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Chris Hennes

Gardening: 2012 Season

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many tomatoes are hybrids, with added resistance to Tobacco mosaic etc

the seeds from these tomatoes will not have anywhere near the characteristics of the parent. Unless they are true strain heirlooms, compost them. Try one or two if you have the room and see what happens.

Most of the ones I grew last year were true heirlooms (Brandywines and Flamme) but there was a Green Zebra as well.

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well then based on how much room you have, keep a few strategic ones. Mostly for fun.

I used to save seems from heirlooms for replanting. It was fun. You have to ferment off the slime before you dry and keep them!

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Last year I did my first solo gardening attempt and wouldn't you know I picked one of the hottest years on record right at the epicenter of the drought (we were living just East of Austin, smoke from the Bastrop fires was visible from our house). The result was a lot of learning how not to do things, and not a lot to eat. Well in the meantime we have moved north of Dallas, and so I had a fresh opportunity to incorporate lessons learned.

Getting started on 1/21/12:

418176_10101729886999464_8309198_79398674_461272015_n.jpg

Boxes completed and partially planted with some greens and root things on 2/27/12:

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All tomatoes and most of the peppers in by 3/13:

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And this is from yesterday, 4/24. Runner beans, squash, pickling cukes in the foreground, tomatoes and peppers visible in the back box:

292271_10101968887595354_8309198_80505809_1918719005_n.jpg

And the old garden? Well since we moved the week before Christmas, there has been a significant increase in rain over most of the state. When I returned to do some work for the new renters on March 19th, I was able to harvest the following:

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The collards, cauliflower, and broccoli had all bolted, and the folks that live there now don't appear to have even walked out there to look, because it's not that hard to figure out which one is broccoli. Sad to see the waste, but it did make me feel vindicated that I sort of knew what I was doing after all.


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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And yesterday we had snow...


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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And yesterday we had snow...

Just think though, around the time you're in the middle of peak harvest time, most of the gardens down here will have burned up and be infested with insects. Except, usually, the okra.

Texas does have its moment though, even up here. My dad's garden near Houston has been giving red tomatoes for at least a week now--I'm probably still 10 days from that point.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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So I finally got around to taking pics of my urban garden.. very small, but considering there's only 2 of us, it works out well - plus part of it is still in progress.. the nice thing about doing things indoors is that you can continue to start and plant things all year long...

IMG_3442.JPG

This is a Paul Robeson heirloom tomato - it's about 2-3 weeks old. Got the start from Laurel's. This weekend, I'm going to attach a string to the ceiling and train it up the string as support. It should produce about 5-6 tomatoes a week for the next 8-10 months.

IMG_3443.JPG

Dwarf lime tree - probably about 7 years old - bears standard sized limes. It was having root rot problems for a while until I discovered the miracle of Hygrozyme, and now it's much better and it's the first time I'm letting it fruit in about a year.

IMG_3444.JPG

L-R: Rouge Grenobloise Batavian lettuce - I actually harvested half of the head last Monday, and it's basically grown back to full size since then; Basil; Thai basil. On the way (not pictured) is rosemary, french thyme, fl parsely, more lettuce, tarragon, cilantro, etc... In the past, in this setup, I grew Gailan, bok choi, arugula and some oddities like chocolate mint, variegated lemon geranium, coconut geranium, and lime thyme. Mint is a bad idea in this setup because the roots wind up taking over the whole trough.

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I absolutely love that you are attempting this and being successful. I advocate alternative gardening ideas to many and will use you as an example. I also love Laurel's tomatoes - I propagated from seed some of last years Berkeley Tie Dye in our green house and am about to set them out. Will be visiting her when she is open as I am minutes away.

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Last year I grew a Goose Creek tomato plant in the spot where the Robeson is now. Those were probably the best tomatoes I've ever had, but sadly they were unavailable this year, and unfortunately I didn't save any of the seeds. The GK was a good learning experience - once the plant got to be about 5 feet tall (up to the ceiling) I had the great idea to top it so it would stop growing..... Hmmffff it had other ideas and turned into a giant bush with tomatoes lurking everywhere. It took over the entire corner of the apartment and threatened to take over the whole thing until it roots grew into the nutrient fluid fill hole completely clogging it. One day I came home from work to a flood of about 15 gallons of nutrient liquid on the floor! It looked like a small pond in the middle of my living room. Suffice it to say Ihad no choice but to kill the plant to find and eventually fix the problem. Now, a few modifications to the system later and hopefully I won't have that experience again. So yes, it can definitely be a challenge, but it's lots of fun!

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In coastal Los Angeles, my Beefmaster tomato plant (one of which was ultimately a *roaring* success last year, 'though scarily slow to set fruit) already has 4 itty-bitty baby tomatoes on it !!!! And lots of blooms. YAY. Nothing on the other two (Marvel Stripe and a Big Cherry) yet, but it's still way early. Tomatoes comin' soon.....yum !


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Ate the first padron peppers yesterday, blistered in olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. This is why I garden.

Sighted the first haricot vert today. Life is good.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Part of the reason I haven't been on for quite a while is that I've been playing in the dirt! I had 4 3x3 garden beds built for my bitty tiny yard, and between that and a 20x20 space I'm renting from a farmer about 5 min from my house I should have a ton of produce this summer. Right now I've got two kinds of oregano, regular thyme, lemon thyme, summer savory, three BIG parsley plants, tarragon, rosemary, stevia, sugar peas, three kinds of strawberries (two june bearing and one overbearing), Paris Market carrots, blueberry bushes, huckleberry bushes, garlic chives, regular chives, society garlic, peas, kentucky wonder beans (damn slugs are eating the hell out of them though, really need to put up the copper tape I bought) and four kinds of lettuce. I have starts that I've grown from seed for 7 varieties of tomatoes, and I bought starts for 13 more varieties. I also have a bunch of basil starts almost ready to put out in the garden, and some swiss chard that was hanging out from last fall. I can't wait til things really get going!


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I envy all of you with those huge gardens... I wish i don't live in apartment. Best thing about your own garden is what you eat is what you sow without any toxic material in food. I call it pure natural food!


"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live."

Franchise Takeaway

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Rod, just because you live in an apartment, doesn't mean you can't have a nice garden. It's just different - maybe a little more work, maybe not. See my pics above? That's in a 800sqft. apartment in NYC. I have it a little easier because I have big, southern facing windows, but if I didn't, I would be using more lighting. Right now, I'm using lights to supplement the window lighting - especially for the lime tree and tomato plant. So far, the herbs/leafy greens don't need the extra light.. .I doubt they will anyway - I was growing Chinese Broccoli in the leafy herb area back in Feb/March and it grew great with no additional lights.

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Unfortunately, i don't have conditions to make it in my own apartment. It is not big place you know. And second thing is too much dust from very busy street.

By the way, nice view from your window Kenneth! Plants are enchanting that view, very nice! :)


"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live."

Franchise Takeaway

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Community gardens are great - there's a really good one not too far from my apt., but I don't know how much time commitment they'd need, and how much I have!

BTW, Rod, a good thing to check is UrbanHydro.org - the Urban Hydroponics Growers Union... a bunch of people who are experimenting with trying to push the boundaries of urban gardening... Some of what they do is in yards, but some is completely indoors - in closets, 4'x4' tents, etc... it hasn't been updated in a while, but there was some interesting stuff there the last time I checked them out.

I understand your lack of space and other issues - I'm just saying that if you want to do something bad enough, where there's a will, there's a way!

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After a few false alarms, finally got my first blush on a tomato today--a Super Sweet 100 cherry tomato planted on March 13. If you're keeping score at home that's a 65 day variety giving a ripe fruit after 50 days. Not that I'm complaining.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Thanks for the reminder, got to get a sungold going.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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im jealous,we still have until the 15th to when we go to the nursery to buy the tomatoes,they will have set fruit by then,so they will get a goodstart.(late frosts,,,,)

Bud

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I've still got a few weeks or more to go on most things, though all four squash plants are producing so that'll keep me satisfied for now. Having a few problems with blossom end rot but not too bad. Only thing not flowering yet is the okra and some of the melons that have gotten off to a late start--cantaloupe is blowing up all over the place though.

Thing about gardening in Texas is, you can never really be sure about frost--but you know it is going to get hot enough to kill pretty much everything you plant, so better to take chances and get a crop. Last year I planted the first weekend in April (Zone 8, down near Austin) and essentially got nothing to speak of out of my summer garden it was so hot. Lesson learned.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Thanks Kenneth i will check this site it seems interesting,maybe i will find some good idea from where to start. And you are right about the will, it is on the first place before everything :)


"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live."

Franchise Takeaway

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From the top--lovage, asparagus, strawberry plant (I have 74 more, of 3 varieties), poles for Kentucky Wonder beans (asparagus row behind, tomatoes will be to the right, garlic and broccoli/cabbage in front), thyme in the pot, and Herb in his garden--catmint behind him, monarda in front, some lavender in the lower right corner.

I have planted 19 tomato plants so far--trying hybrids along with my heirlooms, because I had some blight last year. Goliath, Taste of Country, Romas, Big Boys (my mother insisted on those), Ananas Noir--all I can think of right now. I have half a dozen more plants to set out.

Half a dozen Mucho Nacho jalapenos--they did so well last year, early to fruit, big thickwalled peppers with great taste, wonderful for Atomic Buffalo Turds! Purple and yellow bells, and some little bells that are multicolored.

Burgundy bush beans, and burgundy okra. They both turn green when you cook them but they look so pretty in the basket.

Butternut, hubbard, pattypan and zucchini squash, a 'Cinderella' type pumpkin (Rouge de something) and several varieties of gourds, just for fun--nest egg, snake and apple.

Peas, lettuce, potatoes and kohlrabi are all up--we have eaten some lettuce and I snitched one peapod yesterday.

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sparrowgrass

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well today it was safe for frost,pretty much,went to local old time plant place and got 4 really nice big tomato plants,they had already set some fruit,so I will let em sit till tomorrow and plant them and will wait for the great fruit these folks sell, they have been doing it since the 40,s,and do a great job,

now gotta find the Genovese Basil plants,and all will be well...

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So I finally got around to taking pics of my urban garden.. very small, but considering there's only 2 of us, it works out well - plus part of it is still in progress.. the nice thing about doing things indoors is that you can continue to start and plant things all year long...

IMG_3442.JPG

This is a Paul Robeson heirloom tomato - it's about 2-3 weeks old. Got the start from Laurel's. This weekend, I'm going to attach a string to the ceiling and train it up the string as support. It should produce about 5-6 tomatoes a week for the next 8-10 months.

IMG_3443.JPG

Dwarf lime tree - probably about 7 years old - bears standard sized limes. It was having root rot problems for a while until I discovered the miracle of Hygrozyme, and now it's much better and it's the first time I'm letting it fruit in about a year.

IMG_3444.JPG

L-R: Rouge Grenobloise Batavian lettuce - I actually harvested half of the head last Monday, and it's basically grown back to full size since then; Basil; Thai basil. On the way (not pictured) is rosemary, french thyme, fl parsely, more lettuce, tarragon, cilantro, etc... In the past, in this setup, I grew Gailan, bok choi, arugula and some oddities like chocolate mint, variegated lemon geranium, coconut geranium, and lime thyme. Mint is a bad idea in this setup because the roots wind up taking over the whole trough.

wow... your set up is amazing! I am trying to do a little apt gardening too. I have not had luck with tomatoes in teh past. I have done best with leafy greens that I can tear off a few for salads.

I have a thai lime tree that is just a few years old, it never gives limes, but the leaves are the thing and they are plentiful. I also have scallions , lemongrass, and my most hard producing... pea sprouts! in a shallow pot, just dried peas from the super market, they make about a salad a week.

I need to figure out the tomatoe. IN the past they have flowered repeatedly and not set fruit. I had a hot pepper that did the same thing.

Your set up is super impessive1

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My garden is finally coming into its own. This is part of the take from just this week (less what we had eaten before this afternoon :smile: )

576623_10102074868858054_8309198_80973650_834648788_n.jpg

Pickling cucumbers, variety of squash, tomatoes, and the first eggplant--a baby variety called Fairy Tale. A few beans off of some of the more precocious vines but not enough to do anything with. The main bean crop will begin in earnest next week I think.

Most of what I've had so far are the tiny cherry or grape tomatoes, but the big boys are on the way:

577308_10102070950994484_8309198_80954239_2145584059_n.jpg

Black Krim, getting as much hangtime as I can spare. Knock on wood, the birds have left things alone up to now.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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