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Gardening: (2016– )


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What’s left of today’s pickings, the little gold cherries don’t always make it into the house let alone onto a plate, just little globes of sweetness.  The long red tomatoes are San Marzano, ripening well now, the bunches/trusses on the plants remind me of cow udder clusters somehow.  The other red tomato is a Fantasio; not sure about these, they are supposed to be happy outside as well as in an unheated greenhouse but fruits growing outside don’t seem to have the usual shiny skin.  

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Once again I must admit to being envious of those of you who have so many tomatoes that you have to have a plan as to how to manage them before they spoil. Spring in my Seattle maritime location this year was particularly NOT good for tomatoes--rain and cold for most days! Result: spindly starts that just didn't want to grow once in the ground. I didn't even Tomatoes_08_05_Message_1660620307789.thumb.jpg.07ae8d1c38890941f192096ad9e84879.jpgplant them until June 1! They've just in the last couple of (very hot summer weather) weeks started to come into their own. Three indeterminate, one cherry determinate. The indeterminates have had a fine time growing tall and leggy with very little fruit. The cherry tomato is at least happier and now has lots of blossoms, but so far I've gotten exactly 4 cherry tomatoes. I kinda hope our hot weather lasts, but on the other hand, no air conditioning at 85degrees and above gets old very fast. 

 

OK, done whining.  : )

 

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9 hours ago, SusieQ said:

Tomatoes_08_05_Message_1660620307789.thumb.jpg.07ae8d1c38890941f192096ad9e84879.jpgplant them until June 1! They've just in the last couple of (very hot summer weather) weeks started to come into their own. Three indeterminate, one cherry determinate. The indeterminates have had a fine time growing tall and leggy with very little fruit. The cherry tomato is at least happier and now has lots of blossoms, but so far I've gotten exactly 4 cherry tomatoes. I kinda hope our hot weather lasts, but on the other hand, no air conditioning at 85degrees and above gets old very fast. 

You should try a few of the DwarfProject tomatoes next year. Compact plants that start with very thick sturdy stems. They do not 'bolt'. Or get spindly. Top out at about 4 ft. and produce less fruit per plant, but require less room so you can grow 8-10 plants in the same space as three indeterminates. Switch to a half dozen fabric pots, even touching. I'm guessing you are buying plant starts from a garden center only growing three plants. If you want to try starting from seed, I'll send you a few varieties. I send out seeds every year so it is no big deal. 

Even better is they ripen at various times---early, and late, over a long period of time, so always a nice ripe one to be enjoyed. 

fabric pots are cheap and last for years if rinsed/bleached, dried, and stored over-winter. Tomatoes do not like clay or plastic pots at all. Fabric stays damp. Roots reach all they way to the fabric. 

 

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^^^2 and three gallon is a good size for DwarfProject tomatoes. 1$ buck per pot+shipping. I started Fall kale, collards, and salad greens in the two gallon a few weeks ago. Sun access is changing so in fabric pots I can moved them to Fall sun easily. I'll have greens through the holidays. 

I empty my used pot soil into a big trug to be re-used. Next season I add a handful of clean fresh wood chips, then spent soil, then fresh clean soil before planting.--spent soil may have some weed seed that does not sprout being deep in the pot. Add some good organic slow release vegetable food to the top few inches. 

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We have moved a little from the topic but I would like to add just a little more about growing tomatoes....🙂

Nematodes

Here in Queensland most of the soils are ideal for nematodes. In the case of tomato plants, the plant grows pretty well but the lower leaves may turn yellow then wilt. This "die back" proceeds up the plant until they are spindly and there are not enough leaves left to support the fruit.

(in Queensland a cold winters day is 17C (62F) so the "cold" isn't enough to cull the nematodes)

(by the way there are 2 basic types of tomato plants, a vine type and a bush type. Don't mistake spindly plants as sick, it may mean they are the vine type)

Planting a crop of mustard and digging it in is one method to control. Marigolds do the same thing. If you have nematodes, just planting marigolds with then and cutting the leaves and leaving to break down regularly  will help.

The improvement in tomato health after one round of marigolds being dug in can be  rather spectacular.

Once you have  nematodes, it is very hard to get rid of them. Many of my friends have abandoned Tomatoes altogether.

Be kind first.

Be nice.

(If you don't know the difference then you need to do some research)

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14 minutes ago, Bernie said:

We have moved a little from the topic but I would like to add just a little more about growing tomatoes....🙂

Nematodes

Here in Queensland most of the soils are ideal for nematodes. In the case of tomato plants, the plant grows pretty well but the lower leaves may turn yellow then wilt. This "die back" proceeds up the plant until they are spindly and there are not enough leaves left to support the fruit.

(in Queensland a cold winters day is 17C (62F) so the "cold" isn't enough to cull the nematodes)

(by the way there are 2 basic types of tomato plants, a vine type and a bush type. Don't mistake spindly plants as sick, it may mean they are the vine type)

Planting a crop of mustard and digging it in is one method to control. Marigolds do the same thing. If you have nematodes, just planting marigolds with then and cutting the leaves and leaving to break down regularly  will help.

The improvement in tomato health after one round of marigolds being dug in can be  rather spectacular.

Once you have  nematodes, it is very hard to get rid of them. Many of my friends have abandoned Tomatoes altogether.

 

Here in New Jersey for years I co-planted marigolds with my tomatoes but the marigolds were inevitably attacked and wiped out by spider mites.  Spider mite infested marigolds are disgusting.  However what eventually did in my tomato crop was my landlord.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/23/2022 at 3:27 PM, gulfporter said:

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.  

 

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For whatever reason these bananas remained green thru today.  They are larger than most we get in our yard.  

 

After a week of heavy rain (and a very wet monsoon season since mid-June) the weight of the fruit caused the plant to fall.  There were signs of 'lightening' of the green, which precedes ripening. 

 

José our gardener cut the bunch and hung outside.  I am on Ant Patrol.   

 

 

 

 

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Attempting growing morning glory from the grocery store (actually a street vendor in Chinatown)

 

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Lemongrass rehab doing well - they were getting slightly root bound in the solo cups so now in the fabric bag.

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Been in this house for 5+ years and this is first bloom (and sadly likely the last) of this agave.  Impressive!  It's bloom is 6 feet tall.  Not sure how it will progress.  It threw the bloom literally overnight!

 

 

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Our "garden" -- that is, potted tomatoes and herbs -- is about done for the season. We'll be having frost soon. I've been surprised at the tomatoes. My farmer friend gave me several that were too leggy for her to sell. "Put them as deep in the soil as you can," she said; "the stems will just develop more roots." I thought that a strange suggestion, but she was right. I think I've posted photos of the monster tomato plants threatening to tip over their pots earlier in this topic. They've been promising all summer to produce ripe fruit, but it has generally stayed a stubborn green.

 

Until now, when the frost is about to set in.

 

I rescued a bunch last week and cooked them down / preserved them. Here's the latest take.

 

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A few of them went into tonight's puff-pastry dinner "pizza" but I'm not sure how I'll use the rest. They are delicious. Their predecessors have been delicious on grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese and salami sandwiches, salads, and eaten out of hand. But I think I'll need to roast some more for later use.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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San Marzano tomatoes still ripening both in unheated greenhouse and outside.  Certainly plenty of fruit per plant but they are not as amazing when cooked as we had hoped.  

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Sun Gold tomatoes have been amazing this year.  Have grown plants from a ‘parent’ gariguette strawberry now planted around the walls of our catio.  Hoping to have fruit from these next summer having given up on strawberries in recent years.  The parent plant was found at the back of what was once a strawberry raised bed, must have been lurking since we cleared the rest.  

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On 9/28/2022 at 12:56 PM, TicTac said:

Gorgeous space.

 

Trying to figure out that caged in area...is that where that cat resides on the catio!? 

 

😛

Yes, the one remaining cat has this area as his space.  Comes and goes as he pleases through his little door.  When we acquired George and his sister, Prune, we were obliged to sign a contract to agree that they would never be permitted to roam freely.  Not sure that I would do the same again but it is all that George has known.  Will find a picture of the pair in their space tomorrow. 

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Hoping that this isn’t off topic but here, as promised, are George and Prune discovering their new catio for the first time.  The second picture is Prune, she spent entire days in that spot, a kiwi fruit vine now covers it so she had shade on warmer days.  Can’t get used to walking past the Prune Shelf and seeing it empty.

 

The prune picture shows our tiny greenhouse and raised beds, this is our entire space for growing fruit and veg, except for a couple of apple trees and one pear tree at the front.  The wind was strong yesterday and most of the apples are now on the ground.  Any brilliant ideas for preserving those windfalls would be very welcome!  I hate to waste food but the freezer is already crammed to capacity.  More or less… 

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I dehydrate a lot of apple rings at this time of the year, and can a lot of applesauce (neither of which require freezer space). There are apple chutneys too, I suppose, and apple butter. I'm sure others have more/better ideas.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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6 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Couldn't find a different spot to put this......but...honey bees have taken over my hummingbird feeder!

Well if the hummingbirds have moved on to more southerly climes perhaps you could consider developing a niche market for bespoke honey. Perhaps fill those feeders with some St. Germaine? Elderberry cordial? Grand Marnier?  You get the idea. It’s just a thought. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

Well if the hummingbirds have moved on to more southerly climes perhaps you could consider developing a niche market for bespoke honey. Perhaps fill those feeders with some St. Germaine? Elderberry cordial? Grand Marnier?  You get the idea. It’s just a thought. 

Then she would just end up with some drunk bees getting into all sorts of debauchery!

 

 

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A beekeeper I know had a Dr. Pepper truck turn over on a highway near his hives.  He reported the flavor of the honey as a very hesitant "interesting."

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I could use some help with herb identification.

 

I planted some micro-herbs that came with my covid-lockdown meal from Masons of Bendigo, reported here. The green shiso survived a few replantings and ended up in a wine barrel, happily re-seeding itself while the lemon balm didn't survive, or so I thought. 

 

This spring's crop is coming along well, but when I picked some it smelled very lemony. Hmm. I don't remember that before, but maybe it is because there is fresh growth. So now I don't know if I have shiso or lemon balm. Maybe some lemon balm was quietly lurking with the shiso ready to mount a coup. Unfortunately I ripped volunteer shiso out of another pot so I can't compare to that.

 

Can anyone tell me what this is?

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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