While you guys have been bragging about your fabulous producers, we down here have been suffering with just our mangos and figs and starfruit. And as you are cleaning up the remants of the really good stuff, we are just starting.
So here are this year's set of candidates for the purloined Campari and Mountain Magic VFF race.
flyboyFL, I must be starting to become a died-in-the-wool DG'er. I've been looking forward to your fall/winter tomato adventures for this year! The seedlings look good so far, can't wait to see more photos.
I apologize for not finishing my pronouncement about being born in Florida. When we first arrived here there was a Letter to the Editorof the local paper generally calling to everyone's attention the following: "Where do people who were actually born in Florida go to die? The obituaries are replete with 'born in Michigan, born in New York, et cetera'"
It hasn't changed.
But -- we all seem to die here. God's waiting room.
I was just having a little fun with you, the seedlings look good and as said of another I am looking forward to more.
Sometimes I imagine about about gardening outside year round ,wondering what it would be like.Of course that is why I watch threads here.
Not many live where they were born either.
As regards the photos. i hate to be giving free publicity -- and Steve Jobs is no longer able to take advantage of it -- but. I have not used a real camera since I graduated to my iPhone 4s. It is amazing. Almost like the old box cameras. Point -- and shoot. The actual negative is four times sharper (more pixels) than what I post. That way it is easier to download. Amazing!
And you are right. i hate washing my hands after handling them.
I meant cups! Enjoy your views! It will be getting cooler here this weekend, even though we are in the south. But this is my favorite time of the year for weather! It's perfect, even if I don't have any more tomatoes!
You didn't have to correct that word. No problem. There is a difference between "misspelling" and missing a key on the board.
I once read this and thought it was pretty cool.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt! tahts so cool!!!
It's the old rule about dividing a fraction by a fraction. It is necessary to invert and multiply! Conceptually, it is really hard to define dividing a number by a fraction. If I have quarter of a pie, I can't divide it into portions greater than the amount I already have. The best I can come up with is, "If I have 1/4 pie now, and I divided what I had before in half, how much was there to start?"
Just across the bay from flyboyFL, here. Guess I got a few weeks' jump as I planted seeds in Sept, although you will stay warmer than my garden through the winter. I have three 'Momotaro' in bloom, nearly 3ft. tall in an Earth Box here. Grape tomatoes, (along with peppers, two kinds of broccoli and eggplant 'Purple Rain' - gotta grow that one ) are close behind, although they're beside the pathway to my DH's shop so he snags all the ripe ones as he passes by and I hardly taste any!
Yeah, it's a tough life down here growing our veggies through the winter. Never a dull moment.
Easy, you have no idea! Once I get them set up, including a micro irrigation tube for each on the timer, all I do is stand back, watch the plants grow and wait to pick. No weeds, no bugs, no diseases, no watering or fertilizing. Just cover them up if the nights get cold, and let them produce. It's magic gardening.
My kids gave me two Earth Boxes for Christmas a few years ago, and then I bought one more. I've been hooked ever since. They have given me two more each year, but I now have 7 and that is enough for me to grow veggies for the two of us all winter.
Order 'em online from earthbox.com and they'll arrive at your door. I'm a Believer. Or been lured to the Dark Side depending which way you look at it.
So I talked myself into re-googling the Earth Boxes and your endorsement.
I think that you over-glossed the lily. I found that one still has to get seeds and plant them -- and carry he fruit into the kitchen -- and wash it before eating. So it's not that all-automatic after all.
And I am impressed with your D-name. Are you old enough to remember "xyzzy" from the "Colossal Cave Adventure" computer game of the '70s? Or is it from a later usage? It has been a magic word.
LoL, it is just a handle my daughter made up when she was 14. She's 29 now and allows me to use it. Since she was born in '83 I'm guessing she wasn't familiar with the Colossal Cave Adventure.
On the planting side, you could buy transplants . . . but of course us tomato snobs would never do that. They hardly ever have a worthy variety at any of the nurseries I've seen here. Certainly never seen Campari and Mountain Magic let alone Momotaro.
I forgot to comment that I have Celeste figs also, planted the tree last year and got one fig. This year it has two huge new branches, but I only have three figs. May die of old age before I actually get a reasonable harvest!
Oh, yeah. Have you tried the 'Cardinal' basil? It's really pretty as well as having yummy leaves. Big dark red flower heads. Got the seed from Burpee's. I have seedlings about 6in. high so will post a picture when they're blooming - another month if it stays warm. Here's one from a year ago springtime.
No, I think that it would be cheating to buy someone else's tomato plants and pass them off as your own. It just doesn't seem right. And, you can never be sure what you have. Plus, you give such TLC to your tomatoes, it would be a waste to spend this effort on some unknown variety.
My figs are really confused his year, what with the unseasonal (or unusual) amount of warm weather. They are all bearing fruit (except for the Black missions). So, i do not know whether this is the "breba" or the real McCoy. The crop is not bountiful -- but they are delicious. Here is a photo of today's Celestes.
That "Cardinal" is too pretty to be a basil. Does it taste the same?
Flyboy, you tickled a brain cell with your mention of 'Colossal Cave Adventure'. Thanks for the link. I didn't have time to go explore the name the other day, but just looked at it, and that was the game I remember! A friend and I fooled around with it at work for a while back in the 70's. We figured a bunch of it out but as I recall, we pretty much had to start over every time we played so we had to write down how to get through the maze every time or remember it. We sort of diagramed it after a while so we could remember what to do.
Hey Flyboy, are your plants all Mountain Magic, or did you actually get or save some seeds of Campari?
I'm getting ready to order seeds for my spring garden from TGS and they have 'Mountain Magic VFFF' but not Campari. Just to make you feel better, the packet of seeds of Mountain Magic was $4.95 - argh! At least I'll get more than 16oz. of tomatoes from it.
Yes and no. I now have some fifth generation Campari seeds. It started with a box from Sam's -- and I started and planted some while the box still had some uneaten ones in it. I introduced the Mountain Magic last year -- they are supposed to be the same as the Camparis. The MM's were in the ground -- the Camparis in the pots. The MM's were more prolific -- but the Camparis seemed to have a better taste and texture. Maybe I am just opposed to change.
This year I started them separately, but when it came to potting and planting I just mixed them up. i want to see if I can tell any difference when they are growing together.
They both do exceptionally well, especially in my backyard. Back north I stuck to beefsteaks, but I don't think they have Florida capabilities. (Carolyn: I apologize for butting in to your domain.)
I've had the same experience as you, smaller fruited varieties with all the numbers and letters (disease resistance) are more productive. I wonder if you could grow hybrid beefsteaks through the (longer) spring season? Start seeds in Jan. and see if you can get anything by May? Hmm, I have one Earth Box with nothing in it yet . . .
I tried a couple of Heirloom varieties back when, and even in pots growing on a concrete patio, they got all sorts of diseases and other troubles. Big beautiful Brandywine plants, wilts and fungus and bugs, Oh My! No joy.
Been away a week, and came back to two ripe grape tomatoes yesterday! Yum. More to come.
My Momo's are not even close yet, just a tinge of yellow but are full-sized now. I am withholding water a bit, to see if I can get a few to ripen before it gets too cold. They will stop setting fruit once the nights are getting down into the 40's.
It's a good feeling that we will stop losing sunlight time this week, and start gaining it back again. Even here December has pretty short days.
I'm gonna pray that you can ripen that MOMO and taste it!
And, I truly hope you have a good one there, because the taste of a ripe Momotoro is FANTASTIC!!! Keep it on that vine long as you can, but know that once you have the slightest tinge of red, you can bring it inside and finish ripening it.
No need for the windowsill as the photosynthesis cycle with the sun will have been broken. But, it will ripen!
No worries, Linda. I am sure I can leave it on the vine until it ripens, unless we get some really cold nights. The leaves make the sugar for the fruit, so better to leave it on there. I never ripen them indoors. The color changes but the flavor doesn't get any better.
We very rarely get frost. When it goes down into the 40s I cover the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants with frost cloth and put jugs of hot water under the covers to keep them warm. Keeps them from going dormant and losing leaves, and even though they won't set fruit, they will still ripen what's on the vines. That has worked for me even through our record cold winter a couple of years ago. I can also put warm water into the reservoirs of the Earth Boxes to help with warmth.
You folks in TX have to deal with too hot, and we have to deal with too cold, it's a whole different world! Although I'm sure you've tried to stretch your tomato plants lives through the fall, too.
You can keep tomato plants going down to 40°? That's great info to know, as I'm about to push the planting envelope by setting out my spring transplants in mid-February next year. It's a calculated risk against our winter cold dips, but, we don't usually get sustained days of freezing temps (maybe 3-4 at most, for a couple hours, unless it's a truly hard freeze overnight).
I'm hoping to be able to protect my long-season tomato transplants from freezing between mid-Feb and mid-April. I'll have hoops in place, perforated plastic sheeting, and sheets and blankets ready. Good to know about the warm water jugs. Also, I hear that a string of Christmas lights can provide some heat underneath the hoops, too.
Never thought about putting warm water in the EB reservoirs! Thanks for the tips!
Well, I had a huge pair of Black Cherry plants last year that bore fruit from December until April, died back from blight and jumped up again in June . . . no use going through summer here, though. We only had a few nights that got really cold last year, though. The plants do stop setting fruit when it's that cold, but as soon as it warms again in Feb or so, they start up again. Just got to keep 'em warm enough that they don't lose their leaves.
We buy 2 1/2 gallon jugs of water for hurricane supplies in the summer. Once the season is over, we use the water to drink, then I refill them and put some coffee grounds in. It makes the water a dark color, and also discourages mosquitoes from laying eggs in the jugs. Set them in the sun near your plants. The dark color absorbs sun's heat better than clear. The bigger the jug, the longer it holds heat just because of mass. Even on nights when I don't cover them, the jugs keep the area around the plant a bit warmer.
A friend of mine uses this on a larger scale to heat his greenhouse all winter in Salt Lake City. He uses a large dark colored plastic storage tub full of water, with a waterbed heater in it. The bigger the tub the better. It also helps keep the greenhouse humidified, that being an essentially desert area. It's a great, low energy alternative to using electric heat.
Here's the jug, and two shots of the garden last winter with frost covers in place. (I did cover the blooming brug after this, too)
That's a gorgeous big plant, Flyboy! How're the MM's tasting? They will get sweeter as the days lengthen out, too.
Here's my favorite "Revenge" shot for this week. A nice big Momotaro with "sandwich for dinner" written all over it. Not quite a beefsteak size, but close!
I have "Mountain Magic seedlings started to grow through spring, too. Bought a couple of new Earth Boxes for them just in case I need to find room.
Grape tomatoes still setting fruit and producing in spite of the cold nights we've had. The Momo plants are ripening off fruit that set a while back but have not set any new fruit for a month, so I'm thinking they'll be finished soon.
They are delicious! So firm you don't think they're ripe, but when you cut into one, yum!
I've had so many this past two weeks I've been giving them away.But the plants are nearly done now. They stopped setting fruit when we had some cold nights a few weeks ago, so I'm either going to cut them back and fertilize once all the fruit is done, or remove them completely and plant my little Mountain Magic seedlings.
Remember the old days when AC was new -- and the theaters advertised AIR COOLED. What it meant was that they had cakes of ice and fans blowing air across them. And the ice came from ponds where the ice was cut each winter into slabs (we are Bostonians) and stored in the "ice house" where straw was used as insulation to keep them from melting. And the iceman delivered it. We've come a long way -- baby.
Milk bottles? The cap was two inches above the rim when the weather was cold. And we never needed refrigerators (ice boxes) in the winter because we had a box outside on a ledge outside the kitchen window -- and the milk man used a sleigh in the winter because the snow wasn't plowed -- it was just rolled down -- and we could ice-skate on the streets. -- and the milkman's horse knew the route better than the man, because the man went through backyards and caught up with the horse.
Nice, flyboy! We've started growing our cherry and smaller toms (like Mtn Magic) on cattle panels staked in the ground. I rarely have to tie anything...just let them ramble and weave the vines in and out of the panel. I guess I should start using the 'fancy' espaliered name for that!! And it makes them so easy to pick from both sides.
Outside I have been using the cattle panels for about five or 6 years they are great. Some people suspend them in a horizontal position about 3 feet off the ground and let them ramble and claim they get more production but I have not done this yet lol. Works good for some vine type squash ,cucumbers, peas, and string beans.
Here is a link that might be helpful. We buy them at Tractor Supply but any farm supply store probably would have them. They are fence panels you use to temporarily fence in livestock. Since they are 52" high, you can anchor them in the ground most anywhere in your garden and let the tomatoes trellis on them. I really like them for the small fruited tomatoes because they aren't as heavy and you can pick from either side, making it really easy. We take ours down and rotate the location season to season.
I forgot to say, eweed, I haven't tried put them 3 feet off the ground yet, lol! Or rotating them either! But you could sure get more 'vertical' growth that way! They are great and useful, especially for any vining type plant you can just poke the plant where you want it to grow.
Rick you can carry them home in a pick up truck. Takes a little care but lay it flat on the ground and stand on it close enough to one end pick it up and walk slowly backward. When you reach the flat end keep pulling the end you have been untill the two ends meet. Tie the two togeather you will Have a tear drop looking thing that you can haul even in a compact truck. The trick is pull gently and dont thow it around. When you get it home untie it and carefully reverse your steps.
I cut some of mine in 8 foot pcs and stick them straight up and grow string beans on them.
There are several configurations of these things, I now prefer the ones that have all the same size panel squares. I find just to many tomatoes that are inter woven in those that have the small sections at the bottom. If you do have that kind you should put the small sections to the top.Less tomatoes will get caught that way and it will be eaiser to keep the tomatoes from getting trapped.
pic 1 l to r Snap peas growing . The ones on the ground is one of my three goldens helped himself to some peas grrrr. Anyway look into the center and you can see the panels.
Hadn't thought about putting the small sections at the top, but then the tomatoes I use on the cattle panels are usually the smaller fruited ones and they don't hang quite as low either. Podster is correct - it will take something stronger than wire cutters as the panels are higher gauge wire and very stiff.
Eweed, your dog reminds me of a friend's setter who used to eat her small cukes. I don't have a problem with our Lab eating anything, fortunately. Just other critters! We've had to fence and use traps. Possums - Ugh!
Thanks! I've found "re-mesh" panels that are smaller and flimsier than cattle panels but still too large to fit in my Ford Escort.
I used to think about using them bent into cages around tomato buckets, and whole as pole pea supports, but cutting one in half the long way would make it fit into my trunk ... I don't THINK it would drag on the ground.
Those Kumato fruits look a lot like my 'Black Pearl' variety of cherry tomatoes. They really were wonderful, and productive last spring. Mine were slightly more purple than brown, but my husband called them "those little brown tomatoes". (as he munched them every time he passed the plants)
Interesting that the label says they're from a Canadian company. Kingsville, Ontario with a Canadian postal code and even French on the label. Must be greenhouse, and/or hydroponic. I'm darned sure there aren't any tomatoes growing outdoors up there right now. Truly amazing they can grow enough to supply Sam's Clubs.
I'd hate to think they're being grown in Mexico or somewhere, shipped to Canada to be packaged then shipped again out to Sam's Clubs.
Kev, this is my first try of Solar Fire, sorry! Will let you know how they do. We don't get super-hot in the daytimes like you do in Texas, but my daughter lives in Utah, and they had 3 weeks of over-100's last summer. Her tomatoes (Momotaro's that I sent her) in Earth Boxes did great. I think cool nights are the key. Plus lots of water.
Most tomatoes fizzle out in May or so, from the warm nights here. Sometimes the cherry tomato plants make it into July, but they don't set fruit after the nights get too warm. I just let them limp along until they ripen off all the fruit that's coming then yank the plants.
I don't think there's much in the way of produce coming out of CA this month. They had frosts in the last few weeks in Wine Country - look out! Price of Three Buck Chuck might be going up.
We are setting up for a hard frost in the northern counties here tonight and tomorrow night - Argh.
I cartoon envision drunk vehicles , instead of drunk drivers.
IT use to make sense dragsters and quarter mile racers running on alcohol confined to a race track.
Gasahol out dates my humor , Only one could envision half drunk vehicles already , maybe that was what was wrong with all the Toyota cars going crazy last year ,,lol
We were supposed to haveflying cars by now. Late chime in- Sooners know what sections are. Texas didnt bother with sections. Longhorns arent bred for milk production, chuckle, but I dare say they''d be more easily milked than those Mexican cows. If you got the ones of the proper gender to start with. Those tomatoes make me hungry- and I love figs. Sigh.
Hey guys? Those with closer bars on one end aren't cattle panels- they are hog panels. Bull panels are spaced all the same distances apart. that is just the way straighttalk phones load into DG. I usually dont have enuff wifi to get the laptop out- nor go slowly enuff to catch a pic of anything except bug splatters... That device was down in Breckenridge- it is set up for wine vines.
OMG-Kitt I've been thinking.." those look like hog panels to me". I just thought they were called different things in different places. What is a "wine vines"?
Flyboy-what kind of peppers are in your picture? As far as Texas Highways, they aren't all on their side lol but that's pretty much the view on I10. All the way from east of El Paso to Junction, it is beautiful but desolate. I always wonder about the people that lived there yrs ago...
They do that cuz of same cost in the puter saves time n effort. Most folks know which look they want and dont raise hogs anymore. I wouldnt get the panels, I would buy a roll of lighter gauge fencing and cut to size tween tposts anyway. They are heavy enough not to crush under plant weight tho.
Yep, I know about not wanting to pull out the old plants, too!
Being as I'm further inland than you, we got colder during that cold March, which slammed the old plants down for me even though I covered them. Made it easier to pull them. But I did start seeds for the spring crop in December, so the new plants were pretty big when I planted them.
Your bowl of fruit looks wonderful still. This will be my first taste of Mountain Magic, can't wait!
Then once summer is here, in another month . . . well, we'll just have to make do with mangoes and lychees and papayas and pineapples, I guess. Mango tree is loaded, and still blooming, too!
Did I tell you how much I like the title of this thread?
Possums here - caught several in the trap last year and probably missed a few, but it certainly helped me gain a few melons. My neighbor caught (and released several miles away) over 2 dozen squirrels. His wife won't let him shoot them. I, on the other hand, say fire away. We are overpopulated in the country. The birds suffer and I have squirrel guards on every feeder.
I confess -- I have not shot any marauders here in FL. I have caught and released two possums. (Boy -- they are ugly, close up.) The latest one had been gobbling up poison pellets like they were M&M's. He has been relocated to a park frequented by camping snowbirds who will provide him well with garbage. The trapped squirrels wind up in the same place. It is four bridges removed -- so they will have to swim to return.
The war has not been finally resolved.
Camparis vis-à-vis Mountain Magic. the Campari seeds are not sold. Mine are now seventh generation from the originals I ate several years ago. The MM's are supposed to be the closest, commercially sold, to the Camparis.
Interesting, I have possums but they never touch my fruit or veggies. I haven't grown melons lately, though. Squirrels and raccoons are my problems. I do trap the raccoons, with my Hav-a-hart, and the nice lady from animal control comes and takes them away.
We're in the city, so not allowed to discharge firearms. I have a plastic "assault rifle" that fires biodegradeable pellets. Don't want to deal with dead bodies anyway, so I just wanted to scare the little varmints, but the first one I got, the pellets went so slowly that if I did manage to hit a squirrel, they'd turn around and look at me with "is that all you got??" Now I have a better, more accurate one that gets their attention. But if I can blast them with the hose, that's the best scare.
I hang reflective things like CD's in my mango tree, have owl decoys, spray with stuff called "Critter Ridder" and still find my gorgeous mangoes on the ground with one squirrel bite taken out of them! GRR.
My kids bought me a fancy "squirrel proof" birdfeeder for Xmas one year, and it works except . . . of course the durned birds spill about half the seeds all over the ground. So I hung a net made of screening under the feeder. Now most of the seeds stay up off the ground, the squirrels clean out the net and don't bother the birds, and the cat doesn't get the little birds that otherwise eat the seeds off the ground.
Some days, I look out the window at a cute little squirrel scurrying along the ground looking for a nut that he buried, that I dug up as soon as he buried it...
And, then, my peaceful reverie is broken as my brain snaps to it and reminds me that this cute, scurrying little creature is, in all actuality, a RODENT!!!!!!!! And, visions of its cousins, the rats and the mice, take its place!
Your nice, 'squirrel-proof' feeder may work for a while, but our squirrels are pretty smart. Before I got the baffle for the pole, they destroyed the ring on one of mine (Wild-Birds Unlimited replaced it since they are guaranteed for life). I even had to scrounge for the little metal posts that hold the ring - they were laying on the ground & the buggers had worked them out to get to the seeds! I saw one of the squirrels on the pole, stretched out and working like mad to get to the seed holes. That did it for me. I've bought baffles ever since. I do like the net you have below it though. I have mourning doves also that scrounge the ground for the seeds, so I let them have at it.
Over 2 years with the squirrel-proof feeder, so far so good. The other feeder, see pic, has turned out to be sort of squirrel-proof, too.
Instead of baffles, I've got metal poles, and grease them with Super Lube applied with an old toothbrush. It's fun seeing them try to climb the slippery pole. The squirrels can get to the net easily by climbing up the little fig tree next to it, but they so far have left the feeder alone. (fingers crossed)
I'm thinking they're pretty satisfied with all the seed they get from the net. Darn grackles are such sloppy eaters!