Things are heating up here again, meaning temps over 100º and no rain in sight. Truly the dog days of summer have set in. Okra still going strong, but the tomatoes are almost done in. I need to take some cuttings and get them in the ground for fall!
Today was a good day for picking tomatoes. I had the most yet so far this year. I had enough that I was able to give some each to two neighbors which is good. Still plenty for myself. I have lots of split ones from the big rains we have had will eat them up later. Maybe a nice tomato salad.
Honeybee that is exciting to have praying mantis in your garden, I can make an afternoon of watching them, and I have. I love the way they spy something thing then move in for the kill. So stealth like.
I have an Okra plant that has branched without any help from me I plan to save seed from this plant just to see if I can get more of the branching plants >>My friend had some of the branching that he had gotten the seed from an old time okra grower in North Texas but he somehow let his seed get eaten by rats and we have not found any since ..i always have some sort of gardening experiment going on ...
Thanks! My tomatoes and cucumbers are really doing good and pretty soon lots more ripe fruit should start pouring in. Most of the people here on this forum grow so many more types of veggies than I do but I am pleased.
Jan, give it lots of room. This variety is very tasty. Not overly okra-y in flavor, but no matter how big the pods get, when cooked, they are so tender. That's very different from most okra, which is best picked when it's not more than about 4" long.
I thought I would send an update from my garden- My Garlic & Walla Walla onions did great. Tomatoes not so much-but take a look at my Pole Beans (Kwintus variety). I haven't had a decent harvest this year. Last year I had so many I couldn't give them away. Normally they grow nice and straight- the first ones did this year. Now they are curling and growing tadploes! No disease or bugs-no herbicide drift. Can it be the triple digit heat we are having? Also- corn. Although I didn't grow any, what I have purchased this year has not been at all sweet- is it the crazy spring we had? My peppers are dwarf compared to last years- Just really discouraging all around. And I am reading the same from gardeners all over the country.
Yesterday I put some bagged composted manure and also bagged compost on my tomatoes. Then today I folliar fed all the tomato plants wuth Algoflash. Never used it before but I have read where everyone raves about this stuff. Used the tomato Ferlitizer. It greens them up immediately.
Tore up my old tomatoes, and my beans this week. Planted some small eggplants (Little Fingers) and some more tomatoes, and my Lady Peas. My little watermelon are doing well. Lots of tiny watermelons. Put in some new basil, since the old one got all used up. Just waiting til I get back from vacation next weekend to start fall seeds.
Tried pole beans this year, so far NOTHING. Some flowers but NO beans. Feeding them but so far nothing. Carrots coming along great it looks like, Garlic did well. Better boy tomatoes did alright. Planted some cherry toms a bit late but they're coming along. Baby Romaine lettuce did great. Snap peas were the best, will try doing another crop late summer. Spanis onions not doing as well as last tear, some aren't bulbing yet. A few are.
Miss the DG gang, been in FL. at Mom's house since last Thursday. No Internet...Major withdrawal.. Right now sitting in Atlanta, already bumped off 2 flights, another 2.5 hours to wait til last flight of nite...
Garden update... Just hope seeds arrived, but won't have time to plant for fall crop, have to drive to FL. from Tx. in another 2 weeks... It's always something.. Wouldn't be able to start seed GH's until 8/24 or 25 when back home.. Is that going to be too late???
the "North American Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2013 " by Thun is a calendar for the North Hemisphere. It is on Easter Time (perfect for you)
I have been following this calendar for 3 years now and it has been a success ... or just "magic"
It is very easy to follow and kind of fun too.
Thun's calendar, just let you know when it is the perfect time to start/transplant crops like : FRUIT, LEAF, ROOT and FLOWER.
Off course you need to adjust those dates for your zone. It is very easy.
Example: look at the picture.
Let's say you want to start your Pepper seeds in January - look for the red color in the calendar which it means FRUIT crops.
In my zone I started my Pepper seeds on January 3rd.
Since your frost date is after me you can look at the following dates with the red color: ex. January 11,12 or 13th or even later January 20, 21, 22 ... and it keep going.
The calendar doesn't tell you when to plant each crop (you know that right), it just suggest the best day.
The calendar is also divided by hours. So it is very easy.
I am no genius, but Thuns did study the influence of the moon and the planets ... I am just following them and woila' amazing harvests, definitely pest reduction and also days in which the calendar doesn't let me garden (see the dotted line) ... which is nice to have some rest !
My dad followed the lunar phases in Italy before he went fishing (by the way he was twice Italian river-fishing champion)
The moon regulate the moisture in the soil ... so it will influence your seeds germination.
The calendar comes as a little book. You can write notes day by day, but also has a second calendar that you can remove from the book.
I laminated the second calendar and it is in my laundry room aka green house and I look at it every day.
I have already per-ordered my calendar for 2013. Last year I did buy it twice by mistake ...
Taking your pepper analogy... I am scheduled to sow pepper seeds on March 3rd 2013. If I consulted Ms. Thun's book I would look-up 'March 2013' to see which dates she recommends sowing "fruit" seed in March of that year.
I use the "Task" feature in MSOutlook to set up my sowing schedule, which is how I know the exact date I should sow pepper seeds next year.
Gymgirl, I usually remember to get pictures of my tomatoes but I always forget to weigh them. I have a scale so I could weigh them, I just forget. I know I took the picture and then I saw my neighbor so I gave it away. I have plenty left LOL!
Honeybee, grow the Juliets. NO Blossom End rot. None, none, none. They are big for a grape. Some of them the size of a small Roma but usually not that big. But huge compaired to my other grape types of SUGERY. I am growing VIVA ITALIAs also and no BER there either.
The first picture in my post # Post #9218371 on July 25th is of some Juliets I had picked.
Well, I stand corrected. I just picked a VILVA ITALIA and it had blossom end rot. But carefully looking at the green tomatoes on the VIVA ITALIA, I see no others with BER. So I think it is just a fluke. But I have been picking so many Juliets now and never one with BER. They rarely split with too much rain either. Unlike my SUNGOLDS which split if you even just leave them too long.
Juliets are just the perfect size. Put them on skewers and then just roast them on the grill when you cook a steak or hamburger.
JULIET never stops fruiting. I can't believe how many tomatoes are on there and more blossoms come and more fruit sets every day. Thus was my first year trying them but they will definately be back next year.
Juliet does well in south TX, produces year round if we don't get a freeze as does Chocolate Cherry and Sweet Treats and I've never had BER on either of those. Abe Lincoln, Box Car Willie, Cosmonaut Volkov and Ruby's German Green were the worst I'd ever grown as far as getting a ripe, edible tomato from either. Legend was fantastic and Black Prince had the best tasting tomatoes, but is susceptible to cracking. My garden is sweet potatoes, cucumbers, okra and squash right now with two rows of Arkansas Traveler tomatoes growing for later harvest. Vacation time!
I planted for years by moon signs, this year decided to plant when I was ready, when I had time, and had the best garden ever in one of the toughest growing seasons ever. I even intentionally planted in baren signs. Those seeds actually came up better than those which were planted in fertile signs. Besides, depending on which calendar I went by, just about any day could be good or bad.
I stopped at the Mankato farmer's market to see Country Gardens. His strawberries and cantaloupe are the best I've ever eaten!
I just went and picked three quarts of tomatoes from the JULIET plants. I know I have three quarts as I used those plastic quart containers you get from the deli or chinese food in. I had them stuffed over the top. Can't believe how many tomatoes the Juliets produce. Just fabulous.
I can just taste the squash...almost. This one is growing in a bale 'tower' beneath a 12 foot tall lilac bush. How it has enough sunshine to bloom I do not know. Perhaps because this is "Solar Farm" land here in the Valley and the sun is scorching. :)
2-Bales with Anaheim chile, tomatoes, beans, corn, squash
3-Spinach in hay and Happy Frog in a Rubbermaid tub
I was thinking about doing some Arcadia & Major Hybrid Broccoli, Snowball Cauliflower, and L.I. Improved & Catskill Brussels Sprouts. That's about all I want to mess with right now. More planning & setting up for the commercial market garden for next spring. I'm more worried about that then this falls garden, but Momma & my grand daughter would really like fresh Brussels Sprouts.
While in Fl. Momma grabbed some of the watermelons out of the garden, but they had too many seeds. Good & sweet but seedy. Can't please everybody...
Would sow the seeds as soon as I got home, but thought it might be late. Guess I could do staggered plantings and see what happens...
Cala-I thought I was the only one who couldn't get the tomatoes you mentioned to produce. I've heard so many good things about Abe Lincoln. I'm glad you've found a way to garden that works for you.
Susan-I don't understand your question. Ornamentals are not bred to be edible, they are but if you want something to replace a bell do you want a sweet non bell?
Kev-I don't think it's too late to start cool weather crops. I usually put them out in Oct. There is a link to an A&M site that shows Texas divided into 5 different regions and tells the recommended spring and fall planting time for each one. You may try googling it. I have a link but I can't do it on the iPad.
I'm going out of town and won't have much computer access for a week, but I'll look for it.
I see lots of info where ornamental peppers are used for edibles. ☺ I don't know how good they are, but I'm going to do more research and give it a try. If we don't like them, at least I can teach my squirrels a lesson or 2. hehehe
I do so want to make roasted tomatoes and certainly have plenty. Plus my VIVA ITALIA paste types are just starting to ripen and they sure would make fabulous roasted tomatoes as would the Juliet tomatoes that I pick lots and lots of. Of course I could use any of the other types as well. But my oven is gass in my stove and I just don't turn it on in the summer as it heats up the entire house.
Seems to me I am wishing I had read some comments about the Abe Lincoln I have some that were gifted and they are just beautiful plants but so far have not picked even one ripe tomato from them ..this week I am soaking them with water that has a lot of Gypsum dissolved in it we will see...
I noticed a couple of small broken branches on the persimmon tree this morning. It looked as though an animal, (possibly a raccoon) had climbed the tree and then tried getting down by walking across the tops of the OSU tomato plants. Many of them had broken tops.
Between the the bugs, birds and beasts it's a wonder there's anything left to eat!
I found a chrysalis hanging from my avocado tree (actually the twine that's bracing it), in the hothouse. Can't figure out if it's friend or foe. Could be a moth. Goodness knows there are plenty of them.
Just got through planting some okra seed that's been soaking a couple of days. Not sure if they'll come up so planted them in the plastic tub. I did a bed on the north border of the property, between the neighbors and me, yesterday, and boy are my knees sore! Note to self: invest in knee pads. Planted some bean seedlings alternating with some kinda big tomato transplants. That bed will eventually be hollyhock and bluebells, but on the edges I put veggies and in the middle planted the hollyhock and bluebell seed. Those seed are very old, so if they come up, it will be a miracle. I took them from a former flower bed I had around 2006. In the north bed, also squash and cosmos. Hodgepodge, for now.
Thanks! Actually I never do canning. I just love to grow tomatoes and I do eat lots and lots of them. But I give away far more than I keep as I have lots of neighbors and friends that love home grown tomatoes but don't grow their own. I do cook them down and freeze the sauce though to use in the winter.
I did my own tomato taste testing just for fun. First I picked tomatoes from six hybrid varieties I am growing. Put post it notes on them so I could not get them confused!!!
Superfantastic is new to me this year and so was Beefmaster. Whoppers I have grown on and off for nearly 16 years. Skip some years but they always return. Big Boy was the tomato I grew up with as my mom grew these when I was a kid. Again I have some most years and lately have the Better Boys most years also. Early Girl is an old standby here.
2- Big Boy
3- Better Boy
4- Early Girl
6 - Superfantastic
Those first three I can definately taste a difference on but really, really like the flavor of all three. Early Girl is good and I am very dissapointed in the flavor of the Whoppers this year. I remember them being much better. So I don't know if my memory is wrong or they just don't have as much flavor this year. Superfantastic is not so super since it is deffinately, definately last in my taste tests.
I also have PATIO and BETTER BUSH new this year. Have already determined that neither has much flavor and neither of this two will be back next year. Also I have 4th Of JULY which I have had once before. Too bland for me and I do not like that the fruits are so small. The size of golf balls. Not coming back. Joining them on the not to return next year will be the Whoppers and Superfantastic.
Those first three, Beefmaster, Big Boy and Better Boy are the true winners to me. Early girl I want to grow but would like to cut back the number of plants in order to try another early variety. Not that I know what that will be.
My garden seems very late or slow or something...we are in a drought, but really...the corn is still small, but has silk...my green peppers look very droopy although we water them, not many blossoms either...my pole beans have blossoms, but nothing yet...tomatos are very plentiful, but still green...I had lotsa pumpkin/squash/gourds re-emerge from last years lay-overs...my snow peapods are bountiful and delicious...my cucumber and zuchini plants died by the time they reached about an inch high...i guess something/bug ate them...someone mentioned "white fly?" killed 'em?
So, we are watering what we can and hoping for the best...my veggie stand looks quite bare right now...pray for rain
newyorkrita - Early Girl is usually top of my list, but I didn't grow them this year. Instead I tried OSU Blue. I didn't like the flavor at all. My hubby, neighbors, and daughter's co-workers liked them. They have produced an ENORMOUS number of tomatoes! No diseases. They required very little water, and I've not fertilized them since they were transplanted in April.
I've been turning them into tomato juice. With a little salt added, I've found the taste "tolarable."
Next year, Early Girl will be back, and I will give Juliet a try for the first time.
I have saved seeds from "Moneymaker" and will grow this one again. It was the tomato I grew up with in England.
My little study was hardly scientific and it is only what I think. I figgure other people tasting those same tomatoes might have rated them differently. Early Girl is very reliable here and keeps producing all season. Plus I do like the taste. So I always have Early Girl here.
I tried several Tomato varieties, Ester Hess has tomatoes still, Dr Wyche is still alive, no tomatoes,broad ripple current is producing well,Rutgers is dead, Sugar lump is green and growing with a few green tomatoes none have ripened so far.Marglobe has made a few tomatoes and has some green ones on the plant, Not a good year but not all that bad truthfully.
Harvested a calypso cuke with a couple of more about ready ,hanging on the vines.
Small animal got to my first watermelon,About six little melons giving a try at growing.Cantelopes came in zero so far, my be a first fail ever for me there.
I don't like to water and with the drought taking it's toll ,next year will see some more refined planning and strategy.
First pic is yesterday Broad Ripple Currant;
Second is from the fifth of July of Ester Hess;
I grow more than I can use so am always giving away tomatoes to neighbors and friends. Around here no one gardens, especially no one grows any veggies. I found the taste testing very useful as I now know which I prefer to pick for eating myself.
Lots of people around here garden! Little gardens here and there. Years past and rows of tomato or cucumber plants have seen many given away to everyone.2;000 saw a refrigerator ,An entire kitchen full of grocery bags, and a four foot pile of cukes in the garden.I could not give away enough of them.Grandma looking at me saying we didn't need to grow that many cucumbers.All I could do was agree and say there was only an 8 foot row of them.
I will most likely get a comment about I ended up burying that four foot pile back into the garden. I wasn't feeling to well at the time and taking to the food services at church or pantry didn't become an option.
I suppose all this is about is the extreme from season to season. This year began with what would grow well here for me, and believe a couple these tomato plants are coming back for next year.
Last year saw 14 inches of water standing on the garden and about to enter the house.This year,well you have heard the story,I'm sure!
It is just typical suburbs around here. Honestly I do my best not to waste but I have thrown out garden produce that I didn't get to pick before it went over ripe myself. Sometimes It seems like I just picked and have to pick again and that is probably true. I like to try out new varieties and I know I end up planting too much. But I can't stand it when I don't have extra. Would much rather have plenty to share then have to say no to friends and neighbors that would like fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
Although I give away a lot, I have stopped thinking of composting edibles as a "waste" and more as green manure. It contributes to next year's harvest, and means a little bit less organic materials that I have to got an get and bring to my land.
Great pics everybody! Love looking at all of them.
Picked a few peppers today. Plants are loading up again for a 2nd time. Been cutting down some of the real ugly tomato plants but still have about 10 going for the moment. Getting really burned out on tomatoes. Think it happens every year at this time.
Pic 1 - (L) Big Daddy Sweet (R) Padron
Pic 2 - Unknown cross. Heavy fruit set with Orange, Red and Bi-Colored showing up.
Pic 3 - Big Beef
Pic 4 - (Top) Summertime Gold (L) New Big Dwarf (R) Wild Fred
Pic 5 - No way can I remember how to spell it. Reason I added the name to the pic :) One of my favorites this year.
Skip the Yellow one. They are insanely productive, and neat looking with green shoulders. I picked a bad specimen to show. The pictured one doesn't have the real looks. But it honestly doesn't matter. It's by far the most bland tomato I've ever grown. Supermarket tomatoes taste better.
I'll get a better shot of the neat, productive but bland Japanese Trifele Yellow. The black is a much better tomato.
Oops...I made a boo-boo. That Yellow in Post #9228602 is Summertime Gold(least favorite of the dwarfs, but I have yet met a yellow tomato I like). I took a few too many pics today and yesterday and got mixed up. But JTY is in Post #9228622
Nice picture. I really do want to try Japanese Black Trifele and I wanted to try some of the ones from the Dwarf Projects including Summertime Gold. The only yellow tomato I have ever tried is SUNGOLD and I do love Sungold. But wanting to get more daring next year with what I try. So thinking of trying some black tomatoes and at least one yellow. But don't want bland yucky tasters.
Well, Sungold is a cherry tomato as you know and certainly doesn't need any more water than any other tomatoes in my garden. In fact it is very prone to splitting of it gets too much water. When I realize it is gonna rain, I pick off all the Sungolds that are showing any color and let them ripen inside. The taste of Sungolds is just fabulous though. So, so very good. I have one plant which is my only one and I plan to put in more plants next year.
I don't count cherry tomatoes as tomatoes :) Although, Sungold is nice for an extremely sweet change up. It is it's own color...Neon Yellow/Orange when ripe. My favorite cherry-like is still Riesentraube. I prefer saladette types to most cherries. Thinner skins, good flavor and just as productive.
Mostly I like the grape types I have tried better than the cherry types I have tried but that is a generazation since I love Sungolds. Then there are just so many cherry types I have never tried. Never tried Riesentraube. What is your favorite saladette?
As for me I have never had a garden without Early Girls for right at 40 years the lemon Boy is a great tasting tomato and this year the Rutger was very good ..I have been raising maters fro a long time and every year try to have at least on new one but always have EGs
I think the Japenese Trifele tastes like dirt as did most of my customers. We all loved the Sungolds. I grew a campari type tomato this year, can't remember the name but it had "mountain" in it. It was delicious and produced well into our July heat and was super disease resistant.
I never tried Rutgers and will always grow some Early Girls. Just want to try some other early varieties also.
Great, I wanted to try Japanese Black Trifele because I read (not on thus forum) Where people were raving about how good it is. Now the opposite! Honestly, no way to know for sure except judge for myself.
That's much the same usually a new try with a tomato,This year only MARGLOBE that I had grown before, Only the way it worked out.I',ve grown Early Girl before, 2003 I think it was,I liked it only never grew anymore,I have no idea of why.(most likely space).
From growing H L 's looking for good tasting easy to grow types,has not been as easy it sounds.The only thing in the garden that works good for cooking is some oregano and purple basil.Next season there will be another, there always is.
Here in the first the plants are at the top of their growing containers these grow cylinders were made using some scrap metal roofing ...the process starts months before the actual planting by digging some fairly holes then filling the holes with aged manure..when it is time to transplant (early april) I plant the plants into the holes that were filled with manure earlier then slip the cylinders over each plant and tap down into the ground a couple of inches...As the plants grows I keep added a soil/compost mixture until the cylinder is nearly full and the tomato keeps adding roots all along the main stalk with the Cyl. I am able to cover on cold nights and all water except rain is done just in the cyl.>> we sometimes get frost as late as the first week in May which is what led to the design in the beginning
grits74571 First I want to thank you for pic's,lots of info there. Some of this describes why my fail with the plant was so dramatic.The cultivar needed much better soil than I provided,it was placed in a new bed that I had not gotten worked up as of yet. The plant was not provided with deep enough soil is the obvious to me.
I place a couple of plants in raised beds, set them low, so I can add soil and cover them,similar only much different. The plants in the older beds did well as can be. Thank you again for the cultivation information
Those are some nice looking watermelons... I can almost taste them... Oh wait, I've got one of ours in the fridge, I may actually get to taste this one...LOL... But I'll still have to fight my 5 y.o. grand daughter...LOL...
After a nice rain Friday night, I took a tour of the garden this morning. You can go along with the pictures I took.
#1 - Basil & Cherry Tomatoes.
#2 - Hot Peppers & more Cherry Tomatoes.
#3 - Large tomatoes left to sprawl.
#4 - Carrots.
#5 - Watermelons.
I love the way the kitties are all sitting there looking like they want attention. And I really, really had to look for the cat up on the railing until I spotted him. You seem to have lots of chickens too.
300 + or - on the hens. They are just stating to lay. Got 15 dozen each day for Thursday & Friday.
We have 9 kittens, 5 older cats, & 3 old toms.
3 of our mother cats, mothers to the kittens, must have got taken by coyotes.
If coyotes are after the cats then they must REALLY want to get to the chickens!
I wish I could have chickens. A few hens just for eggs. But here in out town it is illegal. Really gets me mad that there are no chickens allowed here. It is typical suburbia but still. Even parts of New York City allow a limited amount of hens.
Rita, sounds like you need to dress up nice and go use your right to speak and get on the agenda at the city council meeting. You can print up fact sheets about all the good things about having a (limited will sound good to them) limited amount of hens (roosters make more noise), such as soil building, health from the fresh free range eggs, insect control, cite the reasons (from past city council minutes) originally used and debate them with good facts, teaching children to care for "animals" and about their food, nutrition of free range eggs versus store eggs (and versus those that claim to be free range but only have a 6x8 yard in egg factories- look up some facts on http://www.mercola.comhttp://naturalnews.com and others). If they balk, tell them it could be by a special use permit (for the zoning board) and those who do have chickens should be required to keep the pens clean to avoid flies, etc...although I suspect chickens eat flies too. Get some of your neighbors (and a lawyer friend if you have one) to go with you to speak for their 3 to 5 minutes of public time before the council. Good things are worth fighting for.
Honestly, I am just not up to it. I know that is what someone in town needs to do but it is not going to be me. And I can understand no roosters (although I had a neighbor once have some chickens illegally and the rooster didn't bother me any). And I can also understand a limit. But a few hens really should be legal to own.
This year I do have to spray my tomato plants weekly with the Daconil to keep the deseases mostly at bay. Most years I don't need to spray but this year have to spray weekly. Must be a bad year for tomato funguses. I just sprayed them today.
I was counting watermelons on the vines while I was picking five of the saddest red tomatoes I ever saw. I have four or five small Orangeglo and about the same moon &stars melons,if I get any, even if late I will be delighted.
I have picked a couple of calypso cucumbers,from the one remaining vine after the voles came early.
My yellow tomatoes have really been a season saver for me this year.
My first planting of tomatoes is just about worn out although it was a good year. I pruned off all the young foliage to help keep them contained a few couple of weeks ago, so when the what's hanging on the plant ripens, that's its.
The second batch is blooming and healthy, but I don't know if they will produce before fall. We'll see.
We have 2 different varieties. I think we have 8 Hill Country Red and 4 or 6 Emerald Green Velvet. The Emeralds took forever to get going this year, but that's probably because the seed was old. They're going great now. The Hill Country Red is VERY prolific, though. No matter what size pods I pick, when cooked up they are very tender. We have left a couple of pods out there right now for seeds.
I picked lots of tomatoes this morning, which I didn't get pictures of. I had these two really big BEEFMASTERS which I have been watching ripen for a few days now. . Don't know why I didn't take pictures of those as I ment too and they were so nice too. Can't take pictures of them now because I took all the tomatoes I picked along with some of my cucumbers over to my car mechanics shop. I know all the mechanic there and the boss there really takes care of my car and loves tomatoes. So they have plenty to divy up amoung themselves.
But really this is why I need to grow so many tomato plants. I need plenty for me and plenty so I can give them away to friends and neighbors.
I tried to cut back on my veggie growing so for the past two years grew very little. It just did NOT work for me. I didn't have enough to share and I was not happy. Around here no ones grows their own veggies so they are really easy to give away. Everyone really loves to get home grown tomatoes and cucumbers. So this year put in new veggie bed areas and have plans to expand even more for next year.
I really love to be able to give all these home grown tomatoes and cucumbers away. I am sure that I feel even better about it than the people getting them do. It makes me truely happy to be able to share.
Here is an area of my yard I used to have a few roses. This spring dug up and moved the roses and planted tomatoes and some cantalops.
Wanted to add that is my house in tha backround but those back veggies are out 45 inches from the wall so away from the drip line of my old house. I am worried that I planted my melons too late as they have small ones but need lots more time to grow.
My Better Bush tomato plant is the healthest looking thing. Just in back you can get a glimpse of the Patio tomato in back of it which looks like it is on its last legs. They are both growing in containlers.
I am glad I picked lots of tomatoes Thursday and Friday as It rained hard today. Plants need the rain but if the tomatoes are too near ripe they suck up too much water and split. I used to loose a lot of what would have been good tomatoes that way past years. This year I learned to pick them earlier when they are not as ripe and to always pick if they are predicting strong rains.
Tomatoes have been fabulous this year. I keep saying that but I just can't say it enough. Great year for tomatoes here in my garden.
I hear that from a few people here and there ,and it is good to have nice or good garden crops,You are the lucky one this year,!!! That is not meant to taake anything away from your patience or skill as a gardener,it is only so many have had difficulty this year.
A few places even being allowed to water did not help enough.
All the farms and gardens around here look pretty good this year.
Today I picked and also ate some of the VIVIA ITALIAS that are just really getting into production now. They taste really good even to eat fresh. Bet these will make fabulous sauce and salsa. Have to get some pictures soon. I never wanted to eat Romas fresh but the Vivia Italias taste so much better than those old Romas used to.
The three BEEFMASTER tomatoes I picked today. The largest one weighs 1 pound 13 ounces.
Ha, I remembered to weigh it this time before I gave those three tomatoes away. I kept two cucumbers for myself and gave all the rest away. Cucumbers to a neighbor and I gave Vinnie, my friend that sits accross the street in the parking lot booth the rest and the tomatoes. I park one of my two cars there in the beach parking lot so talk to him often. Didn't use to be my friend but now I give him stuff from the garden so he sure is glad to see me coming.
Are you making homemade compost? I did a lot of reading over the weekend, and inch for inch, it seems that compost is worth its weight in gold as a growing medium.
Please comment, as I'm about to start making all the homemade compost and leaf mold I can, as an amendment to fill all my raised beds and grow my veggies in. In a nutshell, compost was described as simply, "food for plants." And, it seems that the compost is a "complete" food, providing almost everything a veggie might need to grow successfully.
If I can create this type of beneficial "soil" for free, it's a no-brainer that I should move forward.
Compost is most wonderful. I can only manage to make small amounts and have to buy it. Either bagged or by the truckload. Go ahead with your compost program!
What I do though is heavily mulch my gardens with either fall leaves (free) or if I don't have enough, straw that I buy in bales. The worms come in and eventually break it down. Fabulous for the garden.
Compost is awesome and it's garden gold, but compost does not equal soil; you need both. Soil is mostly made out of rocks; compost out of carbon materials. Most compost we buy/use is not fully decomposed to the point where plants can utilize it optimally. Compost alone usually doesn't drain well enough and causes root problems. Not all compost is created equal. And compost doesn't provide the minerals and trace elements that we and the plants need. You can improve the mineral content of your compost by adding wood ash and leaves and some weeds with deep tap roots, but that's just recycling the minerals in the soil already. (Conversely, the presence of compost in the soil helps it hold on to minerals which are easily leached away.)
I would still ahead and compost all you can... I call it the incredibly shrinking compost pile. You'd be very hard pressed to compost enough to fill all your gardening needs. I compost everything and haul in truckloads and it slowly vanishes, taken down into the soil by worms and such and also just decomposing into nothing. But the soil gets better and better each year, a little bit farther down each time. Of course my plant's roots go way down below the part I've tried to optimize for them; they know what they need.
BTW, I've tried the compost-only thing in pots, where the roots couldn't get down to soil. Same thought process, too. But the plants didn't do quite as well and didn't taste as flavorable, IMO.
So, in terms of "soil" for my raised beds, I've been making my own based on Tapla's suggested formula for my specific raised beds:
5 parts pine bark fines
2 parts builders sand
1-2 parts Turface Pro League (or save the fines screened from MVP if you use the gritty mix)
1-2 parts vermiculite
1 part compost or reed/sedge peat
Here's the actual "soil" mix I've been making:
5 parts pine bark fines
2 Parts sharp builder's sand
0 parts Turface Pro League (cost prohibitive for me...)
2 Parts Vermiculite
1 part composted cow manure
2 parts sphagnum Peat
So far, the plants have been real happy. The mix is very loose, very fast draining, and very well aerated. Only issue I'm having is watering a bit more frequently, which I don't mind in the fall/wtr., but this heat is getting to me. I don't mind being up close and personal with the plants either, it's just this heat seems to have the RB drying out faster than usual. It could also just be my imagination or me suffering from heat mirages!.
In any case, I'm installing a drip irrigation system soon, so that will take care of that.
I'd be adding the homemade compost to the formula above.
What's the best way to add it? Right on top as the final layer? Mix it in to the top 4-6"? Layer it on first in a new raised bed? Where do I put the compost?
P.S. I'm in the process of filling in my 2nd RB. So far, I have only half the length filled, so If I need to mix the compost in, lemme know before I get it all filled in.
Also, a local fertilizer store here has leaf mold for $9/bag. I read that is a good additive, too.
Raised beds do dry out a bit quicker and get a bit hotter. The mix is basically a potting soil mix, which will help hold some moisture, but only as deep as the mix goes. What's your native soil like underneath? And how deep are your beds?
Leaf mold for $9 a bag?! Holy cow! I can get it for free -- I think 10 pickup truck loads last year but only one so far this year. I use lots of it, but if you mix it in or plant seeds in it, it does depress germination rates, so I just layer it on top about an inch or two deep. By the time the microcritters and worms have processed it down, it's really good for my soil quality.
Ok. Nix on the $9/bag of leaf mold. I'll just rake up all the yards in my neighborhood in December when the leaves drop. Problem is, my trees on the front are oak, and it takes a long time for that to break down. Only one large tree in the yard, and it give me about 4 large contractor bags of leaves.
Do I need to ask my neighbors what trees they have before I offer to rake up their leaves?
My native soil...hmmmmmm. Tight as a rock underneath the RB, although some areas had baby frogs (underneath the storage shed I tore down) and yardlong worms...
My beds are 11" deep -- the ground underneath was tilled an additional 8".
LEAF MOLD -- "layer it on top" AFTER I've transplanted my seedlings, right?
Mix your compost into your soil. If you apply it directly to the top, it can burn whatever you plant. Now, you can apply a layer in the fall after you've dug everything up and allow it to work its way down over the winter.
I agree with Stephanie -- mix your compost in. It's fertilizer.
As for leaf collecting, I would avoid the oak leaves for annual vegetable production. If you are going to directly mulch with leaves, I suggest shredding them with a mower first. If you don't shred them, they can form a mat and prevent water from getting to the plants below. Think of it as mulch, just a little layer around your seedlings and be sure to give them some space around the stem. The worms will do the rest.
Many crops will send roots more than 11" deep, so it was probably very smart to till that bottom layer up. Personally, I'd mix a good bit of that soil in, but since you are doing well I wouldn't change unless you feel the need.
►I'm still trying to understand the difference between compost (plant food), and mulch. Is mulch just a layer of material set on the very top to help keep the soil bed cool, and the moisture in? Sort of like a "blanket" on the beds?
Compost = plant food
Mulch = a nice, comfie, blanket?
►Regarding real SOIL in my mix, I don't actually have any soil in it. I went to a presentation last night by a Master Gardener from near here. When I told her my RB mix formula, she said I needed some SOIL, unless my veggies were doing ok. Well, they're doing ok, but, now I'm wondering if they could be doing better if I mixed in some garden soil.
The pine bark fines and sharp sand are chunky enough to create aeration pockets, and the peat, vermiculite, and compost hold in the moisture. The beds are oxygenated, fast draining, yet hold a good bit of moisture (I can go at least 2 days between waterings, and it's still moist about 1" down). My seedlings take off lightening fast in the mix, too. I believe it's all the oxygen the roots get. So far, no problems with anything I've planted to date. (Except a bug here and there...)
I know I'll have shrinkage from the breakdown of the organics in the mix, but a load of the PBFs to refresh both beds next season will only cost me $18. Which is why I switched over to that mix. I imagine I'd have less shrinkage if there was garden soil in there...
Yes, you've got it. Mulch goes on top. It helps moderate soil temperate swings and conserve soil moisture. Mulch turns into compost eventually. You can mulch with compost if it's well finished or the plants are older ("side dressing"), but you wouldn't want to use mulch like compost. (Unless you are doing hegulkulture, which is a strange animal.)
Our climates are very similar in the middle of summer, and I *rarely* water. Only in really dry spells -- say 3 or 4 times a year -- and I go a bare minimum of one week (more likely two) between waterings or a nice rain, depending on the soil moisture levels. The fact you are watering more often is partly a function of the fact you plant your beds very intensively, but it sounds to me like your soil is drying out way too fast, or else you are watering too shallowly and too often, instead of slow and deep.
If you'd got that Houston clay, adding some of that will not only provide some good fertility, but clay also holds water very well.
We are growing these strawberries in a mixture of peat moss & a potting soil mix. No dirt in this! (Dirt = weeds!)
We fertilize with Miracle Grow in the water & also spread 19-19-19 dry on the surface a couple times during the season.
Over 1000 pints of berries off of 2000 plants so far.
My beds are part compost, part soil, modified raised beds and I have over 200 of them. I water every day. I live in Texas where the wind blows all the time, all day long, often 20mph (breezy) or 35+ (windy). It dries the soil. I grew in containers a long time ago, half soil, half compost and still had to water at least once per day. The containers were minimum 20 gallons.
I used to own a nursery. We never used soil in our mix. Like Bernie said soil equaled weeds and disease and in TX that could also equal nematodes.
Linda, you've got two beds now. Why not experiment and see which works best for you? You've got one soilless bed in place and you could start the other with soil mixed in. Or if you don't want to risk replacing the new bed's contents down the road if you are unhappy with it, maybe try the experiment in some large containers.
Gardening is so local... all you can do is gather input and then find out for yourself.
Great minds DO think alike! I did consider mixing soil into this 2nd bed to see how the plants might respond differently. I don't think it would hurt anything. I'm planting the root crops in the 2nd bed, and was making the mix to be heavily organic and loose. It would still be pretty loose if I added some garden soil
Nothing beats a wish, but a try!
And, thanks for the affirmation, "... all you can do is gather input and then find out for yourself".
More and more, I've been coming to the realization that, in gardening, there are no hard and fast absolutes. The most I can do is research and educate myself to the best of my ability, then, make a decision and see what happens. It's still a win-win, because, whatever the outcome, I will have additional knowledge to share with others.
I think that gardening is "collective individuality," at best!
Linda, that is so true. I have a farmer friend who is 2 miles away from me. His growing methods are so different from mine. We're both organic market growers, but that is where the similarity stops! We both have nice harvests, sometimes mine are better than his and sometimes it's the other way around.
Just picked up my laptop from the repair shop, seems my old virus software let a bad one thru. Still trying to get everything back where it was.
You *sure* that link is from Texas? Because my peppers have done much better this year now that I moved most of them into a shadier location. That's Alabama-shady, of course, but I can't imagine Texas-shady is any less intense. They are still getting "full sun" (about 7 hours), but aren't grilling in the sun with the squash and tomatoes. The ones that are getting 100% sun are not doing nearly as well.
Around here, full-on, Texas sun is like a NOVA occurence, so anyplace that has even a hint of a shadow cast over it is considered DEEP shade!
My RB #1sits on the SW end of my yard. Early on, I agonized that it wouldn't get enough full-on sunshine (6-8 hours) daily to grow proper veggies. Plus, there was a huge tallow tree on the very edge of the bed. I had the tree cut down last summer, and got a bit more light falling on the bed, but still not direct full-on.
...and I'm so glad I don't!
My BP, Eggplants, and okra are fully loaded in that bed. I'm trying to figure out how to rig a patio umbrella over it so the BPs don't get sun-scald just from the indirect light!
Oh, and, I discovered a LOOOOOOOOOONG time ago that I can grow cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflowers in bright shade here.
My peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and squash are in mostly full sun. My cucumbers do better with 30% shade cover. The eggplants with 30$ shade have nicer fruits, but could be because it also cuts the wind. Sweet potatoes growing under 30% shade are not growing as fast as the ones in full sun.
I tried growing tomatoes last year under 30% shade hoops with some additional afternoon shade from ash trees. They produced very few fruits and the plants were spindly.
Here are two pictures of my VIVIA ITALIAs I have been picking. These are just THE BEST paste types. Heavy producion and so much better tasting than Romas. I put the tape measure there so you can see that they are a really nice size too.
Here are the seven quarts of Juliet tomatoes I picked today. I just can not believe much much these things produce. I wait a few days then pick again. Each time I pick I end up with more than I had the time before. Last time was 6 quarts. They are just amazing. Not slowing down either.
I have been growing tomatoes forever. My mom grew tomatoes (and other things) in our garden when I was a kid so of course when I grew up I did too. But I have never even EATEN okra. I guess I should buy some at the supermarket to try.
I had no idea that hummingbirds like luffa gourd blooms, but I have a hummer that visits every morning. He hits the scarlet runner beans, too, but spends a whole lot more time with the luffa blossoms. I looked at them and I don't *see* a big source of nectar, but it must be there.
Everything is really winding down here. A few plants are still chugging along and a few are reviving for the cooler season, but much of my garden is full of seedlings now for fall.
I had a retasting today of two of my tomato taste test loosers. Whoppers and Superfantastic had really nice fruits on both so I picked them and tasted to compair again. Still loosers! :thumbsdown: I had read somewhere that fruits could taste better later in the season. Well, not these. Still bland and just not the right notes of taste to me. Not coming back next year. I have so many other varieties to try.
I plan to get really brave next spring and start some tomatoes from seed. Never done that before but I really want to next year.
JoParrott; Your correct though, I didn't enlarge .the photo when I looked Those are not a common Armenian, looks like cross or speciality hybrids in enlargement.
It could be the third one though,hybrid cross. Any way A good cucumber is a good cucumber!!
And I will send ya a free card entitling you to one free argument!!lol.(it because I breezed through while I was still working .)
LOL! I once grew an Armenian cuke that had no resemblance to previous ones- I think they are very fickle! But the first ones years ago were just beautiful- deeply ribbed, light green flesh and so mild tasting. They were never that way any time later- dunno what happened!
Some pics I took yesterday morning in my garden.
1. The view from the picnic table where I sometimes have my morning coffee. Anaheim Chile, tomatoes, corn, squash, beans, and okra in those bales. Peach trees I set out this summer, potato beds to the right
2. Zinnias among the fruit and veggies
3. Avocado gone wild, growing about 4" a week and now outgrown the hoop it's in.
4. Morning dew
Well, I can see that the cucumber vines are really coming near to the end of production. I was able to get a nice harvest again today (and I have been picking steadily) and there are still more coming to pick. But after those I don't know if there will be any more as the vines are really ragged looking by now. Can't complain, it was a great year.
At least I got my cucumbers picked and then was picking some tomatoes when it started to rain. Had to hussle and get myself and my veggies inside.
Some of these tomato plants I have this year are really, really ratty looking. Can't believe last year I did not have to spray at all with the Daconil Fungicide. This year had to spray all season to try and keep ahead of the fungus deseases. Oh well. I should not be compaining as my tomato harvest has been fabulous. Has really slowed down just lately so I just fed them with the BLOOM BOSTER to try and get them flowering more again.
I have about 500 more miles to go and I will be home today and I am heading straight to the garden! I love vacations, but sure do miss my farm. The caretaker said in the 5 weeks I've been gone the purslane has taken over everything!
I water my Purslane! It's incredibly high in Omega 3 and the little leaves can be added to salads, and probably even cooked or made into a tea. They call it Ver de laga here. I also give some to the chickens. Amazing how much stuff we think of as weeds that we discover are good for us, like epazote and careless weeds.
Yumm, yumm. Beefmaster tomato sandwiches for dinner. Nice big slices cover a slice of bread. Also some cucumber and tomato salad I just made in the fridge for later. Love cucumber and tomato salad. Maybe I will add some bacon.
I had ordered 25 of those triangle type collapseable green coated wire tomato cages from Lowes and they just arrived today. I really am going to be organised for next year. My tomato garden areas have been expanded and I have ordered extra cages. Next spring I will only need to get compost on all the gardens and plant!
I have a few of those green cages from the same , they are kinda useful , I didn't use one of them this year ,I guess I just didn't get to that one.
CUKES, PEAS, FLOWER VINES whatever you can use them for, very versatile item. I still have to give the cage some more support when I use them for tomatoes though,some of the tomato plants get large enough to overwhelm the cage..
You can twisty tie the front as they tend to snap apart ,things like that .
The tomatoes do often grow over the cages and then sorta flop down. No big deal. The cages work well enough for me. I have those green coated metal fence posts in case I need to prop up any of the cages.
And I have grown cucumbers, peas and beans on them so they are useful. I figgured I would get them now instead of having to deal with it next spring. Trying to get myself more organised as I did get my veggie garden areas expanded this year in advance of putting in a bigger veggie garden next year. This way I don't have to scramble so much next spring.
I have a new area for my beans and more room for tomatoes. I really still need to work on getting space ready for more trellis areas for cucumbers for next year. But then that is the way of a garden. Always a project that still needs doing!
My self also with the cucumbers for next year, I'm using regular fence unrolled to a "lean to" trellis to another fence that I use to control my the Jerusalem Artichokes. Sunflower roots is more like it,I guess everyone has that odd root or leaf vegetable plant that they like.
I wish that plant had made more tomatoes, but in the heat and drought and watering being more difficult than I would like ,that plant did well. Back to the set where they grow being about everything (redundant only ever true). Some things done in the fall really do save some and maybe a lot of spring '"getting it all done" work I agree with you about that for sure.
It seems every spring there is a "thing to do" and every other thing possible seems to keep one from getting their thing to do,done. So any fall idea or spring chore that can be done in the fall is still a great way to go.
I put some of my cucumbers on this trellis netting I bought from Burpee. Big mistake. The netting broke and it all fell down about halfway thru the season. So I found some much stronger trellis netting at A. M. Leonard that is actually plastic. Am saving it for next year as it is too late for this years cucumbers. At least I do have other cucumbers on another section that I just used jute twine which is holding up well. I would like to put in some more trellis sections for next year so all my different cucumbers don't all have to be planted together in one mismash. But not sure if it will actually get done or not. Or should say not sure when it might actually get done.
I picked lots and lots of cherry tomatoes today and also lots of Vivia Italias.
I thought of just freezing the Vivia Italias and I think I will freeze some as I have never tried the freeze whole fresh tomatoes. But I decided they would make great stewed tomatoes. Found a crockpot receipe and going to be making these tonight.
I agree those little round tomato cages are not good for much of anything. I did have some beans on them this spring. I do usually use them for peppers though because my pepper plants never get big and heavy. And I know lots of people say that the triangle cages are not good enough for tomatoes but they work well for me. The tomato plants do outgrow them (getting taller) but then they just sort of flop slightly.
I have those cages unpacked from their shipping box and sitting on my front porch now. I guess I will need to make room to store them over winter.
I usually set my green cages unfolded between a couple of poles ,same as the concrete wire (have few of those also)
" Big dog running through a green cage" is the only trouble I ever had with them. handy things to have. Not enough to store food here from the garden, looks like the grocery keeps me this time!
Well, the tomatoes are in the crockpot cooking. Hope they turn out good. They should as these were such gorgeous Vivia Italia tomatoes. That is one thing that I really love about those Vivia Italias (besides the taste which is great) is that they make such lovely perfect looking tomatoes.
I'm playing with my new garden beds on paper, roughly mapping out the new and old beds for the spring and summer to be sure I still rotate stuff out the way I need to. Spring is easy -- I never have enough peas or radishes. For summer, I have all this extra *space.* My squash will really get to ramble. I have room for succession planting. I have room for a whole row of sunflowers, and yet... I still have empty space.
I need some new seed catalogs stat so I know what to fill them up with!
Okay, not really. It's not like they are likely to introduce any new OP or heirloom varieties, let alone vegetables I haven't heard about yet. I'm still looking forward to the parade of yummy catalogs, even if much of the writing in them is fiction and the photos heavily Photoshopped and often "enhanced" with colors that don't exist in nature.
NicoleC;That's interesting as I was walking around mine between the rain this afternoon and evening thinking about what to put where next season. Jerusalem artichokes in the wrong place need moved and then with a bit of innovation there will be room for more tomato plants next season(I like that).
It always astounds me when planning for next season the room for plants I never seem to get to (lots of work "fun"involved in some of that) My two for next season are a lean to trellis for cucumbers and getting those sunchokes moved.
And about the catalogs,they might not always show or introduce anything you have't seen before,; Only they sure are fun to browse through!!!
IMAGINATION in INFINITE!!!LOL