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Gardening: (2016– )


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Tomatoes are challenging in most climates. Cold, rain, and heat are enemies. Leaf diseases, etc. I have grown over 500+ varieties over 30 years. This years 4 1010, 36 cell trays, 3-5 seeds per cell. A couple early trays for insurance. Potting up now I have 300+ having a good year but I gift starts to neighbors and friends. Similar to SteveSando keeping old varieties alive, I play the same game with tomatoes and new varieties being crossed. 

Typical August-Sept Sunday morning harvest. I have to harvest heading back to the city for the week. Circled is probably a 4-5 but would be totally lost during the week unattended. Obviously more than we can use in a week but roasting, smoked, and frozen are tomato packets all winter. 

Similar is threat of frost we harvest in early-mid September. Cherry tomatoes go into zip-locks whole. For frittatas and pizza. Spanish long keepers and blush greens last through the holidays. 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2022-05-15 at 1.06.04 PM.png

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Annie_H--

Where did you get seeds for your Spanish long-keepers? We first experienced them on Mallorca several years ago. I tried to save seed from one or two to take back to the US (illegally, probably) but couldn't get good results. Problem being the climate and short growing season. But I was fascinated by the idea that tomatoes would last for months and still taste good when you used them. By the way, that pile of tomatoes is beautiful!

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Short story. DH went to a nephews wedding 5-6 years ago in SCarolina. His hotel was next to a weekend farmers market. 6 weeks before our tomato harvest, he asked if I wanted a few tomatoes...."only if they are blush". He found a vendor that pulled some beauties from under their table that knew about blush. In his luggage were three gorgeous massive heirlooms. Weeks ahead of my harvest in NY. Blush on the counter out of direct sunlight will ripen to perfection.

An informed grower/market vendor, should educate their public shoppers showing a blush, and a few on the scale to ripe. They would/will sell more tomatoes teaching the blush to ripen on a counter. A nice tomato, each day, all week. As they ripen like an avocado or a banana. 

Vine ripen is BS. 

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Just now, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

Where did you get seeds for your Spanish long-keepers? We first experienced them on Mallorca several years ago. I tried to save seed from one or two to take back to the US (illegally, probably) but couldn't get good results. Problem being the climate and short growing season. But I was fascinated by the idea that tomatoes would last for months and still taste good when you used them. By the way, that pile of tomatoes is beautiful!

 

I've been on a tomato forum for years. An adorable Spanish member has been sending to us seeds even with limited English language

skills. I've been saving seeds for a few years. --And we send what he wants to try. 

He just calls it 'Mallorca Long Keeper'. It is golden red/yellow about the size of a marble shooter, a bit smaller than a golf ball. 

Long keepers are traditionally, in Spain and Italy, are hung in cold storage, not fridge temps, but cool, and rubbed on toasted bread all winter. 

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Well evidently the new queen of 'maters has shown up!  Impressive selection.  How much space do you have to grow on?

 

We ended up planting yesterday, it was 27 and I couldn't help myself (plus the seedlings were getting root bound and after one transplant already, I was not about to do another to get a few more days of sun hardening) so I took the risk, will cover overnight with yogurt containers, paper bags, etc.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, TicTac said:

Well evidently the new queen of 'maters has shown up!  Impressive selection.  How much space do you have to grow on?

 

We ended up planting yesterday, it was 27 and I couldn't help myself (plus the seedlings were getting root bound and after one transplant already, I was not about to do another to get a few more days of sun hardening) so I took the risk, will cover overnight with yogurt containers, paper bags, etc.

 

 

Did yo see my earlier post referencing the early start plant protectors that Laurel likes?  

Early-Start Plant Protectors.  18" tall water-filled teepees to insulate your plants and soil against frost and cold temperatures. Start tomato plants and all your warm weather plants a month or more earlier than usual.

Growing Tips and Garden Products

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35 minutes ago, heidih said:

Did yo see my earlier post referencing the early start plant protectors that Laurel likes?  

Early-Start Plant Protectors.  18" tall water-filled teepees to insulate your plants and soil against frost and cold temperatures. Start tomato plants and all your warm weather plants a month or more earlier than usual.

Growing Tips and Garden Products

Interesting - thanks!  Will have to check this out further.  For tonight at least, its leftover yogurt containers, large sturdy paper bags and bubble wrap (for those in cages)

 

And they thought it could not get any weirder!

 

 

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2nd banana plant in bloom.  Just noticed it today, may be edible by late August??  The other plant has a much larger bunch and we **think** they may be edible in early July.  

 

bananas 2nd bunch.jpg

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Crop report:

 

Zucchini blossoms20220527_104858.thumb.jpg.8f8606e1792c57df07d50b222ee1ea6e.jpg

 

Cucumbers blooming as well

 

20220527_104909.thumb.jpg.c9b1b476bbe5a705a643ad5181850cc8.jpg

 

A baby crookneck squash.And two tennis ball sized green tomatoes. I expect these are Early Girl.

 

20220527_104807.thumb.jpg.3fa8e6c37d8f12dc6a486b2f09cc76d6.jpg20220527_104704.thumb.jpg.062615ee55282feaeae1a561407935c1.jpg

 

Not pictured, but the basil is loving the cool weather. May have to make pesto soon.

 

 

20220527_104923.jpg

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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41 minutes ago, kayb said:

Crop report:

 

Zucchini blossoms20220527_104858.thumb.jpg.8f8606e1792c57df07d50b222ee1ea6e.jpg

 

Cucumbers blooming as well

 

20220527_104909.thumb.jpg.c9b1b476bbe5a705a643ad5181850cc8.jpg

 

A baby crookneck squash.And two tennis ball sized green tomatoes. I expect these are Early Girl.

 

20220527_104807.thumb.jpg.3fa8e6c37d8f12dc6a486b2f09cc76d6.jpg20220527_104704.thumb.jpg.062615ee55282feaeae1a561407935c1.jpg

 

Not pictured, but the basil is loving the cool weather. May have to make pesto soon.

 

 

20220527_104923.jpg

Beautiful Kay!  I'm jealous of your squash.  Craving it and it will be a while before we get any.

 

We got over 5 inches of rain over the last two days.  Garden is wet to say the least.  One cucumber plant died on me.  sigh.

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Question for any zucchini experts....we love eating the flowers, I try to take only females once a fruit has been established (does that harm the fruit) and males if we have a lot of them. 

 

Any thoughts on the impact to fruit production this has on the plant?  In years past we have had really vigorous production for about a month then it just seems the plant dies, slowly but surely.  This year I have them in raised pots and am experimenting with that, so a new variable into the mix of the already lackluster track record!  Fingers crossed.

 

Oh, and I am messing around with growing them vertically!

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@TicTac I'm no expert but I've grown them for many years, not this time unfortunately. Not sure what you mean by "I try to take only females once a fruit has been established (does that harm the fruit)"  Once it is picked what fruit are you harming? I love the flowers too and try to balancer my greed for them versus my liking of young zukes. One of my favorite "cucina povera" stories is an employee relating his mom in Michoacan MX having to sell their dairy and using just the squash flowers in quesadilas - flavor + color. 

 

Edited by heidih (log)
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2 hours ago, heidih said:

@TicTac I'm no expert but I've grown them for many years, not this time unfortunately. Not sure what you mean by "I try to take only females once a fruit has been established (does that harm the fruit)"  Once it is picked what fruit are you harming? I love the flowers too and try to balancer my greed for them versus my liking of young zukes. One of my favorite "cucina povera" stories is an employee relating his mom in Michoacan MX having to sell their dairy and using just the squash flowers in quesadilas - flavor + color. 

 

Perhaps the fruit might benefit from the flower remaining (and slowly dying) on the flower vs removing it (and how big does the fruit ideally need to be before the flower can be safely removed).

 

Love squash flowers in tacos!

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I think once she has given birth and is thumb length she has expended her oomph and the youngster fends for itself.

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21 hours ago, Shelby said:

Beautiful Kay!  I'm jealous of your squash.  Craving it and it will be a while before we get any.

 

We got over 5 inches of rain over the last two days.  Garden is wet to say the least.  One cucumber plant died on me.  sigh.


someone here locally is ahead of me. I bought summer squash at the farmers market today. Think I’ll grill them with tomorrow’s steaks.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On 5/27/2022 at 9:42 AM, Shelby said:

We got over 5 inches of rain over the last two days.  Garden is wet to say the least.  One cucumber plant died on me.  sigh.

 

wow, that is a lot of water. I hope your plants are mostly ok. What does your forecast look like? 

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On 5/27/2022 at 9:08 PM, TicTac said:

Perhaps the fruit might benefit from the flower remaining (and slowly dying) on the flower vs removing it (and how big does the fruit ideally need to be before the flower can be safely removed).

Once the female stigma is pollinated by the male stamen the deed is done. Most varieties will produce many more male flowers so I take some of those and leave a few for pollination. I do take out the stamen and hand pollinate some of the open female flowers. I grow for the flowers and always get plenty of good sized fruits. I like to pick the females small like 2-3 inches. With the flowers attached. The flowers will curl and twist at fruit size 5-6 inches. They no longer need the flowers but it takes a few days to die and drop. 

This link is short and sweet. hand pollinating

I realize it is not what you are asking but you can really amp up production if bees are not plentiful. But the links second pic shows when I harvest. Early morning when the flowers are open wide. The stigma and stamen look very different so I know right away what is what. I harvest and store in a loose lidded container lined in a dry paper towel with a lightly dampened p-towel on top. Or a 1/4 sheet pan if I'm collecting for a crowd. They last a few days, sometimes 5-7, fresh in the fridge. 

I use clean straw mulch like Kayb. Keeps the soil cool and less splash up onto leaves from soil pathogens. Not sure about early death of plants but take pics. Could be a couple things. One cruddy looking leaf I remove at the base. A hand sprayer with baking soda, shakey-shake. I usually just look that recipe up every year if I see something like powdery mildew. 

I have about 15 plants. I start with about 25-30 for insurance. Cull and keep the strongest. Cut worms and crap can take out a few. 

I have three 5 gallon felt grow bags in a heap near the barn doors. Pretty plants those zucchinis and grow fast, and tossed in some trailing nasturtiums, lacinato kale, and dwarf sunflowers this year. So containers do work well. 

 

Maybe a better answer is a female flower will perish quickly if not pollinated. Lower pic is harvested later than we like. 4-5 inches but the flowers were still fresh looking. 

 

Screen Shot 2022-05-29 at 11.22.49 AM.png

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Posted (edited)

Seeds of Italy has something like 25 varieties. One variety is prized for an abundance of flowers. I ran out last year and forgot to order. But I should have plenty. Top left pic is zucchini fritters. The full stuffed cast iron is egg then parmesan/corn meal for topping a frittata...the bigger than usual fruits are sliced and fanned out with weight on top once the fried green tomatoes come out of the pan. Recipes and uses are endless. 

Edited by Annie_H (log)
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On 5/29/2022 at 1:12 PM, Annie_H said:

Once the female stigma is pollinated by the male stamen the deed is done. Most varieties will produce many more male flowers so I take some of those and leave a few for pollination. I do take out the stamen and hand pollinate some of the open female flowers. I grow for the flowers and always get plenty of good sized fruits. I like to pick the females small like 2-3 inches. With the flowers attached. The flowers will curl and twist at fruit size 5-6 inches. They no longer need the flowers but it takes a few days to die and drop. 

This link is short and sweet. hand pollinating

I realize it is not what you are asking but you can really amp up production if bees are not plentiful. But the links second pic shows when I harvest. Early morning when the flowers are open wide. The stigma and stamen look very different so I know right away what is what. I harvest and store in a loose lidded container lined in a dry paper towel with a lightly dampened p-towel on top. Or a 1/4 sheet pan if I'm collecting for a crowd. They last a few days, sometimes 5-7, fresh in the fridge. 

I use clean straw mulch like Kayb. Keeps the soil cool and less splash up onto leaves from soil pathogens. Not sure about early death of plants but take pics. Could be a couple things. One cruddy looking leaf I remove at the base. A hand sprayer with baking soda, shakey-shake. I usually just look that recipe up every year if I see something like powdery mildew. 

I have about 15 plants. I start with about 25-30 for insurance. Cull and keep the strongest. Cut worms and crap can take out a few. 

I have three 5 gallon felt grow bags in a heap near the barn doors. Pretty plants those zucchinis and grow fast, and tossed in some trailing nasturtiums, lacinato kale, and dwarf sunflowers this year. So containers do work well. 

 

Maybe a better answer is a female flower will perish quickly if not pollinated. Lower pic is harvested later than we like. 4-5 inches but the flowers were still fresh looking. 

 

Screen Shot 2022-05-29 at 11.22.49 AM.png

Thank you for taking the time to share that info.  Clearly you have done this a few seasons! ;)

 

I too have hand pollinated in the past with great success.  I have done it both with a small paint brush and have also removed the male bit and painted it right onto the female bits.  But usually the paint brush because I like to eat all those tasty bits 😛

 

I am with you as well, love zucchini at that size, about 4-6" tops, super sweet and no seeds.

 

Will experiment with removing the female flower at various stages of fruiting to see what if any impact it has, but I also typically pick smaller fruit (though I do leave some to get mid size for zoodles).

 

 

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About two weeks ago I posted that I was concerned that my three tomato plants weren’t getting enough sun. They’d been in their large containers for 2 months and were 3’ tall, had many flowers but no fruit setting at all. Two weeks later…….. there are something like 25 tomatoes, in various sizes, most on the Champion (which has the shortest fruiting time of the three). Patience little brother….. patience. 

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Update on the recycled plastic water bottle tote experiment -

 

growing.thumb.jpg.c2ac187633c16a6eb1b1818a637ec17f.jpg

 

We've had about 4 big salads and 2 large spinach/chard dishes thus far from the garden - growing along nicely.

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37 minutes ago, dcarch said:

Life is good. 

Garlic scapes are here.  a once-a-year treat.

 

dcarch

759989753_garlicscapes2022a.thumb.jpg.954ababf4306d7bb889a0923d3e5ea06.jpg

 

1109099451_garlicscapes2022b.thumb.jpg.6d381909615d8cbec3f3e433375770e4.jpg

 

 

garlic scapes 2022.JPG

Wonderful. Aside from saute what are your favorite uses?

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