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Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes



Check up my knew Knol on...

How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes



Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Make a Beer Slug Trap

Check out my newest Knol.

How to Make a Beer Slug Trap

Slugs will find their way into all gardens. There is no single way to kill them all. Slugs have to be managed. Beer traps are a great way to reduce the numbers of slugs in your garden.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Get Two Heads of Lettuce from One Plant

The picture tells the story. If you harvest your heads of lettuce by cutting the lettuce head off but leave the roots in the ground... you will get a 2nd head of lettuce as long as the weather stays cool. If your lucky you might get 3 heads of lettuce from one plant.

Click the photo to enlarge

This is red lettuce and the four lettuce plants at the bottom have all been harvested. The one to the far left (left bottom corner) is just a stump, it was picked yesterday. The one next it, to the right, was picked 3 days ago. You can see new lettuce leaves forming. The two in the far bottom right corner were pick 7 and 10 days ago. They practically have new heads on them.

The lettuce in the middle of my raised bed has not been picked and has been growing for about 40 -45 days. Behind the lettuce is swiss chard.

Lettuces will grow new leaves if you leave the roots in the ground. This is a great way to keep the lettuce coming to your table.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Planting Warm Season Crops

Now is the time to plant cucumbers, squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers, melons and sunflowers. It is also time for your herbs.

My garden is transistioning from cold season crops to warm season crops. What does that mean? I don't have room to plant! Well not enough room anyway for all I want to do. I am waiting for beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, lettuces and more to mature.

However, I also need to get the first round of the vine crops in.

The solution is to plant them in Styro-Foam cups. I recycle the ones I used for the cold crops. Any container will do.

I plant my cucumber, squash, melon, and sunflower seeds into cups. This buys me 2 weeks. As they mature in the cups, my cool weather crops will be eaten. When the seedlings are ready, I will have space in my garden. No lost time!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yard Sale Plants: Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs and Perennials

All these plants will be available unless they sell out.

Tomatoes

  1. Juliet Hybrid: Grape shaped cherry tomato
  2. Big Momma Hybrid: A very large sweet paste tomato
  3. Super Marmande Heirloom: Beefsteak type tomato
  4. Roma: Standard tomato from the grocery store
  5. Cherokee Purple Heirloom: 10 oz rose/purple skinned tomato
  6. Red Lightning Hybrid: Brilliant red with golden streaks. 3 inch round fruits
  7. Super Sweet 100 Hybrid: Clusters of sweet cherry tomatoes
  8. Large Red Cherry: Large red standard cherry tomato
  9. Super Beefsteak: Bigger yield beefsteak with 1 pound fruits
  10. Jubilee Orange: Large orange tomatoes with perfect roundness
  11. Brandywine Pink Heirloom: From 1885 - 14 oz fruit with pinkish tomato - Potato leaf
  12. Speckled Roman Heirloom: Paste tomato with red, orange, and yellow stripes
  13. Aunt Ruby's German Heirloom: 12-16 oz green and yellow striped fruit
  14. Tomatillo: Husked tomato-like fruit. It is tart and awesome in salsa.

Peppers

  1. Sweet Banana: Sweet no heat light yellow green
  2. Cayenne Hot: Thin long red hot cayenne pepper. Use for hot pepper flakes.
  3. Anaheim Chili: Medium heat 6-8 long pepper matures to red
  4. Corno di Toro: Large green to red bull horn shaped 8 inch fruits with no heat
  5. Poblano: Deep green for roasting on the grill. Medium hot pepper.
  6. Big Dipper: Large standard green bell pepper
  7. Early Jalapeno: An early maturing jalapeno. Great for salsa.
  8. Cubanelle: A large sweet pepper that matures from yellow to red
  9. Californa Wonder: The standard green bell
  10. Marconi Golden: Golden (yellow) Italian sweet pepper with 12 inch fruit
  11. California Orange Heirloom: Large sweet tasting orange bell

Herbs

  1. Lime Basil: Great for salsa and Mexican dishes
  2. Purple Basil: Great for salads and contrast to other basil dishes
  3. Large Leaf Basil: Standard large leaf basil for pesto
  4. Cilantro: Key ingredient for salsa
  5. Oregano: Great for sauces and it is a perennial plant
  6. Chives: Great for salads and it is a perennial plant
  7. Fennel: Anise flavored herb great for chicken and fish
  8. Dill: Used for dill pickles and in fish dishes

I also have gallon pots of hostas and other shade plants.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Planting Tomatoes in Pictures: 3 in - 15 to Go


The above plot held some kale. I cleared the kale and I will be planting 3 tomatoes.
The tomatoes that will go in are Brandwine Pink, Aunt Ruby's Green and Speckled Roman.
Click the picture to enlarge.



The first step, after clearing, is to prepare the planting hole. It is 2 spades deep and I removed a lot of the existing soil. It is important to have outstanding soil for the tomato.



A mixture of peat moss and garden soil is used to fill the hole. A handful of 10-10-10 fertilizer was placed and mixed in to the bottom of the hole. I also mix in a half of cup of pulverized lime into the peat moss to decrease the natural acidity of peat moss.


I also mixed a small handful of fertilizer into the top 10 inches of the hole once filled. I dug a small handful of dirt out for the transplant. The tomato will be planted at a depth of about half of its total height. This plant is the Brandywine Pink heirloom.



The three tomatoes are planted and grass clippings are used to cover the soil. I use about 2 inches of grass clippings at a time and once they dry out, I add more.
Click the picture to enlarge.


This is the basic way I plant tomatoes. Each year I dig a large planting hole and put in new soil made of peat moss and garden soil. Fertilizer gets tossed in and the tomato plants get a fresh hole to grow in. Later the plants will get tomato stakes and I will prune them as the grow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Garden as of May 9th


Radishes, lettuce, spinach and kale have made it to my table. Turnips, carrots, broccoli potatoes and parsnips are up and growing.

I've planted some peppers and heirloom tomatoes. I also put in 1 determinate type heirloom tomato called Marglobe.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pictures of My Garden Beds as of March 15th


Some of my raised bed gardens as of mid March. Ill be posting the growth this weekend. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.



Squash and Cucumbers Planted

Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash have been planted into 8 oz styro-foam cups. I decided to try that instead of 20 oz. They will get planted directly into to garden without disturbing the roots. I didn't have enough 20 oz cups and was low on garden soil. Maybe the extra soil for starting the seeds isn't needed.

If you haven't grown spaghetti squash, I highly recommend it. If you split the squash and bake it (spil side down) in a pyrex pan filled with an inch of water, you get a very tasty vegetable. Bake 30 minutes around 375 degrees. Scrape the inside of the halves and the squash actually shreds into spaghetti like fibers. Dress it and eat it hot or cold.

I planted 1 variety of cucumber a long thin hybrid. I have trouble with cucumbers. This might be due to soil acidity or alkalinity or insects. I don't test my soil. Typically, they grow in the cups but transplant poorly. I suppose I can dig out my soil and drop a bag of garden soil in a hole. If the plant I put in there grows well, that might mean its my general soil. Whether its the soil balance or wintering insects, Ill have to figure that out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tomatoes: A New Knol

My most recent gardening Knol. I am getting ready to do my annual plant sale. Tomatoes are what drives it. I wrote up 10 basic tips for minding tomatoes.

Ten Things About Tomatoes

Time to Plant Your Tomatoes

I have three plants in the ground now and 10 more varieties growing in cups. I planted a determinate plant this year and two other indeterminate heirlooms. One variety is 'Whopper' and the other is 'Arkansas Traveler'. The first is as it sounds a large tomato and the second is heat tolerant prolific producer. I grew several varieties of Russian heirlooms over the years but found the Maryland heat beat them up.

It's time to get the tomatoes in over the next 2 weeks. Below is a cut from a Knol I wrote on planting tomatoes. You can read the whole article at this link.

How to Plant a Tomato an Tend to Its Needs

Digging and Preparing the Hole:

Dig the Hole
I am assuming you have a garden. If you don't, you will need to dig and turn-over at least a 2 foot by 2 foot plot. I am also assuming you know a tomato needs at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

In your garden, dig a circular hole that is 1 1/2 to 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Put the dirt to the side.

In the bottom of the hole sprinkle 3 rounded tablespoons of fertilizer evenly over the bottom of the hole. You don't need be exact. Use your shovel to mix the fertilizer about another 4-6 inches deeper into the hole. That is, break up the bottom of the hole another 4-6 inches and mix the fertilizer into the loosened dirt. Do NOT remove the dirt.

Fill 1/2 the Hole
Fill half the hole with the garden soil you purchased. You will be filling in about 9 inches of the hole. Sprinkle 2 rounded tablespoons of fertilizer evenly over the hole. Using your hand evenly mix the fertilizer into the 9 inches of new garden soil. Do not mix it into the bottom level where you put the other tablespoons of fertilizer. Drop in about 2-3 shovels worth of the original dirt you put to the side and mix it evenly with the purchased garden soil. Yep, just blend it together.

You have now provided your tomato with ample growing room for its deeper roots. The purchased garden soil will ensure the soil has the right PH for growing tomatoes. There is no need for soil testing. The moisture control formulation with help prevent blossom end-rot then can occur from uneven watering.

Planting Squash and Cucumbers

It's been raining for 4 or 5 days here with more to come. Perhaps this much rain is great for the garden in the long run but it creates a wet soggy garden for planting squash and cucumbers. Squash and cucumbers love warm weather and now is the time to get a jump on planting them. Planting squash and cucumber seeds in wet cool soil 50 to 60 degrees often leads to rotting.

You can start the seeds outdoors in styro-foam cups. I don't recommend using the small seed trays because they give the roots little growing room and the plants suffer pretty severe transplant shock. The little cells are just to small. Use 20 oz. styro-foam cups.

Poke holes in the bottom of the cup. You don't want these seeds sitting in soggy water. Fill the cup to the top with garden soil and plant 2 seeds per cup. The cups are easily labeled. When the plants are 2 inches high, pinch the weakest off. The cup will allow a strong root system to grow and you can plant the plants directly into the garden without really disturbing the roots. If you want to grow 2 plants in one spot then keep the other plant. DON'T try and divide the two plants from one cup by breaking up the roots. It will shock the plants. It is not worth it. It will slow their growth as they recover.

If the nights get under 50 degrees, you can bring the cups into the house. Starting squashes and cucumbers outdoors using this method will give you a headstart.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Here Comes the Warm Season

I started writing Knols about a year ago. One Knol I wrote was on Cool Season Crops. The warm weather is moving into Maryland and that leaves about 4 more weeks for the cooler vegetables to finish up before the warmth begins to makes these crops bolt. Here are my Knols to bring this blog up to speed.

How to Grow A Salsa Garden
How to Plant a Tomato an Tend to Its Needs
Cool Weather Vegetable Gardening
Radishes
How to Create a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
Heirloom Vegetable Seeds
Starting Tomatoes Indoors

It is time to get those tomatoes in. The temperature at night is hovering at 50 degrees and the day temperatures are hitting 70 degrees. Peppers can also go in the ground although they like even more heat.

I start my tomatoes, peppers, herbs and many kinds of perennials indoors. This give something to do during January's freeze. I have about 400 plants outside in cups to be transplanted or sold at my annual plant yard sale. The yard sale give me some cash to buy those things I can't grow inside and cash for mulch, stakes and your basic garden supplies. You might want to think about a plant yard sale in your area. Everyone love gardening.

I'll be updating this blog weekly with pictures of plantings, pests, problem solutions and all things related to gardening.

Slugs. Anyone have a solution?