veggies and instructions , suggestions would be great. Wonder what they grow to eat ? lol I have a lot to learn . You guys are way ahead of me and I will keep plugging
Gymgirl...Because I did not know about them three years ago...I just discovered them THIS year...I thought the reason for this thread is because I just discovered the plugs, and we wanted to share with everyone...especially the folks up north that are just now starting their seeds.
Thanks Juhur and Jnette for your nice comments. About our weather! Yes, it is different here. We have cool summers, especially May June and most of July because of the chilly wind that blows in off the ocean. We have rain then on and off and we have dark cloudy days, too. Tomatoes are tough though and if planted with love and patience, they will grow quite a bit during that period. They will set, too, but getting them to ripen is a whole nother subject. Finally, we get into our dry season which usually starts in late July and continues on through Oct.(hopefully) If I work hard at it, I usually get 1st tomatoes in mid August. Sept. and Oct. is when they really kick in. By then, however the days are shorter and the nights are cooler and the tomatoes are near the end depending on if we get hard frost, although I think hard cold drenching rain is worse for them because that brings late blight.
Writing this makes me wonder if its worth it? But, yes, I guess that wonderful home grown tomato taste makes it all worth it. I love my home canned tomatoes in winter, too and homemade salsa and I have a wonderful home canned recipe that uses green beans and tomatoes together. Now I'm talking myself back into it.
My Russians this year are:
1.Siberian, which I have saved seed from for many years and it is nearly always my 1st tomato. It's great in salads.
2.Galina Yellow Cherry-My 3rd year of growing this and is without doubt the best cherry tomato I have ever eaten. It's late and worth it. I have read that Galina doesn't taste good in hot climates. She needs a cooler summer. That's for me!
3.Azochaka-Also third year. It's a large yellow with very few seeds. I love it for it's lemony flavor and that it endures harder weather conditions in the fall before it gives up.
4.Anna Russian will be new to me.
5. Chernomor---A brown tomato and new to me.
6.Moskovich-An early heirloom somewhat like Early Girl. Also new.
7. Crnkovic--Which is Yugoslavian, an early beef steak.
Then I am growing Glacier, Stump of the World and my own seeds of Red Brandywine. At the last minute I planted Beryl, a green tomato that stays short.
Whew! They are up and looking spindly as they always do at first. They fatten up and get lovely green leaves really quickly, though.
As always, I have high hopes for the coming tomato year. I just hope we have a warmer spring and summer than we did last year. So far, Not so good. March was horrible and April is so-so thus far.
Happy tomato year to all.
Horn-You did mention that the store had only been open 3 months or so when you went there, just a few months ago.
Beebonnet-where you live is beautiful. As a kid we took vacations up the coast (hwy 1 and 101) I will always remember Coos Bay. It is strange to think you are in a higher zone then I am here, I guess its because it doesnt get as cold, or as hot, for that matter.
I just potted up some Beryl Beauty. They are from the Dwarf Project, and do well in containers. My New Big Dwarf is just starting to set fruit. However it is not a new variety, as the name would imply.
Im hoping that by having some in containers I can move them around some to get them out of the TX heat so they will keep up production.
Juhur, it was no big deal, the post, but here it is:
LOL, last year I was trying to find Epsom Salts in Wal Mart for my tomatoes. The clerk even took his inventory machine out and was looking all over for it. Couldn't find it where it was suppose to be in the pharmacy area. So, after quite a while of looking I gave up. Was going down to the garden area and walked right into it on an end cap in the garden area!!! Normally they might have in both, but on just in the garden shop.
Ok, it doesn't appear anyone else here uses the Epsom Salts for their tomatoes. Maybe it is a Northern thing. We use it on both the tomatoes and roses. Not too sure why both of those, but I always plant my tomatoes with about 1/4 cup of the ES on each plant. Sprinkled in the hole and around the plant. I am not a chemist, maybe someone else can tell you, but it is the magnesium and calcium, I believe, that is so good for these plants.
Does anyone else use them and if so, you will have a better explanation for it than I. However, Juhur, just for you, I am going to go see what I can find out.
Jeanette Also, I use it a couple times through out the season. A half cup when I plant roses.
Jnette...I use epsom salts...I described my bed prep in the ..enough sunlight thread that the poster from buda texas started...I dont know how to copy and paste from my smart phone...read what I do for bed prep...then when I plant my mater plant I dig a big hole, and put tomato tone, bone meal, azomite, mychoriza, and epsom salt into the hole, and plant my mater deep...so yes I am a believer in epsom salt. I have read it helps the plants uptake the nutrients...you asked, and that is what I do
I use it too because my daddy used it . Whatever Daddy did was the only way to go in my opinion .I still think he knew every thing and he's been gone 35 years or so .He used moth balls in a ring , two inches deep around his peach trees . He never had peach borers so it must work .
Lisa , I hate we never got together this winter , really wanted to visit again . I only spent two days at my son's house , leaving Christmas eve . Got a lot of work done at the coast tho. Maybe next time . I would like to see your tomato garden before frost . I was impressed with it before and how you fooled the frost with blankets . I bought some frost cloth and made a hoop house . Worked great except it only got down to 30° twice , for one night each . All winter !
I posted something similar to this on Cricket's thread, but not having had any responses, i will post it here before i forget the question.
i believe in the old aphorism that you can see a lot just by looking, so i have been studying the tomato plants in regards to the Septorum blight i have been getting. I have noticed that some varieties seem to have high resistance to it, and others are susceptible.
Have any of you made a study or kept records of this? I plan to select resistant varieties next year, but most of you may not have the problem i do, as i have Pecan trees on one side and Eucalyptus on the other, both of which seem to have a problem with it.
Horn-about how much of each do you put in each hole? This summer it wont be L H Alaska LOL but now the mornings are chilly.
Digger-I wished we had gotten a chance to see each other too. My tomatoes did terrible between the heat and the deer you didnt miss a thing. I do use sleeping bags to extend the season into winter. It works best on the tomatoes I let sprawl.
I throw in a couple hands of Dolomitic lime, a handful of EP, and, this season, a handful of worm castings. NEXT time I'll throw in that Bone Meal, too!
After I planted the fifty cell tray with the seed plugs, I still had herb seeds to sow. So, I broke out a comparable system I've been waiting to use since three seasons ago.
Over in the IRISES forum, someone made a tray for starting iris seeds planted individually in sections of PVC tubing.
The tubes sit in a square frame that has a hardware cloth bottom. The bottom is lined with weed cloth. Three seasons ago, I bought several deep drawers at a garage sale for $1 apiece. I cut a 10 ft length of 1" PVC tuning into 4" long sections and stood them in the drawers. They fit perfectly, and have been waiting for today!
I drilled 1/4" holes in the bottom of the drawer, and lined it with weed block. Then, I stood the PVC tubes in, filled each with a 50-50 blend of old potting mix and new Roots Organic potting soil, and dropped a seed in each. I watere in with the hose on "mist" setting, and put the herb tray in a shady area of my yard. I'll compare the growth between the seed plugs and the PVC tray.
Here's the PVC tray.
PS. I almost forgot. Since we'd been discussing H2O2, I mixed 3 capsful into the water I used for the seed plug tray. that'll be interesting.
GG-Why are you adding lime and why are you adding that much lime, it seems like a lot to me. I honestly dont know anything about it because I deal with alkaline conditions here so Im just curious.
Im not trying to tell you how to plant them.
I'm sort of like Digger on this one. I add the lime because when I started in patented Earthboxes, the planting instructions said to add 2 cups of lime per EB. Then, I started reading that tomatoes and lime sorta go together. And, so many gardeners here do it -- so, I just kept on doing it, too!
OK container gardeing is much different then in ground gardening. its been my understanding that tomatoes prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil. But adding lime cant be a blanket statement for everyone. You should only use it when you want to raise the PH of your soil, which you might need to do in your area, only you know that. : ) If I did it here it would be a terrible mistake that I would then have to correct. It could cost me a whole season and be a real pain to straighten out. If I was new to gardening and I read "add lime" I would add it without realizing its not recommended or advised in my area, for in ground gardening. Now EBs would be a whole other story...Here we add sulpher to lower the PH and organic material works well too.
I looked at my tomatoes today and they were almost all up big time. These I planted on the Ist in the RR plugs. I would say from the looks of them that they have been up a couple of days. I haven't looked at them for a couple of days. HOWEVER, this would not be unusual for my normal planting in Pro Mix. Because I have them on a heat mat between 75 and 80, and also have the lights on them right down on the dome. Probably 2 inches from the top of the plug.
I will look closer tomorrow and take care of them. I am sure take the dome off etc. I am just waiting really to see if there will be a difference in how they grow, thickness of stalks, etc. from what I normally have. That should maybe show a difference in the RR plugs and my usual planting.
One more thing. I used an EB last year for the first time. Put 2 indeterminates in it because this EB had galvanized pipes running up each side about 5 ft and across the top with nylon netting all the way up. I didn't see any difference between them and the tomatoes I planted in the alfalfa bales. And yes, I did the same as GG. Added it because it said to. I used a mixture of Happy Frog and the mix with the moisture control. LOL, it's late, can't think of it but you know which one.
BTW, I got the EB at an estate sale for $15. Only one I have ever seen with the support like that.
I have never used an EB so I dont know what the directions are, but it is a "closed" environment so if it says add lime the of course add lime. However, when you plant in ground not all soils or situations are the same everywhere so what works in one location wont work in another.
Lisa...I use a tablespoon of all except 2 tablespoons of Mycorrhizae, and two tablespoons of tomato tone...
Jnette...This is how I prep my beds:...This is how I do it...it may not be the best way to prepare a bed, but it works for me...
When I built my beds I added extra turkey compost (five bags of soil to 2 bags of turkey compost). I also added alfalfa pellets, green sand, Azomite, cotton seed meal, tomato tone, and epsom salt. I mulch w/ shreded oak leaves, and reg leaves, and top that with pine straw.
Now when I start a growing season I fork up my beds, and see lots, and lots of worms. In fact I have to fork my beds, and pull the worms out, and put the worms into a bucket, and then I till the bed so I don't kill the worms. I then put the worms back into the bed after tilling. I believe worms are the most important part of my eco-system in my garden, They fertilize, and aerate my soil so my plants can grow, and produce lots of fruit.
Jnette; Thank you, I feel APPRECIATED!!! I seem to remember using that to grow vines, LOTS of vine little fruit.
general; The tomatoes are still growing well, last night it was below 30 degrees hope they got past damaging. I'll still try posting a few more pics after this week and two more freezes to go.MARGLOBE planted last week is out growing all by leaps and bounds.Hopefully I'll be able to keep them covered.
Most of you sound like producers or market managers, I'm somewhat overwhilmed with all this info; GOOD STUFF!!!
LOL Juhur, I think almost everyone here but me is in growing for the masses. (I said almost) But, don't let that scare you. They are a great group of folks to learn from. Good ideas and a lot of help. They do answer all of your questions.
Horn, I was rereading your post and am wondering 2 things. One, what kind of Mycorrhizae do you use, soluble or the one you put right to the roots? And two, why do you use so much of it. When I got mine they said just a sprinkle directly to the roots.
There is, or used to be a fellow on DG that has been using it for 30 years on his fruit trees etc. Seemed to know what he was doing, said he buys it every year and uses it. Maybe I should go find him and pick his brain some more. :0)
Thanks David that's my point. There must be a reason to add it to EBs, but growing in ground is completely different and I just don't want everybody that's growing tomatoes to think they need to add lime, especially 2 handfuls too each plant out hole.
Yes, in the EBs there is a reason, but I don't think adding lime should be a blanket statement for everybody planting tomatoes. I was just at the corner hardware store and they don't even sell is here, but they do sell sulpher.
Nitrogen, not lime, will help composting. Sulpher works on fungus and will make the Ph lower. Your soil PH dictates whether or not you should add lime. Every area is different. I feel I would be doing a disservice to tell everybody to add Sulpher if they already have acidic soil they don't need it.
ERNIECOPP; That was one my concernes last season, I got a lot of ph changes from watering,tried to overcome some watering with calcium and phosphorous. Vines seemed to respond well to that but my tomatoes showed resentment.
When going the other way with ph grandma's vinegar or a slight sulpher mixture worked well with the flowers.
I'm hoping blight or blosson end problems will be more controlled from last years additions.
I'm on well water and I know it's alkaline tons of sediment builds up in the pipes and on the water fixtures, but there's nothing I can do about that, so I work with what I have. I don't even try plants that require a low Ph.
Wow this is interesting. I have a 250 gal rain barrel, and I have chosen five plants to only water with rain water two cps, two black krims, and one stupice. All lf my 35 plants look really good, but those 5 plants are different. I always pull the bottom leaves off of my plants because of holes in leaves, and yellow leaves that are making contact with the mulch. I have not pulled any leaves from the five plants watered with rain water. I dont know what that means, but I thought I would pass along.
It will be very interesting to see how your comparison test turns out. We irrigated with a well right beside the Kootenai river, delicious to drink, but it had above optimum pH, and i always noticed a difference in both pasture and trees after we had a good summer rain. It was not a difference in quantity of water, just quality.
I hope the Black Krim i have tastes good. So far it has been totally free of the the fungi spots that have shown up on about half of my plants.
Lisa two Cherokee Purple...The problem is I am almost out of rain water. We need some more rain. I watered all of my seedlings w/ rainwater only. I have had a full rain barrel since October.
Lisa the Indian Stripe tomato's I grew from the seed you gave me are doing really well. They are in the "front garden"...that is a long walk w/ a 3 gal water can to water w/ rainwater. Here is a pic of a few Indian Stripe maters
I have read to just keep them moist, but am experimenting to see if i can let them self water with a little bit in the tray. Horn will know, so my comment is about watermelon seeds.
I planted five Lily Miller Sugar Baby and five Burpee Sugar Baby watermelon seeds a few days ago, in a ten hole tray, and all of the Lily Miller seeds have sprouted, and none of the Burpee. I have no idea why the big differencem since conditions were identical.
Do you keep the bottom of the tray dry, or do you leave a little bit of standing water there to keep the cubes moist? They seem to dry out fairly soon if not under the dome.
i have not been getting the growth i expected from some cauliflower and kohlrabi spouts, so added some MG to the water today, and left some standing in the bottom. I do not want to pot up. I want the cubes big and strong enough to plant directly. I am just on a south facing window sill. I Put a heat pad under yesterday, and will get a grow light soon.
Horn...A quick question, do you get your plugs locally or online??
Linda...Using the turkey baster, isn't it hard to control the flow of water?? I've got some of the clear squeeze bottles used in restaurants, and they are very good control-wise. They also come in various sizes, from 8 oz. all the way to 32 oz., that way I know how much I'm putting into each tray or cell and can judge how much water they're taking.
kevcarr59, if you haven,t bought your plugs yet you need to take a look at Park's BioDome system. It consists of a tray, dome, Styrofoam block with holes for holding foam plug inserts, foam plugs and a small pkt of water soluble fertilizer. The plugs insert into the block which floats in about a 1/4" of fertilize solution. The density of the foam plug determine the amount of water the plug will hold via its capillary action. In other words how wet it stays so long as their is water in the tray.
I've used this system for three seasons and it works well for me. There are some folks here on DG who have used it for 10 years and they still like it.
I was a huge fan of the Parks BioDome system until I discovered Roots Organics potting soil. My seedlings have never been bigger and stronger in less time than when using this potting soil. Lots of natural fertilizer in the mix: coco fiber, coarse peat moss, perlite, pumic, virgin forest material composted with livestock manure, worm castings, bat guano, kelp meal, fish bone meal, soybean meal, greensand and alfalfa meal.
However, I never added fertilizer to the biodome system, as texasrockgarden mentions. It was my understanding to not fertilize until the seedlings were potted into soil. Apparantly that's not true since txrg does it. That may make a difference. Here's a picture I posted once before in a seed starting thread but the thread is gone so I'll post again.
The plant on the right was started with RO at the same time the one on the left was started in the foam cell. The second picture is a Peron tomato plant that was started on Jan 1st, this pic was taken Feb 24.
MaryMcP wrote: Apparantly that's not true since txrg does it.
The plant on the right was started with RO at the same time the one on the left was started in the foam cell. The second picture is a Peron tomato plant that was started on Jan 1st, this pic was taken Feb 24.
I hope this information is helpful.
Well, just because I do it doesn't make it true. :)
I use the system for germination. The seedlings should be potted up soon or the roots will grow out into the water reservoir which you don't want. You can pot up into 4" pots using RO which is something I intend to look into. This past season I used MG potting soil and it worked well.
kevcarr59...I purchase them locally at Third Coast Horticultural on Burnet Road. I would think any Horticultural would have them available. Shawn the owner at TCH is a walking encyclopedia on microbes ect. If you decide to go by there sometime d-mail me, and I will meet you there if I can. I am in his area all of the time.
TX_gardener...any 72 cell seed trey works well. I have two type of treys. Round hole, and square hole. The round hole works best w/ the small IHORT plugs,and the square cell treys work best w/ the RR plugs. Just my opinion.
I just used an old 50-cell seed tray I had hanging around. Almost cone shaped cells, like the plugs. They fit in with space left around them. Then, I shoved the whole tray into a large drawstring plastic bag.
I've got cukes up in 2 days...
I don't monitor how much water the plants take in at the sowing stage. In this instance, I just wanted them moist enough to maintain the moisture once I put them into the plastic bags, to maintain a level of humidity (which, in effect, makes it a self watering system, when the condensation runs back down into the tray).
I left about 1/4" of water in the tray when it went into the plastic bag, and humidity has formed inside the bag.
I squirted each cell so that it was completely saturated. The plug will only hold a maximum amount of water, and the excess will run off into the tray.
hornstrider wrote:Lisa two Cherokee Purple...The problem is I am almost out of rain water. We need some more rain. I watered all of my seedlings w/ rainwater only. I have had a full rain barrel since October.
Lisa the Indian Stripe tomato's I grew from the seed you gave me are doing really well. They are in the "front garden"...that is a long walk w/ a 3 gal water can to water w/ rainwater. Here is a pic of a few Indian Stripe maters
Rain? I'll send you some. LOL It is just too bad that some have not enough and others have far too much.
Coos Bay always has rain, a least it did when I was there. Its beautiful. We are actually doing better in the rain dept. The thing with TX is that on one side of the house it can rain 3" and on the other side nothing...It rained just up the Hwy from us yesterday but nothing here. Maybe today it will be our turn.
We do have humidity tho, which is unusual for this area, thank goodness because I cant stand it. It makes the mold count really high then I cant breath. Coos Bay sounds really good right now.
>> Using the turkey baster, isn't it hard to control the flow of water?? I've got some of the clear squeeze bottles used in restaurants, and they are very good control-wise. They also come in various sizes, from 8 oz. all the way to 32 oz., that way I know how much I'm putting into each tray or cell and can judge how much water they're taking.
I found that when I tried to water with a turkey baster, it would dribble out when I didn't want it to, and I couldn;t control very well between a small squeeze and a big squirt ... plus I had to go back and forth a lot to refill the baster.
Now I use plastic squeeze bottles (small mustard bottles for small drops while germinating, and ketsup bottles for bigger drops or a steady stream. They have different size openings, ketsup bigger than mustard, and bokth smaller than my turkey baster.
The ketsup bottle holds around 1/3 gallon.
When I'm watering a tray of inserts (6-packs) or a propagation tray, I will often get a steady stream going, and "walk" it along the border between two rows of cells. The stream impacts the plastic border btween cells, then runs off very gently into the cells on either side.
or, if I only want a few drops per cell, I'll invert the ketsup bottleand hold it so I'm not squeexing it al all. Then i give a small up-and-down shake or dip, enough to shake just a drop or two out of the bottle, into one cell. Then I move the bottle to the next cell in an up-and-down path, like "the bouncing ball" in Sing Along With Mitch. That keeps it moving fast and each cell gets just a tiny "shake" of water.
Ok. Followup report on the seed plugs from Shawn in Austin (indoors, under lights).
►I love them!
►They're EZ to use!
►They're clean and
►Planting is FAST!
►Sugar Crunch cukes were up in two days, and are beefing up FAST since I removed the tray from the plastic baggie.
►Eggplants are up as of yesterday, a total of 6 days!
Report on my PVC seed plugs (outdoors, in a shady spot):
As of yesterday, Chamomile is sprouting in two PVC tubes!
Turkey basters aren't what they used to be. I once had one that I could perfectly control but it wore out. (The rubber top) So, I bought a new one. What a sloppy silly thing. You can't hold the liquid in the thing! The ketchup and mustard plastic bottles are a great idea. I will look for some right away. Thanks Rick.
G G , I wish I had taken a sucker to root . I love the flavor of the Beefmaster . Watch out , it'll get as tall as me , you , and Johnny all stacked on top of each other . Glad you went ahead and whacked it , letting it sprawl was an experiment , not to do again .I also pruned the mother plant until it got too tall to reach with a ladder .
After this weekend with Eufaula , I'll be in one place so Wanda can visit .Can't wait to meet her .
I just spent 1,100 bucks on my chihuahua . Enlarged heart, fluid in lungs . Emergency vet clinic and they don't mind getting into your pockets . Some might say that they wouldn't spend that much on a dog , but would spend it buying a dog . Well, I bought my dog a few years more of having me to love .
I'm looking forward to trying those itsy bitsy toms . It's impossible for me to try to sprout and transport plants , so double appreciate you . Hugs
Thanks , all .
Lisa , I know you too and your love of animals . A pet pig that weighs 500 lbs ? Gees .Kinda cute tho .
Just wish I could meet some more of you in person .
Linda , give me one and I'll grow another to give you toms in April .I can take suckers from it in Feb for starts for me .
WOW ! A travling tomato !
I'm a little jealous about the seed starters.You all are having all the fun .
Mary-my quality of life or the animal's? Lol giving a dog shoots twice a day was tough. The pig had to put down April 30th 2011 but he died of old age. He was probably about 700lbs I don't know about cute, but very sweet.
That is cool to keep taking cuttings of the plant and keep it going year after year.
I did the same thing last week with a possum that had been hit with a car . Discovered it was still alive ,9 hours after I saw it the first time . Only humane thing to do. She had six babies in her pouch , to young to hand feed , which I have done . I hate having that burden , but couldn't live with my conscious if I didn't