The tomatoes you showed in the last item on the old thread look beautiful! When are you planning on transplanting? They look ready to go into the ground. My seedlings aren't nearly so far along. These were planted about two weeks ago. I started them on a heat mat, with a clear plastic cover to hold the moisture. I plan to put them in the garden in 3-4 weeks, without potting up to a larger container. If the weather is nice enough, today I hope to start working the soil for the tomatoes.
#1 is a photo of a tray of my tomato seedlings. All the tomatoes in this tray are indeterminates.
#2 is the new tiller my wife bought for my birthday last fall, when the old one couldn't be repaired. It is a Cub Cadet.
Today was a minor work day outside. I spread some pine straw under the apples, planted some strawberry crowns and the next planting of peas and radishes. The irrigation system has been on holding waiting for more supplies; I finally got the rest of the emitter line in and added the valves. I still need the staples to show up to hold the lines down -- they are fresh and very tightly coiled!
I also did some weeding and general garden cleanup. I am *so* ready for spring. Soil temp is still a chilly 53F.
My 'mater seedlings are up and one of the peppers is showing a tiny bit of green. This year, I have them in an old aquarium with the 65w 10k aquarium light. The ones on the sides were getting leggy and stretching toward the middle, so I got the other fixture out (somewhat precariously balanced!). It has twice the light (4x32w), but half the light is spilling off the sides. But at least it's evenly spread and the ones on the sides won't be so left out. We'll see.
Most years we have enough warm sunny days to leave the seedlings out in the sun, but not this year. Now that I've decided to start peppers and tomatoes indoors on a regular basis, I may need something more permanent. I like the aquarium and it's perfectly sized for the tray I'm using, but I need a different light fixture I guess.
Now I need to go spray my apples and putter around outside a bit more. 55 degree days have been rare this spring. Tomorrow should be warmer and sunny so we reserved that for a hike.
I am covering every night my tomatoes hoop house with blankets and the plants are doing great and they keep growing.
Tomorrow I will substitute the 5 tomatoes I lost to monsters ... grrrrrrr
Thunderstorms, snow and very strong winds! All three are in the forecast beginning late tonight.
Thunderstorms (60%) will develop overnight west of Fort Worth. Some of these will have the potential to produce large hail and strong winds (mainly west of the Metroplex). The severe weather threat in these locations are low with marginally severe storms possible. Scattered (50%) showers and thunderstorms will move into the Metroplex near daybreak Monday. Severe storms are NOT anticipated but lightning, gusty winds and brief heavy rain are possible.
On and off scattered (50%) rain will stay in the forecast for the remainder of the day Monday and a large part of North Texas will see measurable rain, but unfortunately, amounts will be very light.
Additionally, a rain/snow mix may develop in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and points to the north. This will occur Monday afternoon and continue through Monday evening. I do NOT expect accumulations in the Metroplex because temperatures will be above freezing. But, along the Red River some light accumulations are possible on bridges and overpasses which may lead to some isolated slick spots.
Otherwise, very windy conditions (W/NW winds of 30mph-40mph & gusts to 50mph) are expected Monday and Monday night. This is why a Wind Advisory has been issued for North Texas tomorrow and tomorrow night.
Thanks for the compliments on the tomatoes, they were seeded Jan. 21st, and potted up about 2 weeks ago. I've started a feeding mix of Uncle John's Recipe liquid fertilizer, molasses, and a touch of Vermaplex, all cut to about half strength. Some are going to friends so they will pot up to 6" deep pots. I've been keeping the cold room about 65 degrees, so they've been getting pretty solid. Just running out of space in the shelf unit. Plus I have another tray of them that are about the same size.
With the weather predictions for next week, I don't see these going to the root pouches before March 10th or 15th, just to be safe. I'm really juggling to try to keep everything going slowly, but they're starting to get ahead of me. I'm also in the process of getting the garden beds cleaned out, so that's another factor into the equation.
The plants I've really got to get moved are the dwarf's I've got started. I think going to the 3.5" deep pots they'll have plenty of root space. Another thing in the "to do" list queue is getting the rainwater collection system put together. On the trip this weekend we went through the backroads to East Texas, and I found 3 or 4 different stores that had the rain barrels & big totes. Really wanted to stop and get some info on them.
Don't get me started on "Mr. Channel 8 Weatherman".Pete Delkus He is the reason I left my perennials in containers outside one night when the temperature got down to 28 degress when he said that the temperature would only get down to 39 degrees. Consequently I had to cut back my perennials to the ground and wait for them to grow back this spring while I could have blooming right now Greg's blue mist, lavender popcorn Lantana, plumbago, autumn sages (salvia gregii), etc. In the future I will take his forecasts with a large grain of salt.
I'm interested in what your ultimate plans were for planting your "dwarfs" (tomatoes I assume). Are you going to plant them in the ground or in containers? This being my first to grow dwarf's I was thinking of growing mine in white 5 gallon plastic buckets from HD as opposed to planting them in the ground mainly because of a space limitation in my raised beds which are for my indeterminant tomatoes and the fact that the dwarf plants don't need as much space to grow, I believe.
I am the fearless gardener ... I am going out right now to plant a few tomatoes.
I will just make sure that the hoop house covers are secured to the PVC pipes very well ...
weeee ... wish me luck !!!
I replaced the tomatoes that were eaten by those worm monsters. This time I made a paper collar and really sprinkled with DE all around the plant.
I did water the plants yesterday just for 10 minutes with the soaker hose and the soil was really wet ... so no more water for my tomatoes. They just don't like to be wet and cold at this time of the year.
I cover the hoop house with a frost blanket that will keep the rain away tomorrow ... I hope.
I put a lot of clips so it will stay with the heavy wind ... I hope.
So far so good !
The soil temperature this morning was almost 50F. This thermometer never went below 45F since I transplanted the tomatoes outside. Right now is almost at 60F.
I wish I could have lettuce with my tomatoes ... by the time the tomatoes are ready ... the lettuce normally starts to bolt.
Yes, I have the perforated plastic covering the hoop house.
I decided a few days ago to not let the tomatoes wet, so I just put a white frost blanket.
If it is not raining and the temperature is going below 50F, I just throw blanket on top of the perforated plastic. I cannot let the blanket to get wet because I think they will be too heavy on top of the PVC and maybe collapse down ...
And this is how I keep myself in such a good shape !!
One more lessons this year; DO NOT MULCH with pine needles yet ... wait until the plants are bigger.
If the soil is bare it will absorb more heat from the sun. Pine needles will keep the soil cooler. Also those gnam-gnam monsters do hide under the pine needles.
Maybe next year I will have my system down correctly.
Good point about waiting for the soil to warm up before putting down pine straw mulch. I was thinking this afternoon if I go ahead and plant my tomatoes I will need to go to the park accross the street to harvest some pine needles. Now I don't neeed to worry about it yet.
Hrp50 ~ if I may suggest, harvest the pine straw now, before it is shredded from mowing and while it is still cool enough to be comfortable. It can be stored in garbage bags until needed.
Yes, Drthor is correct. Let the soil warm up before mulching and when it is time to mulch, let the soil receive a good soaking (preferably rain) before mulching. The mulch will also help retain moisture.
David, I am one of those that looses most of mine by our scheduled vacation. The young man that tends to the pets will water and harvest but it is just not the same. I want to savour the rewards from the effort. Ah well, such is life.
Right now, my multiplier onions are sending up blooms. This year, I am pinching the blooms off in hopes of generating larger bulbs. As with everything, another experiment. Does anyone have an opinion on this?
cold fronts you will notice are goin to start being felt every 2 or 3 days- sometimes a weak one is followed by a stronger one, but it can be another weak front. They are always this way, but at this season you can tell when the temp and winds go up and down...if the winds blow strong from the south or west, they will turn and be followed by rain. If the temps swing way hi on the ground and the clouds are super cold you are apt to have thunderstorms with twisters. The cloud formation to look for is one that resembles 3 loaves of french bread laid out on a rack to cool, but they are rolling. Unless you are UNDER the eye, chuckle, or the clouds are too low to see details... like the Wichita Falls tornados on April 11th, 1979. There is a class you could take Lynda- the one that teaches you storm spotting...
this is just for you ... I just took these pictures ...
Air temperature outside is 50F - soil temperature inside hoop house at 8am is about 55F.
Daffodils are so beautiful at this time of the year ...
hrp50>> I did some experimentation last year with the plastic 5 gallon Home Depot garden and wasn't impressed. To get a mix of Tapla's specification took a lot of time, sifting, labor & was fairly expensive. In my opinion, the ratio I had may have been "too fast" and the result didn't match the effort. The only "good" tomatoes that came out of the buckets were the Sun Gold or Sun Sugars, can't recall which off the top of my head. One of the factors that may have come into play was that our spring was very warm, even at night, and I had a lot of blossom drop. That's one of the reasons why I got such an early start this year.
I did a good bit of research last year looking at different aeration containers and really like the Root Pouches, and their new product, Boxer Browns. All my vegetables are going to be grown in them this season, but I will also grown some cukes, zucchini, and squash in the raised bed. Primary pouch veggies will be the okra, tomatoes and peppers, with some cukes and watermelon, as this years experiment. Another reason for the pouch usage is the fact that you can get away with a lot "slower" mix. I plan on getting garden soil from Gardenville locally and add some sifted bark mulch to add a bit more air. A truck load of the soil is what it would cost for 10 or 12 bags of mix at the box store, so I'd be able to fill all the bags for a fairly cheap cost.
For the dwarfs I plan on using the 2 gallon pouch and will set up an overhead string trellis for the suport, and I'll trellis the other tomatoes the same way. The rest of the tomatoes are going into 3 gallon pouches because of the size of the plant & a little more stability. With the 5 gallon pouch I'm going to put a pair of okra, and see how they do.
The wind was blowing and whistling so strong last night ... I couldn't stop thinking at my poor tomatoes.
This morning ... the trash bin is down in the ground ... but my tomato hoop house is still standing ... unbelievable!
I will keep my finger crossed all of this week. If I can keep them alive after Sunday = great tomatoes season !
Scary but funny !
Is anybody else taking risk this year in their veggie garden?
I was out after 10 pm last night fighting the wind to get my hoop covered. I had put the Thermal perforated plastic up Sunday, but was afraid the wind would rip it, and that it might get too cold. So, I wrestled with a large, old bed sheet and clipped it over the perfed plastic. Then, I got a heavier sheet of plastic I used in the past, and clipped that over the sheet.
That wind was whipping me all over my yard! I was out there about 20 minutes struggling with the hoop, and securing stuff that had blown over. Amazing part was that it wasn't cold at all -- just very windy. The wind had to be gusting 20-30 mph!
All night long I kept hearing this banging, and wondering if it was some trash cans rolling down the street. When I left this morning, two pickets were blown out of my neighbors new fence (2nd one installed in the past year -- shoddy worksmanship). The pickets had been banging until the wind blew them out!
I peeped under the hoop this morning, and those babies are lined up just as happy and content as you please...I was a bit worried there would be no air circulation, but I only sealed up one end of the tarp last night. And, the wind is blowing in from the open end, so, I could probably camp out under there, tonight!
All is well...
From all my observations last year, I decided early on that I was going to put my tomatoes out ON TIME in mid-February, and do what was necessary to protect them. Now that the contingencies are in place, I don't feel so much that it is a risk, as a challenge to stay one step ahead of whatever is coming. It takes commitment and dedication, though, and a tinge of insanity!
I've always believed we could beat the winter window, especially here in Houston with our mostly mild weather. I'm just putting that belief to the test!
I agree. You should be always ahead of my planting time, since you are much warmer than me.
Every year, when I transplanted out the tomatoes, the wind blows like crazy !
It must be related to the moon phases ... because I always plant by the same calendar.
I call it the "tomatoes dance": cover and uncover ... good exercise !
Soil temperature inside the hoop house still 50F. I also did pick under it and the plants seem fine.
You all in Texas are getting monster winds just like we have up here all the time. We just came out of a 3 day period of really bad winds with gusts up to 40mph. I get so tired of it, but compared to other parts of the US we are very lucky. It has been a grey gloomy winter, but Spring is coming.My peppers & tomatoes are growing nicely- (in the ice cube tray are some Delphiniums & Columbine from saved seeds-in DE)
I like the tray holder you are using. It is just perfect.
Since you seeded multiple seeds in one pot, what do you do with the extra ones?
Do you pick the best plant and remove the other?
Do you re-pot the extra one?
OK- answers for everybody-
drthor, I put 2 seeds in each 5oz cup, and as they grow I will behead (ouch!) the weaker plant in each cup. I know that is cruel, but I prefer it to trying to seperate and damage roots. My medium is about half DE (Ultrasorb from an auto store) and half ProMix, which I buy by the 3 cu.ft. bale each year.
Linda, yes, I only filled the cups to about half and add more medium as they grow.
hrp50, the trays are from Fred Meyers- They come with coir cups in them, which I throw away-I don't like them. I buy them solely for the white trays, which have NO holes, so I can bottom water in them. I have some from years past that have cracked, but I patched them with aluminum tape! I also have collected some from WalMarts garden shop- they come with 3" cactus in them, and are perfect to hold the 5oz. clear cups (I use an old woodburner tool to make 3 holes around the side of each cup- this is one of my winter chores! If you will haunt the garden shops, the trays that hold the small cactus and other plants are perfect- mine hold 28 cups.
These plants will get potted up to about 10oz clear cups later.
Another photo of a good holder- I have 4 of these from Lowe's they held 3" plants of some kind- I find all kinds of free goodies there! (it helps to make friends with the garden shop employees!) And I have bought broken bagged soils there at half price ever since I moved here 5 years ago- I know all of their stores won't do that, but ours is great.
Finally the wind stopped for a while yesterday and I was able to harvest some lettuce, broccoli and white carrots.
My DH doesn't like carrots ... but only if he sees them in his food ... so I am planning to "trick" him with these white ones ... giggle.
They are actually so pretty , I bought the seeds from Baker Creek: http://rareseeds.com/vegetablesa-c/carrots/snow-white-carrot.html
Every year I am learning something new.
This year I have been watering my indoor seedlings only with "rain water" and I am seeing a huge difference on the quality of the plants.
I knew that rainwater has nitrogen and other ingredients to help the soil ... but I just never took the extra time to try indoor before.
I never had so beautiful and lush indoor plants like this year, green and lush.
Are you also watering with your rain water?
Have you seen any major difference?
[quote="drthor"]Every year I am learning something new.
This year I have been watering my indoor seedlings only with "rain water" and I am seeing a huge difference on the quality of the plants.
I knew that rainwater has nitrogen and other ingredients to help the soil ... but I just never took the extra time to try indoor before.
I never had so beautiful and lush indoor plants like this year, green and lush.
Are you also watering with your rain water?
Have you seen any major difference? [/quote]
What a great idea! I have a large tote to collect rainwater & use this in the garden, but never thought to use it to water seedlings. That's going to change today!
Check the depth of the roots for what-ever you are planting. If transplanting plants, then measure the depth of your intended hole. If planting seeds, then measure the top 2-3 inches of soil. The deeper soil (for a leggy tomato) might still be colder than the top few inches for planting bean seeds.
Jo>> Our winds have been fairly stout this week. On Monday when the front went through we had some 60+ gusts in the Austin area. We live on the top of a hill, and our wind is normally about 10 greater than what they predict or record. We lost a decent-size Arizona Ash on one side of the property, and an old electric pole on the neighbor's yard fell onto our fence. The pole snapped off at the ground and it was partially rotted halfway up. The electric co-op never removed the pole when they put a new one in some years ago.
Today it wasn't as bad but they were still in the 40+ range for a good part of the morning...
many years ago Organic Gardening ran a series of articles about free radicals of which rainwater has non until it sits for a spell nor does melt water nor boiled water ..That is about all I remember it has just been too many years ..gotta go
I think I still have some of those Organic Gardening mags. I loved em. Wonxer which tote they would be in. I like rainwater. It may be what it DOESN'T havr in it tho that works to the best advantages for the plants.
A little update here- as some of my tomatoes are getting pretty tall, but are not ready to pot up in size, I am adding a little highrise that I will add mix to. They are so pretty and green- I hope my luck holds ! And a little OT too- look at these cute garden stones I found today at the Dollar Tree! I just love them!
Steph>> It looks like we started our seeds the same day, and we're in the same boat. Peppers are still kind of slow, but the tomatoes are doing great. Keeping the room as cold as it's been, the plants are looking pretty stout, but they are getting fairly tall. About 10 days or 2 weeks is all I'll be able to keep them inside, which is when I hope this weather will make up it's mind.
MY WEEKEND UPDATE - 3/2/13:
I checked the soil thermometer yesterday morning, and it read 65°. Not bad, since it was only 52° outside! When I lifted it, I could feel the heat (and humidity) under the perforated tarp, and, the seven dwarfs (not really dwarfs...) were doing fine underneath. I won't be covering them again until tomorrow night and, again, that's only for the 25-35 mph wind gusts we're expecting. Have I mentioned how glad I am that bed is oriented N-S?
I remembered that I hadn't mixed any Dolomitic lime into the planting bed, so, I sprinkled a handful of EP and a handful of lime over the root balls of each plant and watered it in. Hopefully the mix sank far enough down to the root balls. Since I trench-planted each tomato in a backwards "L" shape, I know exactly where each root ball is, which makes it much easier to water only those areas and not waste water doing the whole bed.
My turnips are just about ready for harvesting, so when I clear out that side of RB #1, I can put a few tomato plants under the tomato frame. I have a whole flat of cabbages ready to go in, and I may put them and the broccoli where the beets were, opposite the tomatoes. Wondering if it will be worth it, or, if I've run out of time. But, I think I may have a shot at bringing them in, if I use some hoop covers.
I've been learning loads about how to use different hoop coverings to achieve desired outcomes like raising soil temps, or cooling/shading plants in the heat, keeping a bed dry before you need to plant it, and keeping flying, egg-laying moths off by using floating row covers (or, in my case, the bolt of tulle that's on the way...).
I found a website where this guy actual EXPLAINS in a pictorial how he uses at least 4 different hoop coverings to achieve certain outcomes in his RBs. One of the BEST RB garden websites I've ever seen!
I'm encouraged to build my squash trellis and cover the entire thing with a barrier of tulle to keep the Squash moth from getting to the plant and laying eggs on the stems. Think I'll put the plant in a container beneath the trellis, and wrap the entire pot and the lower portion of the stem. Then, I may tent the entire trellis, just until the blooms come on. Hopefully, there won't be any SVB larvae inside the stems, and the plant can have a fighting chance to develop some vegetables. We'll see...
P.S. I found two caramel brown larvae on the soil in my carrot grow bag. When I picked the first one up, the tip moved and startled me, and I dropped it in the grass. I was ready for the second one, though. No idea which creature will hatch and start munching on my seedlings...
I'm encouraged to build my squash trellis and cover the entire thing with a barrier of tulle to keep the Squash moth from getting to the plant and laying eggs on the stems. Think I'll put the plant in a container beneath the trellis, and wrap the entire pot and the lower portion of the stem. Then, I may tent the entire trellis, just until the blooms come on. Hopefully, there won't be any SVB larvae inside the stems, and the plant can have a fighting chance to develop some vegetables. We'll see...[/quote]
My problem with row covers on squash has been that the plant is blooming while the SVB are still very much active; we get new infestations as late as August. Same issue with the squash bugs.
From Sheridan, Wyo where storm hit to 10m up the road. Lynda is the larva a hard case? Built kinda like a sectional pyramid? I wonder if the svb can be fooled by phermones? It appears to be attracted by that instead of color...have seen that larva, dont remember what it is. Not good for plants if I remember correctly.
Is it possible, or am I being too anal, to ask that posts having to do with squash bugs and squash vine borers be made to the thread I started in the Texas gardening forum entitled “My second wish for 2013” which is all about dealing with these two destructive insects? I’ve used the search feature on top of the page using the key words “squash bugs” but it returned approximately 500 posts spread out over multiple forums so that was not very helpful. I could move the thread to the Vegetable Gardening forum so it is not perceived to be strictly a Texas issue and maybe rename it so it is apparent as to what the topic is, but I sure as heck don’t know how to do all that. Is this maybe what a “sticky” thread is for?
It seems to me that it would helpful if there was a single thread to act as a clearing house and sounding board for everyone to exchange ideas and information on dealing with these pests. I have posted on that thread that due to my love of squash and my hatred of squash bugs, squash vine borers and the damage they cause that I have made it my mission in life to find through research successful ways of dealing with them and offer my findings for discussion in one place in a concise, readers' digest-type format. Would anyone be interested in that happening or is it just my pipe dream?
Guess i remember all the threads but cant go back on this lil phone as ez as my puter. does hrp want a journal for that quest? And bugs are pertinent to all stages of plants, and planting and building for plants. When i want to remembera a specific, i write or save what i want.
Still 3 more weeks of up n down. You might consider designing a few plant covers and setting them in ground by mid of 2nd wk in March. Then just covering in the worst weather. Several designs of weather protection have been used by many folx around here.
They can do that indoors too. AND i do know how fast they can cook outside. Use a cover that has no top? That has worked for me by simply wrapping plastic aroynd them that is 4' deep and several feet away. The depth protects from wind and dew rising. A psrtial board kept in heat and kept out heat. til I returned.
My tomatoes are just doing great.
The perforated plastic cover today was perfect to keep them ventilated. It was 80F at my house.
The plastic protected the plants from the heavy wind and the holes let the hot air out.
Most of the plants grew at leat 6-7" and they are growing beautiful.
They are pretty hardy in my garden - the survived 32F with no problem.
I will post pictures soon ... my computer is at the doctor ...
I'd love to see other vegetable garden picture too.
I wasn't familiar with the word "tulle" so I googled it to find out what it is. I found this:
Tulle is a fine mesh net fabric that is best known as the material used to make wedding veils. Tulle is also used to embellish wedding gowns, evening gowns, costumes, hats, lingerie, window treatments, floral arrangements, gifts and wedding favors. This versatile fabric has been around for more than three centuries.
Would you please explain how you use this material in your gardening?
I'll be using it like floating row covers over my seedlings. If the moths can't get to the plants, they can't lay eggs on the stems!
I got the idea from reading about the SVB laying eggs on the stems (TWO cycles here in Texas), and how floating row covers seem to be one of the best front-line defenses during the egg-laying season. Tulle is pretty cheap, and, unlike floating row cover, can be used over and over again. I paid $55 (w/tax & shipping) for a 9' wide x 50 yard bolt of fabric.
The tulle will keep the cabbage moths off the cabbages and the pillbugs off the leaves as well. Hopefully, no buckshot holes...
Tulle does seem to be a cost effective alternative to using the gauze-like floating row cover material. Do you have to order it online or can you go to a fabric store and buy it?. I assume it lets through the same amount of sunlight and water (rain or otherwise) as does floating row cover?
I have used "organdy" as a row cover for years. Sun and water does penetrate.
I have a lot left over from my sewing ... and of all possible colors.
Ask your DW if she has a 40% coupon from Jo-Ann Fabrics and go crazy (If not register on-line and you will soon receive a catalog and the coupon at the end).
Any kind of light weight netting will be perfect as a row cover - you will be amazed what you can find at the fabric store.
... and don't tell that you are looking for "fine organdy or tulle" to use on your vegetable garden to discourage bugs ... just let them think you are doing a sewing project ...
At this stage in my life I don't care if the fabric store clerk wonders why I'm buying tulle. :)
Is fine organdy the same as or just similar to tulle in cost, in it's use for this purpose ?. It sounds as if tulle would not any provide any protection against the temperature while I've read that gauze floating row cover holds in some of the earth's heat by not allowing it to escape into the atmosphere, thus the temperature stays 3 to 4 degrees warmer underneath than the outside temperature . Is that your understanding? I guess that would be one advantage of using floating row cover as 3 or 4 degrees of warmth just might make a difference in whether or not plants suffer cold damage. Again I assume you would use the tulle over the perforated plastic as tulle by itself won't slow down the wind? I think that my brain is leaking out of my ears trying to absorb all of this.
FWIW, I think the tulle might outlast the FRC by about 2 days, only because there's little chance of tearing it...LOL!
Not worried about frost protection. By the time I put my warm weather veggies out under the tulle, it'll be warm enough.
Not in any hurry at this point for that group. I learned my lesson last season with wasting water and ferts on okras and bell peppers that just sat and sulked until it got good and hot enough for their liking! Same for the squash. I'll start seedlings indoors, and once they're big enough to withstand an attack of the SVB, they'll go outside immediately under tulle that is secured around the bed on ALL sides. Might even use some duct tape...LOL!
Again. Moth can't reach the stem, moth can't lay the eggs!
I use the organdy as a "row cover" ... to protect only from bugs - it doesn't protect plants from cold or heat or water.
It is a fine mesh that lets the air and the sunshine inside and keep the bugs out.
You are confusing with a frost cloth. When you go to Jo-Ann fabric you can feel with your hands the texture of the fabric and understand its purpose. You can also look around and fine some fine netting that you may love much better (trust me - I know fabric)
I did use organdy as a cover a few years ago with the baby cucumbers ... but I found out that I don't really need it on them.
I plan to use it on my zucchini this year ... or maybe I will let you try it first ...
Tulle is a mesh like fabric that you see a lot on Wedding Dresses and wedding Veils ( or vowels as hrp50 says) lol. It's wouldn't work against protecting plants from freezing but it would protect against intruders. i wished it worked for Spider Mites.
[quote="Gymgirl"]No, you don't have to order it online, yes, your local fabric store will have it, and, from what I've read, yes water and sunlight will penetrate.
Check for sales, coupons, etc.[/quote]
Great ideas! You can also find tulle at thrift stores - think the crinkly stuff under prom dresses, or in the linens section, I often find tulle by the yard. I use it for making tutus for my girls for Mardi Gras, petticoats for under dresses, curtains...I have a bit of a tulle thing.
Hrp50 has created a dedicated discussion thread for the Squash Bug/Borer. I've taken the liberty to move most of the SVB posts from here to the other thread, for continuity.
Hrp50's hope is to have a consolidated discussion on the Squash Bug/Borer. So,
while our "STARTING OUR SPRING VEGGIE GARDEN PART 3" discussion will continue here, there's a new thread for the Squash Bug discussion:
I'll be covering multiple plants with the tulle. Hopefully, it'll keep the cabbage moth from laying looper eggs, too! And, I think I read that it might hinder some of the flea beetles from the eggplants.
I bought a whole 9'W by 50 yard bolt online for $54 (includes tax and shipping). It should last the rest of my life!
I have been busy the last few days- I replaced my 4x6' greenhouse (which had the plastic totally destroyed by winds ) with an exact new one-again from Fred Meyers. I just used the old framing and shelving and put the new skin on it. This time I built a "slipcover" around it to protect it from the winds. Since I am a sewing addict also, and a pack rat! I have lots of supplies I have collected over the years I worked in fabric shops. I have 50 yaers of 1" wide velcro, so I created panels for all 4 sides that I can put on and peel off when I want. I'll show photos soon---
Anyway, here's an interesting photo of some of my tomato babies- on the left are New Big Dwarf, and the potato leaf ones are Pruden's Purple They are all doing very well so far.
The tomatoes are growing really nice under the perforated plastic cover.
I really don't know how you could grow tomatoes here without covering with plastic ... the wind is just so strong.
I have a few jugs filled with water inside the hoop house. The evaporation creates a nice warm area for the plants.
These tomatoes have been outside since February 16th.
Each plant has at least 18" stem underground. I have started to trim the bottom leaves.
Flowers are forming.
Peppers and Eggplants are growing really well.
Peppers are making a lot of flowers, which I will not remove.
I did learn last year that it is ok to keep the flowers on the peppers ... I did more damages trying to remove the flowers every day in the past.
Peppers and Eggplants will be transplanted outside at the beginning of April.
By then they will be strong and ready to produce for me.
I love the moon and stars plants, too, drthor. They are tender, though, I found out by moving them. Mine never quite coped and I finally lost them, but they were so beautiful before I moved them out of the hothouse. I do want to grow them again, seeding them where they will grow. I had them in large pots. My parents used to talk all the time about the moon and stars melons they ate as children. We are blessed to still have them around to grow.
Well, my tomatoes are up and running. I planted out sixty cells with three of each variety I wanted and it looks like all have germinated exept two varieties--my Barnes Yellow seeds may be too old as I didn't have any trouble with the seeds last year. And the Super Sauce seeds are not germinating. I've got some extra so I'll try again in a dixie cup w/continuous bottom heat. I usually only give my tom seeds bottom heat if they don't germinate in four days or so.
My seed tray of peppers and eggplants should be planted out tonight or tomorrow night.
My onions are looking pretty good so the next fertilizing will be with this weekend. No more nitrogen, just potassium and phostorus for those guys--they are big boys now!
My soil thermometer is reading at a steady 60-62 degrees so the first planting of pole beens are going into the ground this weekend. I have the bed all set up. I've got a couple of early varieties of sweet corn, so the sweet corn bed is getting tilled and a load of goat stall clean out is going in. I usually wait for a 65 degree reading for the sweet corn, but I just might get that by this weekend. I still need wind protection, but I've got row covers.
Sweet corn, pole beans!?! Can zucchini be far behind!
your tomatoes look really nice.
Are these the ones you did start on the roaster oven?
How old are they? and which varieties?
Are you going to transplant using the "trench method"?
Below the varieties I am growing this year. I am trying a lot of new varieties and also some varieties that I have been growing very successful for the past 5 years:
Gold Nugget Tomato
Sweet Million Tomato
Koralik Tomato – new for 2013
Black Cherry Tomato
Dr. Carolyn Tomato – new for 2013
Golden Gem Tomato – new for 2013
Isis Candy Cherry Tomato – new for 2013
Flamme (Jaune Flammee) Heirloom Tomato – new for 2013
Azoychka Tomato – new for 2013
Momotaro (Tough Boy) Tomato
Amy's Sugar Gem Tomato – new for 2013
Golden Jubilee Tomato
Earl of Edgecombe Tomato – new for 2013
Peacevine Cherry-Tomato – new for 2013
Grappoli D’Inverno (a Grappioli d'Inverno) Tomato
Green Zebra Tomato
Tigerella Tomato – new for 2013
Virginia Sweet Tomato
Black Plum Tomato – new for 2013
Black Zebra Tomato – new for 2013
Marianna's Peace Heirloom Tomato – new for 2013
Red Fig Tomato
Chocolate Cherry – new for 2013
my soil thermometer is almost at 60F.
This will be the second year I am planting LONG BEANS, so I still don't know a lot about them and I will appreciate your expertise.
Isn't too early to transplant right now? or is it ok?
I found out that cucumber, zucchini and pepper must be transplanted out at the beginning of April in my garden. They are not as hardy as tomatoes and at the end of March we always have a lot of wet/cold rain.
The long term forecast says we have more unseasonably cold weather ahead of us. Most everything in the garden has sprouted but is still wearing their cotyledons. The peas are a little further ahead, but not much. The trees are bullying ahead like they always do but everything else is just taking a long snooze instead of getting up when the alarm clock has gone off.
Then, so sez the long term forecast, we're going to have a hotter than normal spring. So I guess it'll be one of *those* years with non-existent spring and straight into hot weather.
[quote="drthor"]Below the varieties I am growing this year. I am trying a lot of new varieties and also some varieties that I have been growing very successful for the past 5 years:
Isis Candy Cherry Tomato – new for 2013
Flamme (Jaune Flammee) Heirloom Tomato – new for 2013
Momotaro (Tough Boy) Tomato
Tigerella Tomato – new for 2013
Chocolate Cherry – new for 2013[/quote]
I had serious problems with Isis in 2012. It seemed to succumb very quickly to blight. Even the fruit showed damage!
I was very pleasantly surprised by Flamme. It started producing deep orange fruit in a 1 gallon pot I was using to hold it until a planter was available. I'm planting it again this year.
Momotaro did great for me in 2012. Produced right into hot weather, which usually stops anything larger than a cherry here.
I was disappointed with Tigerella when I grew it years ago. Beautiful to look at, not so good to eat. YMMV.
I'm trying the Chocolate Cherry again this year. I tried them some time back and while I was impressed with the flavor, the yield on mine left something to be desired (namely more fruit!). I think they'll have more sun this year.
Are you buying from TomatoFest? I notice quite a few of your varieties are sold there. I'd be interested to hear your impression of the new varieties you are trying when they start producing.
Drthor, yes, these are the tomatoes I started in my roaster oven. I'm not sure how we'll plant them. We've previously used the trench method on some and also just planted them deeply. Guess we'll decide when it comes time to plant which way we'll do it! The varieties we're growing this year are Homestead 24, Rutgers, Beefsteak (for the hubby), Pantano Romanesco, and Large Red Cherry. They've been setting blooms for a week or so, but I've been clipping them off so they don't spend their energy on the blooms. We'll plant them out in two weeks.
thanks so much for your info.
I am very excited about the new varieties I am trying this year.
I am doing a file with all my observation on my tomatoes this year. My goal is to find the best varieties for my area.
I did order some seeds from Tomato Fest (how cal you resist their website ...)
Both Isis Candy and Jaune Flammee grew fantastic indoor. Wonderful thick stems !
I narrow down the tomatoes that grew so good in the past 5 years in DFW and I also followed the suggestions of DG members and local farmer market dealers (ex. GOLDEN GEM was highly recommended by the guy selling tons of tomatoes at the Coppell FM - he said that Golden Gem was his best yellow cherry tomato. I did follow his suggestion previously with Juliet and he was right).
A few tomato superstars are missing in my harden this year: the never ending producer YELLOW PEAR and SWEET 100, BLACK KRIM (which I substituted with a lot of other black varieties) and no more CELEBRITY for me (no taste = compared to the other delish tomatoes I have discovered).
The weather now is just fantastic. I hope for some rain ... but the worst has passed.
drthor, Juliet and Jaune Flammee' have been great producers for me. In fact JF which I planted in Sept 2012 is still cranking out tomatoes for me now. I harvested some yesterday. One thiing Ive noticed with me and the JF is that because they are orange tomatoes, at first I tended to let them get over ripe. They taste best for me just before they get completely orange. It took a while for me to adjust to their different color.
drthor, I like to have a good strong 60-62 degree soil temp before I plant my pole beans. I then cover the with row cover to keep the soil temp in and keep the crows out. My dogs also will not step on row cover. I'm thinking if I do plant out this weekend I will only plant a few just to get a start as the weather forecast has changed for this area. We were to have a sunny weekend (so I was really expecting the soil temp to be at a solid 62 degrees) and it now looks like rain.
If by long beans you mean yard long beans, I would wait for at least a good 65 degree reading as I've always heard that they need warmer temps.
I think if I can plant, I'm going to try to plant one variety of sweet corn I bought. The description swears that it can be planted out early (60 degrees). I usually wait until I get a good soil temp of 70 degrees. But if the description is going to brag that way, then I'm wanting to try just to see if I can get good, healthy germination at 60 degrees. All my other sweet corn will have to wait.
thanks for the info. I absolutely love tomatoes of all colors. Now I am very excited about this variety.
thanks. Yes I am growing LONG BEANS. I did start them yesterday indoor and some seem they want to germinate already.
I will wait ... maybe at the beginning of April, like I did last year.
You are right those long beans love the 100 F degrees we have in the summer ... seriously ...
Report on BLACK PLUM tomato.
This is the first year growing this variety.
Only ONE seed germinated after 12 days ... the slowest germination ever (all the other varieties germinated max 6 days).
Finally it grew and started to catch up with the other tomatoes.
6 days ago I found the tomato bent in half ... the trunk had a big chewed mark ... maybe 1/2".
I tied the plant and made a bandage with tape !!
Look at that ! This is a survivor!
Planted out a Creole tomato, and some butter beans are coming up seedlings. Dill is coming along. I have a feeling everything in the garden is about to explode now that the temperatures are starting to truly warm up. Cushaw, peppers, and zucchini all coming up at about 4".
Basil bit the dust last weekend in the cold snap, but everything else seems fine. Waiting to see if the Meyer lemon sets as much fruit as I think it will.
Today, I harvested turnips whose tops were infested with aphids. I left a couple plants that weren't bad off. As I took a break, I looked down and saw the top of the bed was teeming with little green aphids moving in on every piece of greenery left on that side of the bed.
I have a stand of beets finishing, and the aphids were making their way over toward my beets. So, I pulled out my new Sprayer and a bottle of Neem Oil, and went to work.
Is there something more I should do at this point, or just be patient and re-apply in 7 days? Or, after the rainstorm we're supposed to have tomorrow...
I need to top this bed off and get it prepped for some spring veggies, but I cant put seedlings in with all those aphids crawling around.
Is that the allowed retreat time? Did you spray the yard and check the trees too? Does soapy water get aphids? it wouldnt hurt anyway...usually its baby ticks i see making the porch crawl. I will check on some more stuff.
Hmmm, aphids dont like garlic and onions, soap an water or water an citrus oil sposed to get em. Darn ants, babysittin em again. Any ornamental trees close? Unless you can add bennies ladybugs and lacewings, neem or soapy water appears to be all that WILL kill them. naturallyish anyway.Seems pesticides dont faze aphids.
Drthor - every time someone says "lasagna garden", I think they mean planting basil, tomatoes, onions, and maybe a cow wandering about. ;)
Confession: this is the first real garden I've had since I was a little gal, so I've been learning everything I can here on DG, and y'all are all so inspiring. I've gotten every Italian seed/plant I can get my hands on!
**2013 Lasagne Bolognese Garden**
Tomatoes of all kinds to see what'll grow and what'll die, including a Costutolo Genovese (I've attached a terrible photo of one of the tomato seedlings) with my Genovese basil and a bunch of other basil seedlings.
I have the "grumolo biando" chicory lettuce we talked about all started in a container, it's going along quite well. Better than the mâche, for sure.
I just mixed a small amount in water and sprayed the plants with it. I think Neem will also work, but the smell of that stuff gives me a terrible headache!
Our Carolina Chickadees love aphids. Last year I watched mamma bird teach her babies how to fiind them on the tomatoe plants. She raised her babies in a nest box that I had placed under the eaves of our porch.
you keep killing aphids the beneficial insects will never come to save your garden.
The reason that your crop is being attack is probably because you did plant it at the wrong time of the year. The plants are done and they got weak and then bugs do attack.
My radishes, kales, collards were attacked one month ago by aphids and that told me that they were done ... so I did remove them . I did enjoy them fall and winter.
Right now you should focus your garden with vegetables that love the heat and forget the greens.
Try to start all your roots and kole crops in August next year and enjoy them in the fall and winter.
You will be successfull with your garden when you will learn the exhact planting dates for each crop in your area ... you will know because no bugs will attack your plants and you will not need to spray at all.
If you have a local farmer market ask the local gardener what and when to plant each crops. I did learn a lot from my local farmers market people.
Nola_Nigella buona fortuna for your new garden. This is my 5th year of vegetable garden ... I grew up as a "city girl" but always enjoy visiting my nonna in campagna ... e mangiare panini con il salame ... I wish she saw me now: with my fingers full of dirt and always in the kitchen ... just like her ...
At the very beginning of my vegetable garden I was trying to plant Italian vegetables that were familiar to me ... but they not all worked. Soon I realized that in the climate I live I need to focus more on heat resistant varieties ... more from India and Thailand. It will take some time to learn what will work for you.
Here I cannot grow squash very well ... but I can grow a lot of other crops ... so no complains for me ...
When I have aphid infestations, I spray a concoction of soap and rubbing alcohol on them. Into your spray bottle, put some soap (I have used Dr. Bronners which smells heavenly or Dove) and about a capful of rubbing alcohol. Does the trick every time! Sometimes, I don't have the time or patience to wait for the beneficial bugs to show up.
In my area by the time the tomatoes are ready the lettuce is done !!
I have a dream to eat a salad with tender lettuce and tomatoes ...
Also, I cannot make salsa either - here Cilantro and Tomatoes don't grow at the same time ... so I make my salsa
with Parsley or Basil ...
You must plant some of those LONG BEANS in your garden. They love the heat !! I bet they'll do great in your zone! http://rareseeds.com/vegetablesa-c/beans/long-beans.html
If south Houston were so lucky as to be ANYTHING like north Dallas Lynda could count on that. Our climate and neighbors the bugs NEVER stop. Like those blasted ants that hide aphid babies away and so they just keep coming. The aphids like everything down here, there is NO plant they will not touch- and there are so many different ones. Do support the neem treats with with soapy water backup
By the way- those Sluggo pellets are spinozad, and tho slo are said to even help with ants - scuse, FIREANTS, control. But do treat the whole area, not just the garden. Usually your neighbors won't be.
I took some pics of the onions I bought at the store and put in water after chopping the tops off to about 1" from the root, and here's a pic of some I transplanted last weekend (you can see where I chopped them off where the white part ends). This is about a week's growth on these. As soon as the roots began to grow out, and the green part was growing out of the white part a quarter inch or so, I transplanted them into soil I had sterilized from the garden. The onions love the soil, apparently, but the lettuce doesn't look as happy as it was in just the water. I think I'll keep the lettuce in the water from now on, or in perlite/vermiculite mix. I can't wait to do carrots and celery! 'Course I have no idea what strains of veggies they are, but I didn't see wasting them if I could regrow them. The chicken wire-surrounded pot is the Hass that froze, in the center, above are the three avocados that I planted from saved seeds from the grocery store avocados, and the cups hold the new starts of Yellow Brandywine I sprouted in the oven, and the medium pot has a couple of Amish Paste tomatoes in it. The Hass doesn't seem to mind all these new friends sharing its space. This pot is setting in the area that will be turned into an indoor greenhouse, just off the radio studio. Hope I can see it all done by next weekend (I'm sure getting tired of stepping over 2x4's stacked down the hall). :) The last pic shows a pineapple (yes, from the grocery store) bouncing back from the freeze (and cat chews) in front of the Cold Hardy avocado tree. I leave the old leaves to provide nourishment for the new stems coming on. Another shot of the indoor greenhouse area. (Bad framing, everything's crooked in that last one. my bad.)
Well said Kat. Can't paint with a broad brush when it comes to growing conditions. Even tho both places are in TX, Tx is a huge state. Besides how do the pest find the supposedly weak plants, the pests have to be there in the first place. Spider Mites are my # 1 enemy and for others it's White Flies. My experience,after gardening in the same location for 20 yrs is that if you ignore the issue it only gets worse. I can say I have lost seedlings to pill bugs but not cutworms. I'm not even going to mention SVB...
I noticed when I first moved to Houston in 1984, mine was a new house on a new lot, and everything I planted the first season was eaten. However, I put in a tiny pond made from a palm pot, and I had brought all my pot plants from living in an apt which I placed on the patio, not on the ground. The following year, I had lots of frogs and toads, lizards, skinks and anoles and little snakes and mocking birds and blue jays. I surmised that at first there was no reason for the beneficial fauna to show up there. It had been an empty lot for years before and it just took them awhile to find me. Unfortunately, the lot came furnished with fire ants which I am able to persuade to move to another location but not far enough away! I credit the milkweed for bringing all the Lady Bugs that are everywhere now. Those giant aphids on the milkweed are Lady Bug feasts. I had assasin bugs last year but have not seen any recently. 'Never seen a Lacewing or a Mantis around here.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I checked yesterday after the rainstorm, and no evidence of the "teeming" aphids, except for a couple clinging to a lone turnip plant. Can't say for sure the rest just took cover underground and are waiting for another opportunity, but, at least I don't see them all over the soil. I'll handle those few I do see when I spray again this evening.
Regarding planting schedules, I've been reading diligently for the past two years about when to plant what, here in Houston. I'm not the best with certain scheduling activities, so it took some first-hand experience (and trial and error) for me to catch on. I can now grow my fall/winter veggies in my sleep (I start all of my seeds in August...)
Now, I've moved on to the warm weather crops, learning what and when...
Most of the articles I've read, and the presenters from the two local gardening classes I recently attended, say there are roughly 285 growing days in Houston. My goal is to have something growing as many of these days as possible, using succession planting. This is why I still have beets, turnips, mustards & collard greens growing. I have enough shady areas with cool breezes in my garden microclimate to accommodate these veggies, so, for me, there's no reason not to have them growing, now...I've also been reading up on how to utilize different types of hoop covers to achieve desired outcomes, and see how I can extend my growing seasons on both ends.
After assessing my aphid situation, I see how I possibly contributed to the infestation by 1) not thinning out the bed (plants a bit too close -- lesson learned), and 2) by not beginning a spraying regiment early on (albeit with friendly fire...)
It's not my intent to harm my bennies, and I would rather work with natural pest control cycles in the garden. I had a wonderful herd of Assassin bugs last fall. Didn't have a single bug climbing up any of my plants. They didn't even make it up an eBucket! Unfortunately, I discovered too late that they had set up shop in the Milkweed border around the perimeter of my yard, and I didn't know the plant was the attraction. Needless to say, I am now trying to get the Milkweed to grow back, LOL!
In any case, the Neem gave me a head start, and doesn't seem to have affected my pillbugs in any good way (they eat my leaves...), but, I know that even they serve a function in the garden. Thanks for the soapy water and Murphy's Oil Soap concoction, too. I would much rather use a Q-tip than break out the A-Bombs to control the pests in the garden. I gotta EAT those veggies, LOL!
P.S. Saturday, my neighbor gave me a HUGE bag of the most beautiful collard greens I have ever seen! We couldn't remember if they were from my seedlings or a couple plants she had bought, but, no matter. And, yesterday, I cooked up a wonderful mess of beet greens that I shared with her over dinner. She'd never had them before, and loved them.
That's what I call "share" cropping at its best!!
P.S.S. Here are some pictorial updates!
#1 Bell Pepper Blooms
#2 Broccoli Seedlings from Marty
#3 Bell Pepper Canopy
Gymgirl, I have never seen aphids on the ground- that's strange.
BTW, is is too late for me to sow some of the red mustard seeds you sent me? I forgot about them until now. Tell me about them-how tall will they be? and how will I be harvesting-single leaves or heads? I've never grown mustard, but you convinced me that it is good!
I fell 3 days and fractured my poor tailbone and my left foot, so I am down a little, but not totally-
The OPM really likes cooler temps, as do most of the brassicas. If you still have some cold to cool weather ahead, go ahead and sow the seeds!
Mine grew in a 24" planter, and at its tallest was around 18-22" tall. It looks beautiful in the sunshine, as long as the ambient temp is cool/cold enough, otherwise it will begin to wilt, and will bolt at the first sign of sunny, temperate, springtime temps (say above 75°).
I harvested the outer leaves. This allowed the plant to keep growing from the center...
When it does bolt, let it go to flower. The bees will come -- good for the garden. Let any remaining pods dry out, and, when thoroughly dry, thresh the plant in a large garbage bag to release the seeds. Tah Dah!
Then you can send me some seeds when I run out, LOL!
Gymgirl - Sluggo Plus kills pillbugs, slugs, snails, and earwigs.
I'm glad the Neem killed the aphids for you. Unfortunately, you cannot take a preemptive strike against them. They breathe through their "skin" so must be soaked with an oily or soapy substance to kill them.
Ohhhh, JoParrott! Not the tailbone =(. My brother broke his tailbone while on guard duty when he first joined the navy. Said it was so very painful and he got no sympathy from his buddies either. He'd had broken bones before (a dare devil as a child) but this hurt more than any of the others.
Thanks everyone for the well wishes- I am not at all good at being a patient! Got too much to do. Hubby has a walker that I am using-he has to use a motorized scooter, so the house is kinda crowded with wheels right now! I just keep looking at all my seedling babies growing and it makes me feel better.
[quote="JoParrott"]I fell 3 days and fractured my poor tailbone and my left foot, so I am down a little, but not totally- [/quote]
Ow! Ow, ow, ow... I landed on my tailbone (from a bouncing station wagon to a railroad track) when I was about 12, and at 63 I still remember. Hope you heal quickly!
Oh Jo I'm soooo sorry to hear that. I broke my tailbone about 25yrs ago and it was extremely painful, I still remember that. Also no position is comfortable, you can't even sit down. Hope you feel better soon.
Just for the record, as far as I know all bugs breath thru their skin. Whether you chose to use an Organic, synthetic or homemade insecticide it will kill the goodies and the badies. I just looked up my pest info that I got from the extension agency and I didn't realize how many types of Aphids there are, one type can produce 45 generations a year. Aphids also carry and pass along diseases so the best thing to do is start treatment as soon as you notice them. But even deciding that you can live with a few of them can put your plants in danger of the initial damage they do and the diseases that they carry.
There are always more that you don't see. It's strange the only time I can remember seeing aphids is when I grew roses.
I really appreciate your words of encouragement- I can't handle not being active, and I'm trying to find chores that are not strenuous. I'm so glad I have been staying up with my garden work all winter- when the time comes to plant I should be able to handle it in spite of my injury. My baby plants are such therapy- people who don't garden can't understand how healing it is to grow things! Thanks again, everyone- you are all treasures, and I love you all!
Jo, you poor doll. Heal up fast! I broke my tailbone snowboarding and it isn't very fun. Get yourself a donut pillow - I used the kids' pool noodles to stretch my arms with, too.
More tomatoes all the time, and at drthor's suggestion, starting up some long beans. :) A friend of mine Uptown has offered to "annex" his garden to me, so I'll have a whole 'nother microclimate-y garden to tend to!
I am hardening off 2/3 of my cucumbers (the older ones).
Some of the plants are making flowers and some have little baby cucumbers.
Planting dates (fruit days): all day Friday and a few hours on Saturday.
The cages are already set-up. I plan to wrap around them the perforated plastic cover to protect the cukes from the string winds.
Thank you for the beautiful pictures, Dr. Thor, and others here, because it's so encouraging for us high altitude gardeners- makes me want to garden even harder, lol. I have started some tomatoes and have two trays of assorted seed planted in three mediums, for experimentation, perlite/vermiculite, perlite/vermiculite/garden soil, and garden soil and cinnamon. They haven't come up, yet, but what's planted:
Amish Paste heirloom tomato
Yellow Brandywine heirloom tomato
Black Beauty squash
Listadia de Gandia Eggplant
Kentucky Wonder bean
Grandpa Admire's heirloom lettuce
Winter Density (Craquerelle du Midi) lettuce
Romano pole bean
Solace - I would be very cautious about using soil from your garden as a growing medium when starting seeds indoors. Even when mixed with other ingredients.
The problem is not with the soil itself, but with the bugs in the soil. Once they get into an indoor setting, and have no preditors to control them, they are almost impossible to get rid of. There will also be pathogens in garden soil that may, or may not be a problem in and indoor setting.
If you are prepared to pasteurize the garden soil first, you may not have problems.
Thank you, Honeybee. I did try to sterilize the soil in the roaster oven at 180 degrees for three hours (I think), but not sure if that's good enough. I will try the mircrowave, too. Problem with it is if you overheat it, it can cause organic material to become pathogenic. That's my understanding, so I don't want to overheat. We have very sandy soil here.
- the four carrots on the right have been planted during a "ROOT" day (from M. Thun bio-dynamic calendar). You can see how straight they are.
- the first three carrots on the left have been panted on a "FLOWER" day. They are all twisted and curved.
This is a little experiment I did this year to show my DH that bio-dynamic calendar is not "magic" it is true.
Either that, or there's a buried box of gold in your garden bed you didn't know about- notice the angles of the carrots. ;) Your garden is so lovely. At this point my seeds are 4 days, some planted yesterday, and nary a leaf popping out. Sigh. The store-bought onions are going to town, though.
my GOLD in my garden is that I have been following the Bio-dynamic calendar of Maria Thun for 4 years now. It might be magic, but I am a believer.
One year the calendar was showing pictures of vegetable started on wrong dates ... This year I decided to try and see if it was true ...and I got funny looking carrots ...
Carrots will take forever to germinate and to grow ... be patience.
We have Broccoli LIFT OFF!! So excited... :) Also two types of lettuce are up. I was watching to see which mix germinated first, but it looks like the perlite/vermiculite mix and the perlite/vermiculite/garden soil mix are running neck and neck. It took four days. Still awaiting lift off of the other things. I am encouraged. These are last years seeds I didn't plant (I'm such a miser, always saving some back, just in case).
Hmmm, I didn't notice that, in my excitement, lol. How about that? I see that. Interested, now, in how they each progress in size. I'll start giving them a very weak solution of the hydroponic liquid fertilizer soon. Right now they're just getting well water, dripped gently from a 2 liter recycled soda bottle. I hold my fingers at the ends so the water drips gently onto them, as these mixes are so much lighter...course I did the same last spring when I was using potting soil and Happy Frog in cups and egg cartons. I have to water more often than I did with the potting soil, but I think it will be worth it. I water every five or six hours, depending on how damp the mixes feel. The soil mix takes less water.
There's a third tray out of the shot, plus two more containers full of cups I planted yesterday. Experts say that a greenhouse extends your season two months, so I'm hoping to get some things planted in the greenhouse by the last of April (last frost here is June 15). I planted a bunch of different kinds of corn, except the Bantam...I ran out of cups. Argh. I don't have labels, so I cut up a gallon milk carton into strips. Ran out of those, so began using the back of plastic spoons - and they worked out pretty good!
May tomato seedlings are getting their true leaves right now. The cotyledons should be dropping soon. I feel like I should notify the Tooth Fairy! The eggplant and peppers are starting to come up in another tray, so we are off and running for summer. I did plant out a few pole beans last Saturday and I lifted up the Romex to check last night. It look like all is well and a couple are starting to germinate. The local weatherman is alleging that we might be up near 80 degrees this weekend. The rest of the pole beans will got in Sat or Sun. That will probably change by Friday. Supposed to go watch the Dallas Stars and the Hawks play on Saturday, so I hope Sunday is nice. Time to mow the lawn!
drthor - love seeing your lettuce - watching the white disappear fast here today, already up to 60°F outside.
First picture - my indoor seedlings
Second picture - more seedlings
Third picture - pushing the season outdoors - 2 ruby lettuce and 10 space hybrid spinach plants were started indoors and planted under plastic before last weekend's snow.