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Gardening: 2002-2009 Seasons


Hopleaf
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I think your plan sounds good--of course there is always the option of sneaking off to the Boulder farmer's market and grabbing a couple of the basil plants they have for $2.00 apiece right now (if the same grower is at boulder that is at the cherry creek market).

fred,

went to mcguckin's--they of the 5000 aimless, overly-helpful staff--and purchased a 4 plant mini-pot thingy. probably paid twice what i would at the farmers' market but really who can wake up that early? i mean, other than you.

so, while i see if this basil in the pot in late summer experiment will work i'll have some basil to draw upon. i'm also considering bunging some seeds for perennial winter thyme in the same pot--mistake? or amazingly smart of me? i'm already mixing seeds for italian and thai basil to begin with--perhaps this is getting to be too much like dr. moreau's herb garden

thanks again,

mongo

While happily snipping my basil plant (purchased at the KGNU plant sale June 5th; planted in a pot outdoors, same day) for dinner tonight... I'll offer the usual colorado advice: try it.

The combination of sunshine, 4 seasons that occur randomly, and tender loving care... it may not work; then again, it just might. My rosemary plant (theoretically winter tender) has lived through 8 years so far. The horseradish, ineradicable once started, is still grasping for life; I keep hacking the tarragon back, because it threatens to engulf the buffalo grass. Thyme, and oregano, soldier on. Mint is vigorous, but it lives in the southwest exposure, so is restrained.

And paying twice as much at McGuckin's? Two dollars, instead of a dollar? The chance to speak with the green vested ones makes up for it. The advice and care are worth it.

Edited by afoodnut (log)
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okay, so the planting is done. i will be so surprised if anything sprouts. on the basil seed packets it said to plant them at roughly 1/4 inch depth--but who has a 1/4 inch measurer handy? serious gardeners? well, sure. the thyme, it said to just cover lightly with soil. i punched holes all over the pot with a pencil and dumped in seeds fairly haphazardly and covered. then i sprinkled thyme seeds all over and spread some soil on top. then i watered. if anything sprouts they'll probably all fight and choke each other. if not, i'll have a large pot full of herby goodness.

afoodnut, fred--i believe you should both supervise my activities next spring. in return i will be willing to analyze novels for you or feed you goat curry--your choice.

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afoodnut, fred--i believe you should both supervise my activities next spring. in return i will be willing to analyze novels for you or feed you goat curry--your choice.

I drive a hard bargain. You must feed me goat curry *and* analyze novels. But you must also choke down the food I might offer, and suffer novel discussions.

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Mongo, you might not have good luck mixing thyme with basil seeds. Thyme plants are woody and sprawling and wide, and basil is more delicate (you can eat the stems, whereas you wouldn't want to eat thyme stems). I don't know how they'll do together. I think the thyme will choke the basil out.

I could be wrong.

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Mongo, you might not have good luck mixing thyme with basil seeds. Thyme plants are woody and sprawling and wide, and basil is more delicate (you can eat the stems, whereas you wouldn't want to eat thyme stems). I don't know how they'll do together. I think the thyme will choke the basil out.

I could be wrong.

tana, i blame you--why didn't you stop me before i said i was going to do it?

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Mongo, you might not have good luck mixing thyme with basil seeds. Thyme plants are woody and sprawling and wide, and basil is more delicate (you can eat the stems, whereas you wouldn't want to eat thyme stems). I don't know how they'll do together. I think the thyme will choke the basil out.

I could be wrong.

ah, i don't know. the basil will come up faster than the thyme, in my experience. and it'll probably win out at first. the first cold day, though, the basil will die, and the thyme will merely pause until the next warm day, at which point it will come back in spades.

or at least that's how it's happened at my house.

mongo, don't worry about the italian vs. thai in the same pot, definitely. they'll do just fine together--i have them in the same pot out back and they're both fine.

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ah, i don't know. the basil will come up faster than the thyme, in my experience. and it'll probably win out at first. the first cold day, though, the basil will die, and the thyme will merely pause until the next warm day, at which point it will come back in spades.

or at least that's how it's happened at my house.

mongo, don't worry about the italian vs. thai in the same pot, definitely. they'll do just fine together--i have them in the same pot out back and they're both fine.

maybe i can get some really bored gamblers together and lay some odds down?

this is all an experiment for me anyway--just to force me to finally do it. this way when next spring rolls around i'll be ready, and if anything sprouts that'll just be an extra bonus.

i'm probably breaking some decency law in some state or the other by planting italian and thai basil in the same pot--ooh i'm so naughty! and silly, leave us not forget silly.

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My friend has big huge green worms on and in her tomatoes. They have a "hook" at one end and they are as wide as a thumb. She is afraid that these are the source of the ENORMOUS moth that sent her screaming inside from her porch a few nights ago. The moth was so big, she said she thought about calling 911 to come and take care of it.

The worms are so big, her dog won't go anywhere near the garden anymore.

Does anyone here know what those worms are? Do they become moths as big as bats? And is there a way to save the tomatoes without poison?

Noise is music. All else is food.

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They are tomato hornworms. What we do is hunt them, and remove them from the plants. This works fine, except that they are kinda gross, and they blend in well, so it's easy to miss them.

I don't know about their mothiness.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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Yep. This site says they turn into a moth with a wingspan of 4-5 inches.

damn that's big.

my tomatoes have some sort of fungus that is turning the leaves all black between the veins. some of the fruit is rotted too. might be spotted wilt, i'm not sure. either way it's depressing, because this is the first time in like four years that i've gotten tomatoes to grow decently. i think i'm gonna give up on gardening tomatoes in pots. they never work right, and now even the whole foods is carrying several styles of heirloom tomatoes.

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Here is a tomato hornworm--a big guy, 2 or 3 inches wide. Might find it flying around your porch light at night.

BU0111_1m.jpg

The worms will decimate your tomatoes--eating all the leaves and then starting on the fruit. Pick them off and mash them (eeeuuwww) or just drop them into a can of soapy water. The "horn" on the back is not a stinger--they can't hurt you. (They can, however, creep you out. I use gloves. :unsure: )

edited to correct totally bogus information that I just made up off the top of my head. My bad.

Edited by sparrowgrass (log)
sparrowgrass
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okay, so the planting is done. i will be so surprised if anything sprouts. on the basil seed packets it said to plant them at roughly 1/4 inch depth--but who has a 1/4 inch measurer handy? serious gardeners? well, sure. the thyme, it said to just cover lightly with soil. i punched holes all over the pot with a pencil and dumped in seeds fairly haphazardly and covered. then i sprinkled thyme seeds all over and spread some soil on top. then i watered. if anything sprouts they'll probably all fight and choke each other. if not, i'll have a large pot full of herby goodness.

afoodnut, fred--i believe you should both supervise my activities next spring. in return i will be willing to analyze novels for you or feed you goat curry--your choice.

I don't even bother to poke holes. I usually just sprinkle seeds on the seed starting mix in the cup and then cover with what I think is 1/4" of mix.

Basil needs a warm place to sprout and grow. A good cold snap and it's dead and black. Good luck. If your temp swings are really as wide as you say, I would look for a warm, sunny, insulated windowsill area. Don't bother with a greenhouse, it's a lot of work for a couple of basil plants.

Thyme seeds take forever to sprout. I am betting that by the time you have little basil plants, your thyme seeds will have done nothing. On the other hand, thyme is harder to kill, once established. Most people just buy a plant because of the time factor. It takes months of babying to get to the size you would find at the garden store. At least it took months for me, and I had near ideal temps and fertilizing program.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Does anyone here know what those worms are?  Do they become moths as big as bats?  And is there a way to save the tomatoes without poison?

Yep, good old hornworms. When we were kids, my dad would pay us a quarter for every worm we pulled off the plants. We didn't touch them with our hands (way to "oogey" for even us kids)...we used clothespins to nab them. We got to be experts in finding the well-hidden not-so-little buggers.

If you don't have kids in the neighborhood to bribe to find the worms on your plants, your local garden shop will have some powder or spray to rid your plants of the beasties.

You should also check to make sure you don't have white flies either. Again, your local garden shop should have a powder/spray to get rid of the pests.

I know you said no poison, but this is a war. It's either you or them.

If you staunchly refuse to go the spray/powder route, there is a garden author by the name of Jerry Baker who has devised recipes for home "tonics" to take the place of chemicals & sprays. He mixes stuff like dishsoap, tabasco sauce, household ammonia, etc, to make concoctions that you spray on your plants to fight pests or clean the soil or fertilize your plants. I've seen some of his shows on PBS.

I have never tried any of his "tonic recipes" but some people swear by them.

Here is an eGullet-friendly link to one of his books on Amazon. You might also want to check on eBay for any his out-of-print books.

If you don't want to wait to buy the book, a poster at the very bottom of this page about hornworm problems claims to have a Jerry Baker recipe that will prevent pests from infesting your plants. Mix it up in a spray bottle and spray your plants (if you don't have the garden hose sprayer attachment).

Edited to add: It's probably too late for this year, but some gardners believe you can plant "companion" plants that will naturally deter pests from coming around. Some of these plants include Garlic, Marigolds, Borage, Pyrethrum, and Basil. Again, I don't know if they work but it's worth a shot and it's poison-free.

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I would like to add something about thyme.

A wonderful cultivar with great culinary applications is lemon thyme. It is an excellent culinary plant, has lovely foliage, slightly larger leaves than French or English thyme.

It is not as hardy, will not survive at temperatures much below freezing so needs to be potted and brought inside during hard freezes.

The flavor is exceptional, the lemon flavor is subtle but obvious and it is a wonderful seasoning for almost any meat, but particularly good with lamb as well as with chicken and duck or goose.

I have stuffed it and a small boiling onion inside squab and game hens and the flavor has added a great deal to the (in my opinion) rather insipid flavor of these small fowl.

I also grow lime thyme which has the fragrance of lime but not much lime flavor.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Here is a tomato hornworm--a big guy, 2 or 3 inches wide.  Might find it flying around your porch light at night.

BU0111_1m.jpg

help me jeebus! no one said anything about mutant moths when i spoke of beginning to garden!

it is likely that the answer to the following question is already somewhere in the depths of this thread but just in case it isn't:

what would you seasoned gardeners say are the best pot-sharers (not hippies, herbs)? most compatible companions?

Edited by mongo_jones (log)
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Most people just buy a plant because of the time factor.  It takes months of babying to get to the size you would find at the garden store.  At least it took months for me, and I had near ideal temps and fertilizing program.

I am completely into CHEATING and buying either the biggest seedlings I can find, or buying big plants. I picked up two foot-tall tarragon plants for $2.29 each over the weekend. They will go on the north deck, along with all the other herbs. We grow parsley, sage, lemon thyme, lime thyme, English thyme, and a couple more I can't remember, on the front deck. Next to the back deck, there is a rosemary bush that almost died until Bob moved it. Now it's ten feet tall. On the west (hot) side of the house, there is a never-ending supply of oregano and marjoram.

We can't do basil because of snails and deer, so I buy bunches at the farmer's market (roots intact) and keep it on the counter in a glass of water. Lasts all week if not longer.

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We can't do basil because of snails and deer, so I buy bunches at the farmer's market (roots intact) and keep it on the counter in a glass of water. Lasts all week if not longer.

We keep the basil and parsley in hanging pots to protect them from critters!

KathyM

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<cue broken record sound effect>

I highly recommend using a dilute spray of crude neem oil to control garden pests. Read up on it here. I mix it in one of those 2-gallon tank sprayers with a little Dr. Bronner's as an emulsifier, and use it (with great success) to control cabbage worms, aphids, whitefly and mealybugs. It's completely organic and can be used on edible crops right up to harvest (though you'll want to rinse it off since it tastes like shite).

I'm still looking around for a link to a comprehensive list of pests that can be controlled with neem. Those I listed are the only ones I've had issues with, but neem is widely used for a broad spectrum of leaf miners and hoppers, cutworms, mites and even funguses and mildew. Will post link if I find a good one.

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We can't do basil because of snails and deer, so I buy bunches at the farmer's market (roots intact) and keep it on the counter in a glass of water. Lasts all week if not longer.

Any ordinary basil stem with no roots will root readily if you put it in a glass of water long enough. I know a gal who does this with the Vietnamese basil from the restaurant. She puts the used basil stems in water until they root and then pots them up normally. Easier than starting from seed, unless you are looking for a particular variety.

--of course the basil has to be relatively fresh.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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This is my very first time ever doing any gardening. I started with patio containers on my deck that were just recently moved to the ground (company coming and I need the deck space). Some of Mom's left-over compost, some fresh topsoil, peat moss and perlite along with Osmocote fertilizer pellets kick started the whole thing and growth has been very good

i11016.jpg

I made the classic first time gardener mistake and planted too many items too close together (all started from seedlings) The parsley, sweet basil and habaneros

seem to do okay together but the thyme, rosemary, oregano and Thai basil have suffered. Is this likely due to a lack of light due to their lower profile or have the larger plants just hogged all the nutrients? See the Thai basil below in the center of the pot - maybe it's normal but I thought it would get taller like the sweet basil around it. Is it normal or is it stunted?

i11038.jpg

Last question (I promise it's the last for now): How big should tomatoes be at this time of year? I have a "Patio Tomato" plant that came with six fruit already on it. They ripened in about four weeks. It now has about twenty or so green tomatoes, some about golf ball sized and a few others a bit smaller than a tennis ball but not big. The plant itself is a bit squat but I think that may be the nature of patio tomato plants (the variety that is - not the location). I also have a Black prince plant - the second one pictured. It staretd as a seedlign and has gotten quite large with about two to three dozen fruit but again - most are very small and still very green.

Here in the northeast (Syracuse NY - weather probably akin to central Minnesota during growing season).... how late can these grow outdoors and should I still be expecting red fruit eventually? (note: I made the poor choice of 12" diameter pots for the tomato plants - obviously not large enough but I water them diligently.

Patio Tomato

i11017.jpg

Black Prince

i11014.jpg

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Some comments, Owen.

I have been growing Thai and sweet basil for years, and the Thai is always smaller and "sparser."

Tomatoes. Yes, your 12" pots are too small. We are at the very northern edge of Zone 4 in our northern Twin Cities suburb, but the weather this summer has acted more like Zone 3 than Zone 4. We have had no heat to speak of, and the nights have been cool. Tonatoes (like peppers), as I recall, like nights above 60 or 65 degrees in addition to warm days to flourish. They also need a lot of sun. They will keep ripening until the days get too cool; you'll know when they are done.

One thing you can do to help the fruit you have ripen fully is to carefully trim the plants. Any branch that is pointing downward will not bear fruit, and at the time of year (days getting shorter), and should be trimmed. In addition, remove any and all buds dilligently as well as any fruit that is really tiny. At this point in the year, you want the fruit that may ripen to have a fighting change. You do not want the energy of the plant going into leave and bud production.

This is turning out to be the summer that never was for us. I, like everyone here I know, have pathetically few tomatoes, none of which are starting to turn color. It doesn't help that the temps for most of this week will be upper 40's/low 50's at night and maybe 60 during the day.

Keep experimenting. It is natural (even for an experienced gardener) to plant too much, too close together. Walk around your neighborhood and see how the successful gardeners in your neighborhood are doing!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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This is turning out to be the summer that never was for us. I, like everyone here I know, have pathetically few tomatoes,

Misery loves company. Four healthy tomato plants, about five tomatoes. It's gonna hit the fifties tonight , so the Love Apples and the basil I always plant (hardcore, in a row, from seed) aren't going anywhere.

But my, I've had lovely hollyhocks. Hollyhocks are the new delphiums around here. A hardy, tall, reliable biennial that reseeds itself, and bears blossoms that look like upside-down tutus.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Here is a tomato hornworm--a big guy, 2 or 3 inches wide.  Might find it flying around your porch light at night.

BU0111_1m.jpg

This is my first garden as well. It has been a tremendous learning experience and rewarding beyond description. I have 32 heirloom tomato plants, 15 kinds of peppers, 3 types of melons, 3 types of squash, 2 types of eggplant, basil, parsley, corn, carrots, and beets.

Here is my first encounter with the Red Horned Tomato Worm

i11039.jpg

Just after snacking on my Green Grape

i11041.jpg

Just before it met the bottom of my shoe (Note my green grape exiting it's rear)

i11042.jpg

But alas, It did not get them all. From Today

i11043.jpg

"Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage."

Woody Allen

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We have a friend, Worm Boy, who is actually a worm farmer. He gave me some worm castings (aka "worm doo doo") to use in our garden. The roses on the deck are healthier than they've been in years. The tomatoes next to the house are going to climb in the windows and choke us in our sleep, I think.

Anyone else know the miracle of the lowly earthworm, who are doing God's Work in a big, big way?

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Can we ask questions about an indoor garden too?

I grow some houseplants, mainly theraputic "cook" plants, like as much aloe as I can possibly cram into my apartment.

I also grow what I thought was a tea tree. This plant belongs to my old roommate from Chicago. She used it to make teas, shampoos, and salves. Things of that nature.

Problem is, I'm not really sure what this plant is. It's a spindly plant, with long (2-3 feet) flexible branches covered in a light fuzz. The leaves are pale green, fan-shaped, velvety, and they have a wonderful fresh smell, like tea-tree oil. If I had a camera, I would post a picture.

Or I should say: they had a wonderful fresh smell. Ever since I moved it from Chicago, it's dying. OK, it's practically dead. It's in the same spot as it was before (in front of an open window), with the same amount of light. It is watered and fed in a similar manner.

I looked on the Internet to see if it really was a tea tree. What I read was that tea trees are extremely hard to care for, come from the bonsai family, and are an outdoor plant.

:unsure:

What shall I do with it? I repotted it and I have fed it special food. Shall I cut it down to the very base of the branches and see what happens? I'd like to use it for tea again.

It is very sad when plants die.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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