Calling all "judges" for the annual DG County Fair! Vote for your favorites here!
Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Russ, how do I know when it is time to pick the melon? I don't think it is going to get any bigger. Will it get yellow? On the vine? Or will I have to pick it and have it ripen on the kitchen counter like pears do?

I think I have stopped the squirrel with the bird netting. I think it is afraid it will get tangled up in it. Good. I didn't think anything would work on that little critter.

I hope you all can find this forum now. I posted on the end of part 16 I think it was. The last one that Kent started.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

I don't have a real good answer for you on that. I usually watch for the stem to start showing signs of turning lighter green or yellowing. Also the melon should just pop off the vine with the slightest pressure. I also sometimes give the blossom end a slight thumb pressure that will be the softest place if it is ripe.
Well I just got done with another 8 pts. of salsa. That is what I'm using the San Marzano tomatoes for.
I am also saving some more seeds, one of the tomato plants I got was called ( Italian tomato tree) They are so big, I just set the stem end down, and slice it from side to side, then cut the stem part out of the 2 or 3 center slices. One tomato is a meal in it's self, for two. and they have very few seeds. I don't know if they will come back true. but it is worth a try. All the maters are coming on now. That is with the exception of some that Garrett sent for and then gave them to me to plant. They came really late for here. and they are a late tomato as well.
They do have large green maters on, so they will get some. He is getting some from his small bale garden. but he could have planted a couple more tomatoes. Oh well! Guess he knew I would share anyway.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

You know, I keep hearing how the tomatoes are really big. I have some that are big also. BUT, what about flavor? That is what I want. Let me know what you have that actually tastes good. Send me some seeds of those. I am going to send for some next year simply because I am afraid of getting genetically engineered tomatoes and ending up with none!!

Wouldn't that be awful???

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

So far The best tasting large tomato I have is one called " Italian tree tomato" It didn't grow like a tree. I had it caged. but the shear weight above the gage toppled it. I now have a steel post holding the cage up. but I am not sure if I can bring the rest of the plant up and tie it to something taller. I don't want to break off a branch full of tomatoes.
They are nearly seedless. I am saving some seeds. I haven't gone into the tomato forum to see if I can find out if it is an heirloom or a hybrid.
The Box car Willie Is huge but does not have the flavor. Seems to be a slow producer as well. But then I haven't fertilized it either.
I have way more tomatoes than I need. But I had all these different varieties and just had to plant them. Oh well Gary can serve tomatoes at the resturant.
Went to town today Barb had a Dr. appointment. I was able to get in at the same time. However The trip brought me more trouble. I had a brake start grinding. so while in town I visited the parts store and got a set of brake pads. Now I just have to go out and jack of the car and get busy on that job. Luckiley it is not roasting hot today. So everything should go ok. Unless the roter is messed up. and that would mean a little more work. But I can't drive it like that so, get off my butt and get it done.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Russ, it could have been worse. Could have waited until winter to happen.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

I don't even want to think of that. But it didn't take very long. $29. for the brake pads, and I even changed the oil. as we want to use the car to make the trip to pick up another daughter. You know, sisters want to confer. She is flying in from Ohio. She is a little more upset than Connie who has the blocked artery. But I'm all for her coming. They need to talk things out.
I picked a whole bunch of tomatoes, mostly San marzano. Gave them to Gary as he wanted to make some salsa. I don't think he was ready yet. But I either had to do some canning or give them away. I gave one of our shut-ins some too. One of which was some where around 3 and 1/2 lb Was she ever surprised, at the size. I didn't weigh it so I'm guessing. I had to take her picture with the tomato. I will have to post it later as I didn't get it loaded where I wanted it. I don't like my photo program! When Sandi gets here" the daughter in Ohio" I'm going to beg her help. Maybe just maybe I'll be able to get them to load where I can find them with the browse button, on DG. It has other problems too.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

So Russ, all this conferring business, is this about Barb? If so, is she in on it? Hope so. How many children do you have? A very good support system for both you and Barb.

3 1/2 lbs. is a VERY big tomato.

Donna, are you on yet? If you aren't on tomorrow I will have Terry find you and get you on.

Jeanette

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

I have TWO melons. Just found them today for the first time. Soooo exciting.

gwen

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

No Jeanette this is about our youngest daughter. she is the one with the blockage. Barb and I are giving her all the support we can. Her next older sister wants to see her before anything else happens. and of course sisters want a girl talk time together too. As well as Talking about the possible operation for " Connie" Our youngest daughter.and of course, about the possible outcome.
We have three Daughters. Our oldest and the youngest are within 14 miles of us. Our middle girl and hubby are in Ohio. We have 9 grand children and 14 great grand children. soon to be bumped up to 16.
The only conspering behind our backs is only when they were little. and they would try playing the trick of getting one of us to say it was ok, to stay overnight with one of their frinds, or something. LOL

Tonasket, WA(Zone 5a)

Jeanette, thanks, think I am okay with new way to get to Straw Bale gardening now. Must go outside soon as another hot day in the offing. Was 93 degrees here yesterday and windy, now quite smoky outside.

Donna

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Russ, I sure hope your girls come out of all of this ok. I know how girls are. There were 5 of us girls in my family. We are still all living, and most of us get along ok but for a couple.

Donna!! You made it. I am glad you got straightened out ok. Yes, we are back in the 90s also. Where are you getting the smoke from? I hope your area is not still burning.

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

Hi Everyone,

I hope no one minds me butting in, I have been lurking on the strawbale threads for a while, gradually reading through all the posts from the beginning. I have a solution for Russ's problem with the photos - I don't like my camera's software much either, by the way!

This is what I do to make posting photos easier. I have a folder permanently on my desktop called (very imaginatively) PHOTOS. With both the photo software and the folder open I can drag and drop the photos I want to post into the folder. I set the folder view to Thumbnails so I can see the photos. Once I am in DG and posting I can browse to the folder, open it, and see the names of all the photos They are always something descriptively useless, like "100_2435.jpg" but, with the folder open on the desktop to the thumbnails at the same time, it is very quick and easy to see which is the right photo for the post you are making. I hope this helps, Kaelkitty.

While I am here, do you have any Australian Strawbale gardeners? I am having trouble finding a source for the bales at present. I would also like to know if Lucerne hay is better or worse for the process.

Thankyou, Kaelkitty.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

kaelkitty If you drag the photos to the Email. Is only that one visible?
If I click on a photo and say yes to Email you can open every photo that ever came in through an Email or Whatever was in a file even the samples. And I only wanted to send one single photo. I'm not sure that I was able to click and drag one to an E m. But will try.
The other problem I have been having is that I can only find 3 maybe 4 folders When I go to browse on DG. Maybe if I can get them to all go to one folder, it may work on DG. I'm not to sure on Emails though. I'm about ready to delete that program and try another.
I am not familiar with lucerne hay, I think the main difference that I have heard. Hay bales may have some weed seeds sprout. If you can get the hay bales to start to (rot) or cook. and can keep them moist, They should work.
This was my first year. I made a few mistakes. But I found that when the tomatoes finally did start getting a good set of roots the really took off. I may have had too much nitrogen, or not the right fertilizer.
After the bales were almost falling apart is when they really took off.
I would think that even if you had every bit of information possible. there is still room for human error.
I used two rows of bales and had them too close together. I have a little trouble walking between the two rows. Then I missed tieing some of the vines and they fell down and filled the area between the rows. I'll put up with it this year. but next year I'll make sure I have enough ties, and keep after them. I also used cattle panels. Next year I will put them with the smaller squares up so I can reach through the lower part to get at the tomatoes from either side. Or else prune them heavily untill they get tall enough to where they won't have any maters down that low.
Thanks for the tips on the photo program I will work on it, see if I can get to work that way.
Russ

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

Hi Russ,
I've just seen your reply, If drag n' drop isn't working for you, try right clicking to get the menu bar, go down to "Save Image As.." to save just the one image as a new file and you should be able to put the new file onto your desktop, or wherever else you want it to go. As a bonus, if you make a new copy of the photo, you can call it something recognisable, like "Giant Tomato.jpg" LOL!

I've had a fairly steep learning curve with my computer over the last two years or so, especially since I got my digital camera (2,922 photos and counting1) I came late to Windows after working in a text based DOS environment for 20 years and sometimes I could just scream at the hoops you have to jump through to get where you want to go! One thing I have, hopefully finally, pounded into my own head is the way in which you can use the desktop to hold temporary COPIES of files which you can work with and then throw in the trash bin when you are done. That way, if you stuff up, your original files are still in their original locations and you can always start again if things go wrong. Don't forget to empty the trash though! a full trash bin can really slow down your system.

Let me know how you get on, Kaelkitty.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Kaelkitty, You caught me didn't you!! Not emptying my trash bin. Thanks for the reminder and also thanks for the info on the photos. I do use the desktop a lot to hold photos and a lot of stuff temporarily.

Nice to hear from someone out There. Never heard of Lucerne, but Russ is probably right.

Jeanette

Adelaide, Australia(Zone 10a)

What is Lucerne?

Lucerne (Medicago Sativa) or Alfalfa is a green leafy crop similar to clover. It is very high in nutrients and is well noted for its:

* high fibre content
* high protein content
* high mineral content
* high vitamin content
* high digestibility
* good energy

Since it is a legume, as opposed to a grass, it contains lots of nitrogen. It is usually fed to horses. I am wondering if the extra Nitrogen would be beneficial for green leafy vegetables like lettuces and cabbages. Thanks, Kaelkitty.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

OK Kaelkitty,

We know it as Alfalfa rather than Lucerne. There are people on here that have used "hay", which some, have a lot of alfalfa in it. You could do a search, upper left corner, for alfalfa and get the information you want.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Jeanette
I was thinking there has to be some information as to when to pick melons. This is what I come across. Hope it is helpful

Fertile soils usually grow a fine crop of muskmelons with normal maintenance-fertilizer application plus one side-dress application of high-nitrogen fertilizer when the plants begin to vine. Muskmelons benefit especially from the incorporation of well-rotted manure before planting and also appreciate high potassium. All melons respond favorably to mulching with black plastic, especially early in the season. The mulch can be installed when the soil is in good planting condition anytime from a few days to 2 or 3 weeks before planting. Make holes every 2 or 3 feet to plant seed or transplants through the plastic. Use starter fertilizer to help transplants get established. Floating row covers also can be used to advantage over early season melon transplants. These covers exclude the worst of the cold and also early season insect invaders. Covers need not be removed until plants start to flower unless extremely hot weather threatens.

Muskmelons suffer from extremes in soil moisture (too much rain or an extended drought). Irrigation is recommended in case of drought, especially when the vines are growing and the fruits are developing. Trickle irrigation systems used with black plastic mulch work extremely well. Muskmelons ripen to the highest quality when the vines remain healthy throughout the harvest period, when temperatures are warm but not excessively high and when the weather is comparatively dry at the time of maturity.



Good eating quality depends upon the texture of the melons and the development of sugars from proper ripening on the vines. When muskmelons are ripe, the rind changes from a green to tan or yellow between the netting. They should be picked when the stem separates easily from the vine near the point of attachment ("half-slip" or "full-slip" stages of development). At these stages, there will be a crack near the point of attachment. Do not pick too early because the quality will not be as high as that of vine-ripened melons; sugars continue to be stored in the developing melons up to the moment the stem separates. Once picked, muskmelons soften but do not sweeten further.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Russ, that is good. Thanks. I am going to copy it to my files for next year. Yes, I am going to try again next year. I will keep the seeds from this melon. You are welcome to some if you want to try them. I don't know why they wouldn't grow good if you are in an area where squash etc. grow good. I don't know about those here.

Will try anyway. Thanks again. Say Hi to Barb for me. How is she doing? And the daughters? Are they like a bunch of hens clucking as my mom used to say? Having a good con-fab I'll bet.

Jeanette

.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Well, I'm chuckling but the hen party don't start until the 17th but that is ok. Right now it is her close friends giving her support and courage, and of course us. but her sister will be like the icing on a cake. Although I know her sister will first have to grasp everything that Connie has been going through. She knows some of it, but there will be some catching up first.
Right now Barb has caught a cold. So to say the least she feels miserable. But I did tell her you said hi. She just wants to be over the cold. We think that it came from the school that Tami ( Gary's wife) teaches at. as their little one that we all love got it along with Grandpa and grandma and the lady that helps out with the restaurant as well as diaper changes. And a few others that pick the little one up and, in general dott over her. She turned 1 in July. and has a smile for everyone. I guess this is as close to a village raising a child as it gets. She makes the rounds of all the regular customers. We don't understand all she is trying to say but she talks up a storm.

I think I will try those seeds again. I asked for some seeds of a melon from the restaurant, I don't know the name of it but it is like a honey dew but only sweeter and it is shaped like a football. It is probably a hybrid, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'll send you some of them so you can give it a go round too. That is in addition to the tomato seeds.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Russ, Barb should not be around kids. I know it is tough not to, but they are the absolute dirtiest little critters on this earth.

I will be sure to send you some. That is if the melon makes it to ripe.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Yup kids are absolutely dirty little critters- - - - It's a wonder we made it to the adult stage. lol. Not too long ago I sat in our recliner, sick with flu. with our little great granddaughter who had an intestinal infection. with her head on my shoulder. That was the only way she would sleep. We had to spoon feed her nothing but water and only a tsp at a time for about three days. Needless to say it was started from a cold or flu brought home from her mom or dad from work. It went through the whole house hold. Well it's been around a year by now. but I guess I would do it again, even though it is hard on us old folks. I think Barb is feeling a bit better, at least she is up and reading with her klenex by her side.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Wait until those grandkids start school!! That is when they bring everything home and it keeps going round and round the household.

Well, guess we should get back on topic or we get people mad. I am getting so many tomatoes now that I am going to have to make salsa. More salsa I should say. Right now I am making Jalapena Jam. It is wonderful on pork steak.

I think what I don't like about the forum concept is that we are going to catch heck for discussing other things. Like we have been.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

I just come back in with a small basket of maters, 20 to be exact.. Most of them off the big beef plant. Guess I better do some up as well, huh.
Gary uses the skin and all for salsa. I have always blanched and peeled them. Which way do you make salsa? I know I throw a lot away, that way but it does go in the compost.
Think I will try this batch with skins on.

This message was edited Sep 3, 2007 3:23 PM

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Gary probably uses his as a fresh salsa which would be the way to go if you were going to use it a lot. I'll bet he doesn't can his.

No, I peeled mine too but it does not give you a chunky salsa like I like.

You better watch out what you are throwing in that compost pile. You are going to get a lot of volunteers. LOL

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

I am hoping to clean out the compost bin this month yet. and mix it with the load of grass clippings I brought home The other day. Spread it all out, till it under and cover the whole area with black plastic. That should finish the cooking process and kill those seeds. but if it don't they will be easy to pull. By the way I have gotten two maters off that one that was voluntier this year, so it wasn't too bad for leaving it grow. It has more on it so a little more time and I may get more. Oh almost forgot I get all of Garys bales at the end of this season. Should make more good compost. It is only 6 bales, but add that to the fifteen I have that should cover a good area with rotted straw. I am thinking that i could mix it up a little for an area that I have made for a shade garden. A little off the subject but probably a good use for the shade garden.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Sounds good to me. Russ, if I send you my bales will you compost them and send them back all finished? LOL

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

Barb says you pay the postage LOL

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL, There's nothing wrong with that lady. She is thinking clearly.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

There are some seeds on their way. Start them about 6 wks before last frost.
I done a little searching and found that, "The Tomato Patch" has most of the seeds, of the plants I have. I found my way there by googling in heirloom tomatoes. I thought I would try the seeds I saved, as well as whatever I happen to get at the IARU next spring. I am relatively certain that the maters I have, had a big chance of cross pollinating. But I'm still going to try them. However I am going to make some heavy duty stakes for them. Will also have more space between them. They will be a full 6 feet tall and have some extra width as well. Have to play with that thought for a while. lol
Russ

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Thanks Russ, I wish spring would hurry up and get here so I can try them. Here yesterday I said I was tired of taking care of plants and I am wishing for spring already. LOL Have a good one. Say Hi to Barb for me.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

LOL;
Barb chuckling says Hi !

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

The nights are getting down to 34 here so fall is in the air. But, the weather is gorgeous. The tomatoes are still hanging in there. Ripening faster than ever tho. They know it is time to finish up. Canned Roasted Red pepper jam, (first time, and no different than the Jalapeno Jam), Salsa, and tomato sauce over the weekend. Also I won't do the Red Pepper again unless I just happen upon some cheap ones. I don't have a long enough season to grow them and they are expensive. The Jalapeno Jam is much cheaper and uses zuchinni instead of so many peppers.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

They are saying that some areas here may get frost tonight too.
Not that I don't believe them but I am not going to go out and cover all my tomatoes. Some will survive.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Aw c'mon - you guys are just teasing us Arizonan's who are still stuck in triple digit temps. 107 today and that's the forecast for the next 7 days as well. We're sizzling here, just listening to talk of a frost is just too cruel. [sob, sob - Mary - wringing her hankie.....]

This message was edited Sep 11, 2007 3:43 PM

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

I will huff and puff untill it blows down your way. LOL
A local radio station had a Game this year that they didn't have to pay out on. The game was " guess the first day the temp reaches 100, and win a free swimming pool. We did get up to 99 F.
I was In Phoenix in 81. Crossed the Salt river bed twice daily. This was in July. I related that blast of hot air to going past a blast furnace.
But otherwise I enjoyed my stay there. with the exception of trying to find a place close enough to go fishing. lol ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Russ

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Well, Mary, we are still in the high 70s and low to mid 80s during the day, but it does get down there at night. Yup, the days are beautiful. I don't mind the nights being cold if it just didn't damage the plants. But, your nice weather is about to start pretty soon, I see the RVs starting to head south.

Jeanette

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Yes Jeanette, couple more weeks should bring us back to Why We Live In Arizona weather. Everyone is more than ready. And Russ, the blast furnace is apt for June and July, Aug and Sept we get humidity, but no rain. Soon come, it will be nice again.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I'm about to pick that melon Russ. Wouldn't you know it, another plant has one growing fast but it will never catch up. My one bean plant is really pushing those beans to get big. LOL

Had 4 mule deer off the living room deck this morning and a little black bear ran across in front of us on the way home from town a few minutes ago. Real cute, but I sure hate to see them down here so early. Must really be dry up there.

Jeanette

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

We don't have very many Mule deer, Mostly Whitetail. There is an area within thirteen miles of here, that sometimes you need to stop the car and wait for them to get done crossing the hyway. There is over 100 in that bunch. And dispite the hunters seting up stands and and going hunting in groups, they really haven't dimished the herd that much.
We hope that melon is good, as it sure was a little hard to get it going. All my muskmelons are all gone now but I have 4 watermelons left.
I still have a quite a few tomatoes coming on yet. Then the ones Gary gave me are starting now too. Most of those are a hybrid, large yellow maters. Actually sort of a mottled red yellow and purple. Since I have given him 2 buckets of tomatoes for puting up salsa. I am going to try making some yellow tomato salsa. I know I'll have to use it up first and fast. Unless I can find a canning procedure, for yellow tomatoes!
Wow there must be a lot of pollin on the grass now. I haven't in from mowing very long but still sneezing and kind of congested. Don't usually bother me but this time, oh well !
~~~~~~~~Russ

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.
BACK TO TOP