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Saturday, July 31, 2010

1st Prize Hybrid Tomato

Here is a tomato from the 1st Prize Hybrid I grew. They had a woeful germination rate too. Might be time to find a new seed company. This plant is having some Early Blight issues. I have harvested a good amount but, I'm not sure if I will grow it next year. It is a large tasty fruit. Those are currant tomatoes for size comparison.

Update of the 2nd and 3rd Wave of Tomatoes

The 2nd wave is doing well. Here are two. I have three more for a total of 5.

Here are the 3rd wave of tomatoes that are cold tolerant varieties. They are growing more slowly then I expected. Unless the have a burst, I think I might be in trouble. They my not mature in time before the first frost.

Tomato Sun Scald Picture

When cutting back your tomato to make a barrier from the soil to the first leaves or when thinning the plant for air circulation, you have to be carful of exposing your tomatoes to the sun. If the tomato is exposed directly to the sun, it can get sun scald. It looks like this. On a green tomato it is usually a bleached looking white brown patch.

Sara's Galapagos Tomato Update

The fruits are red and very sweet. The best currant, I've tasted. It had a really bad germination rate. I will collect a lot of seeds and hope to bring it back next year.

What the Garden Produced in the Last 5 days

August is usually the killer time for my garden. By now I am tired of weeding and am using the weekends for family events. So, the weeds and chores pile up. Early Blight took 1 plant. I won't be growing that again. Sorry Aunt Gertie's Gold.

Pictures are fun. Here is what I got out of the garden this morning. Zuke bread and cucumber salads are the  plan.

Zuke, cukes, Bonnie Best, Delicious, Whopper, Black Cherry, Florida Basket Tomatoes.
Sweet Banana Peppers and Jalapenos

Never Got the Beans In: Busch Garden Flowers

Well, I haven't put the beans in. I plan on using this weekend to clean up the garden. I went to Busch Gardens. Here are some of the flowers. I usually take container garden pictures from these type of places. There just wasn't that much that impressed me, if any.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bush Beans: 55 days of Warmth?

You have about 5 days to decide if you want to get another round of bush beans in the ground. They take about 55 days to mature and continue to produce thereafter. You will have the heat of August to establish the plant. September does cool down but if we avoid a freak frost, the beans should be fine.

I will be removing my beets, kholrabi, and some determinate tomatoes. Bush beans will be a crop that goes in. I have only planted green beans later in the season but might try a few other different varieties. If my timing was perfect, I would have gotten the beans in last week. But that is life.

They need the heat to germinate and grow. We have that. Keep in mind we are hoping September keeps the night in the fifties or hotter.

TIP: Soak your bean seeds about 6-8 hours before planting. This will save you many days toward plant maturity. They will germinate much more quickly vs. waiting to absorb water and swell from the garden.

A Perspective on Time

Not everything that comes out of the garden is vegetables. Sometimes it is inspiration or a thought. Sometimes poetry, good or bad. Often we see time as a line. I think it is more circular. Like the seasons. So while you are weeding and combating pests, take the time to think. Who knows what you will come up with.

A Perspective on Time

If  I were measured in bloom,
my age would still progress.
The count would hold color and fragrance,
and time would be meaningless.

The snow would fall and the rains would come,
and Spring would again arrive.
If I were measured in bloom,
my soul would always thrive.

Copyright July 2010 Gary Pilarchik

Do It Yourself Wedding Planning

Do It Yourself Wedding Planning
Guest post written by Denise Burks

I decided to plan my own wedding after being unsatisfied with my wedding planner. I knew what I wanted so I decided to start searching online with satellite internet. My search was made easy with my hughs satellite internet AKconnection. I was overwhelmed with how many results I was able to find on local churches, receptions areas and florists that were a few minutes from my home.

Though I was a bit disappointed that I could not book my initial reception hall I was able to book my second choice through their easy reservation form. I found it incredibly useful being able to show my florist my flower selections with a simple email attachment. I kept in contact with each of my bridesmaids through instant messenger and planned my honeymoon online as well, which included a six-night seven day stay in Hawaii.

The hotel gave us a special wedding rate as well. I never felt so productive planning anything in my life. I especially liked that I could order all of my accessories and invitations online and could even get special discounted rates for ordering in bulk. When I had my planner the stores she took me to had limited supplies and I would have to wait for them to be ordered and for them to arrive at the location. I did not have that problem doing it on my own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Radishes and Cool Weather Planting

Radishes are fast growing vegetables that prefer the cool weather. Heat makes the grow too quickly. The root won't develop adequately in the heat. It tends to be small and woody. The leaves will take off to flower and turn to seed. We have time in Maryland to do several planting of radishes in mid August and September and even October. They have some resistance to frost. Timing is the key. You probably can get away with early August planting if you use shade to your benefit.

Radishes take about 28 days to 45 days to mature depending on the variety. If they aren't plump by the time the mature date comes, pull them. Rarely, will a radish that fails to mature by maturity date, mature at a future date. Right? If it's not ready about a week after the maturity date, just yank it.

Some favorite varieties of radishes that mature quickly. The seeds you buy in the Fall will be fine for Spring planting also.

The Cherry Belle is listed as 24 days to maturity. Your best bet is to plant it mid August, first week of September, middle of September, and first week of October. You could even try mid October if you feel lucky.

The French Breakfast is a classic. It is another 25 day, early maturing radish. I have the best luck with these. Planting is the same as the Cherry Belle.

Some different varieties if you are interested in color, taste and uniqueness.

Clean Up the Garden & Start Cool Weather Crops

July is coming to a close. There are plenty of weeds and spent plants that can be cleaned up. This is where I usually get tired and lazy and loose the garden maintenance battle. This year I am going to try and stay up on it.

Over the first two weeks of August, you can start planting you cool weather crops like lettuces, radishes, spinach and kales. The kales may not mature but they often make it through winter and you can harvest it in the spring. It our area September and October is usually great for greens and radishes as long as you get them in the ground in August.

Another round of beans can go in this week as well as fast growing vine crops. I plan to clean up the garden this week and figure out what  I will plant over the next two weeks. I think I, as well as others, really under-utilize the garden toward the end of the season.  I know I do.  I might even dabble with a cold frame for winter long greens.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Powdery Mildew Has Arrived!

It is on my cucumbers. They got sprayed with my standard sulfur spray this evening. I also sprayed my zukes and squash. When it arrives it arrives. The garden is over grown again with weeds and falling over stems. I was only gone 4 days from tending.

Powder mildew is very treatable. If you notice signs, treat immediately. This is one fungus, you can win the battle against.

Garden Poetry: Francis Kilvert's Diary

Francis Kilvert's Diary: May 1876

He wrote this 3 years before his death: 1840-1879. He was only 39. I edited the prose entry and changed the format into stanzas. I hope the things he saw, stayed with him. His ability to see, inspired me. The beauty of a garden is found by simply looking with your soul. To look upon life in this manner is to be alive.

Through the gate of a meadow,
I saw a cherry tree,
snowy with blossoms,
that scented the air.

Along the wild broken bank,
among the stems of the hawthorn hedge,
there grew a profusion of bluebells,
I never saw bluebells more beautiful.

They grew tall and stately,
singularly and in groups,
and sometimes in such a crowd,
that they filled the hallow places,
and deep shadows of the overarching hedge,
with a sweet  blue gloom and tender azure mist,
that floated among the young bright ferns.

Here or there a sunbeam found its way,
through a little window in the thick leafage over head,
singling out one bluebell amongst the crowd,
tipping the rich and heavily hanging clusters of bells,

Tipping it with a brilliant gleam and blue glory,
crowning the flower a queen,
among her ladies and handmaidens,
who stood in the background of green shade.

Used Gardening Books: A Victorian Posy: Poetry

When we go the the eastershore, there is a used book store I always visit. I look in three book sections; poetry, history and gardening. I found a book of poetry, A Victorian Posy: Penhaligon's Scented Treasury of Verse and Prose. A great book for $5. The poems and prose are garden themed. Full of color illustrations. A nice source of inspiration. No need to bore you with the history. I found some biographies.

The garden section is loaded with books from the last 75 years. Sometimes you find old magazines. I found my share of garden books and one interesting thing that occured was a flyer from Ortho was in one of the books. It was a garden tips/advertisement booklet. It is from the 70's and it was introducing a new vegetable to grow. KOHLRABI!, which I highlighted a few weeks back. I guess it caught on. Gardening doesn't change much over the years. The old books are filled with great timeless information and very cool photos. They are worth buying and even collecting.

Tomato Update: Waves 1, 2 and 3

I was away for the weekend. Dozen of tomatoes are ripe. Nice! The determinate plants are producing nicely and dying back. The indeterminates are growing with little strain from diseases and have lots of fruit. I hope to keep them going into the third week of August. The 2nd wave of tomatoes, planted in June, are 2 to 3 feet tall. Many of them have green tomatoes. I hope they last into September. The seedlings for the third wave are only an inch tall. I am hoping for a growth spurt. I may have started them too late. I may have found a tomato method for my area to keep tomatoes going till a hard frost. We will see.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tomato: Sara's Galapagos: Spotlight

That is the Sara's Galapagos variety indeterminate current type tomato. It is my first year growing it. So far I can say it is extremely cool. For two reasons. One, it grows quite easily though the germination rate was low. It doesn't seem,  I say doesn't seem, to be having problems with diseases. I am spraying it with sulfur spray as a precaution but aside from yellow bottom leaves, not much disease issue. Little if any evidence of early blight. The second reason, it's native to the Galapagos Islands and it has a different leaf scent compared to your standard tomato plants. It may not have a huge taste, as I read but I also read it is packed with vitamins above standard tomatoes. We will see. 

The plant above is contained in a cage and with a stake. I let it grow pretty much unpruned but for the bottom. It is growing like a weed and needs care to lift up its branches. Because it is truly a wild variety, I am trying not prune it much at all. I am going to keep it of the ground and keep air circulating around it.

There are hundreds of tomatoes on the plant. They have not ripened yet but should be on there way over the next week.

Some more information below from other sites: I am trying to confirm how many varieties of tomatoes are on the Galapagos. Seems like the information below may be for different varieties. We will see. I will review it after it bears ripe fruit.

Sara's Galapagos #3637 (30 seeds) $3.00  

NEW FOR 2010. This special currant tomato is only 1/2 inch wide, but packed with tons of sweet flavor in its very small size. The seed was originally collected in the wild by Amy Goldman on a trip to the Galapagos with her daughter Sara. Large plants are prolific, bearing long trusses of tiny red intensely flavored fruit. Indeterminate. 75 days.

A description from: http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/lycopersicon_cheesmanii.htm

A small wild tomato native to the Galapagos Islands. Fruits are small, somewhat like the currant tomato. They ripen to a yellow-orange color and are edible, with a good, typical acid tomato flavor. The plant is of particular interest for its resistance to a number of tomato pests and has been used to cross breed with regular tomatoes to confer desired traits.

Description: A bushy annual with a standard tomato growth habit. Plants may reach 3-5ft and are most similar to certain cherry tomato varieties in growth and fruit production. The Galapagos Island tomato is distinctive and ornamental in a tomato garden, having smaller, ruffled leaves and profuse flowers. Fruits ripen quickly, in 50-60 days and seem to enjoy hot weather to set

A blog entry from: community.stretcher.com/forums/t/17151.aspx

Thought I'd pass this on to anybody who likes cherry tomatoes, and is trying to grow them in dry, rocky areas. Try a variety called Wild Galapagos.

I saw this seed for sale last year (from Underwood), and they were outstanding.  New York got hit hard by late blight last year, and eventually it showed up in my garden.  Most of the varieties I grew got hammered, including almost all the heirlooms. But this one managed to fend off the worst of the disease.  It produces so well that even if you lose some tomatoes, there are plenty left to take their place.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tomato: Celebrity Determinate Type: A Review

Tomato Score: Celebrity Variety: Determinate

9.25 out of 10 tomatoes overall

10 out of 10 for taste
10 out of 10 for production
  9 out of 10 for usefulness in the kitchen
  8 out of 10 for disease and pest problems
  9 out of 10 for maintenance needs

Definite keeper and I will grow it next year.

Celebrity Determinate Variety

This is the tomato I started from seed and put in the ground in my hot-house tomato cage around April 4th. It is July 20th and I have picked a 1/2 of dozen or so tomatoes.

The fruit is sweet with a low acidity. The flesh is firm through the fruit. It is an all around great tomato for slicing, salsa, salads and to eat a lone with a bit of salt. It did get early blight. It did get a leaf curl that I want to call mosaic but I'm just not skilled enough to identify it 100%. It seemed to grow through the leaf curl and I didn't really prune off the early blight leaves. Typically, I do and did on my indeterminate varieties. I wanted to see how it would manage with spray and just bottom pruning.  I did spray heavily with wettable sulfur and I believe that slowed the process.

It is packed full of fruit. Over 30 just smaller then a baseball sized fruits. A lot more are growing on top. It could be managed with a tomato cage and a singles stake. This is a great tomato I will grow next year.

Planted April 4th

Wrapped in a hot-house cage

As of July 20th

Celebrity VFFNTA Hybrid #3980 (30 seeds) $3.55   .
A 1984 ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS WINNER. Absolutely incredible set of exceptionally flavorful, firm 8 to 12 oz. fruit on strong vines with good cover and outstanding disease resistance. Large clusters of consistently large, beautiful tomatoes. Determinate. 70 days. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden Soap Spray for Soft Bodied Insects: A Basic Recipe

Using a soap based spray kills the pests by dehydrating them. It also makes them cleaner and more appealing to the predator insects. Just kidding. Soap dehydrates. The question is how much soap do you use and what kind of soap do you use? There is hand soap and detergent soap. This recipe is based on dish washing soap or detergent soap such as Ivory or Dawn.

I have read 1 tablespoon per quart and 1 tablespoon per gallon. I have read up to 4 or 5 tablespoons per gallon and up to 12 drops per gallon. My recipe is based on what works for me. The general word is that 1% to 2% soap concentration as a total percentage of volume works best. Keep in mind 1% to 2% per quart is less than 1% to 2% per gallon, soap addition. Same percentage but more soap is needed in more water to maintain the percentage.

I also suggest you spray a few leaves of each vegetable plant to see if this formula recipe burns the plants you want to spray. You should know in about 3 days if it damages them. This is a good rule for any homemade spray you may use.

I also suggest making this in a gallon milk container. I would provide a quart recipe but who the heck can tend to a good size garden with a quart. You can always pour it into a quart spray bottle if needed. I typically make this directly in my sprayer container. This spray does not go bad. You can store it in the gallon milk container too.

Insecticidal Soap Spray: The Basic Recipe
2 tablespoons of detergent dish soap like Ivory or Dawn
1 gallon of water

Combine ingredients in a milk container and shake well. Transfer it to a spray bottle or larger sprayer as needed.

Some people have added vegetable oil, garlic, Tabasco and other ingredients to up the bang of the spray. I haven’t tried adding things. The soap is what dehydrates the pests.

Pest that are killed by this spray include small ants, aphids, fruit flies, leaf hoppers, spider mites, whiteflies and other soft bodied insects. Caterpillars aren’t really affected by soap.

I have also read it may help with diseases such as leaf spot, powdery mildew and rust.
You need to spray the insects for soap to work. Make sure you spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves. It is recommended you spray in the morning or the evening. Direct sunlight my increase the chances of burning your plants. I spray when I have the time and have not had any problems in my zone.
The soap does act almost immediately once it hits the insect. If you wish, you can rinse down your plants about 1 hour after spraying if you are concerned about leaf burn. Remember to test it out on some leave first before dowsing your entire garden.

Vaseline Flying Insect Garden Trap: Whiteflies

I came across this while searching ways to kill whiteflies. I am not an organic gardener, although I try to be at least an 80% organic or more and 20% or less other. I found this general recipe is several places. I modified it to hang above my kale.

Vaseline Sticky Trap

This is great for flying insects. It does work for whiteflies. It will not remove an entire infestation but it does reduce their numbers.
  1. 4" X 8" plastic card or realistically something yellow.  (poke a hole in one end)
  2. Yellow spray paint. It needs to be water proof.
  3. Vaseline or similiar. It is the sticky.
  4. String
  5. Sticks or similiar
You want to cut something in 4" X 8" rectangles. Is does not need to be flat. A milk jug is a good friend. Thick cardboard that won't get damage too much from rain is fine too. Yellow poster board probably works and you don't have to paint it. I made one to hang over each plant.

If it isn't yellow then you have spray paint it.

Cover your rectangle with vaseline on both sides. Be liberal. It is the sticky part of the sticky trap.

To mount it, you can tie a string to it and tie the card to a stick. It should hang just above the plants. This way the wind won't blow it into the plants. If you place it to the plant's side, the wind could blow it into the vegetable plant and it will stick to the leaves. Don't worry if it sticks to the stick. This isn't a pretty trap.

If you have a long row, you can put stakes at the beginning and end of your row and tie a string tightly between the stakes above your plants. Tie the traps to the strings so that they hang just above your plants.

Leave it there. The vaseline won't dry. You can change them when needed but they will last a very long time.

Behind on Garden Tasks as Always: Weeding, Pruning, Feeding

Well, mid July is time for liquid fertiziling or side dressing of most of my plants. Although I always have a plan, can write a plan, can tell other people how it should be generally done... I always get behind. But that is my gardening style, disorganized but effective.

I added larger stakes to my tomatoes. They out grew the smaller ones about 7 days ago. I have just been too busy to manage in a timely way. I took some pictures and will post the crazy tending. However, I do have 7 foot plants now. I have pruned heavily from the bottom up but have let a lot of suckers turn into branches. Oddly, enough it is working effectively. At last count I have well over 150 green tomatoes around baseball size. So it is effective, just not attractive or as I planned.

I had to pull my beans because I failed to harvest them quickly enough and they went to seed mode. They will be replanted. My cucumbers are doing very well. Lots of water. I lost 1 zuke to stem borers. I got behind on dropping Sevin dust on the stem by 10 days. After the last rain cleaned the plants, the borer got one.

I pulled out about 30 pounds of weeds and old plants, that's 2 large bag fulls - of refuse.

I liquid fertilized my cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I don't always do peppers but some seemed a little pale. The remaining zukes and squash got feed and so did my chard.

I am still behind but much closer. The tomatoes and peppers are all staked. Well 80% staked.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Recipe: Tomato, Cucumber and Squash Salad

No brain surgery here. What to do with all the produce that quickly comes in mid July? The good news is I am picking loads vegetables. The bad news, there isn't any. Making a vinegar and oil salad is the best way to eat your rewards quickly.

This is just a basic recipe. 1/4 cup red vinegar and 1/4 cup oil/olive is best. Salt and pepper to taste. If you like garlic, crush a clove in it. You can add onion too. Add more vinegar and oil to taste. This works best with red vinegar. Balsamic is best saved for other recipes.

This is the basic way I make a quick salad. Did you know that squash goes great in this type of salad. Just peel the skin if it is thick. And slice the squash as thinly as possible.

Here are the pics of my picks.

Yellow Crookneck Squash, White Button Squash
Celebrity, Florida Basket and Black Cherry Tomatoes
A cucumber of some variety

Slice up the tomatoes

Slice up the cucumbers and I used 1 yellow squash peeled.
Cut the squash as thin as you can.

Mix it together with 1/4 cup red vinegar and 1/4 cup oil.
Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Mix it by hand and crush the cucumbers gently.

Squash: Hubbard Orange Heirloom

The Hubbard squash is an Heirloom. It is believed to be named after Old Lady Hubbard of the 1840's but there is no proof. It is naturally born in blue and green. That variety is boasted as a bit more sweet and of heirloom origin. The yellow orange variety is said to be bred and though prettier perhaps a bit less sweet.

You need room for this squash to run. There are 3 large squash growing on this vine. It is one plant. And a few babies are starting. This squash is a winter squash which only means it typically can hold on into winter. Because of the thick rind, it is rumored to be able to sit in a cool dry place for 6 months. I don't tend to find out whether or not it is true. This is the first year I have had success with large squash. The key, I watered the Mother Hubbard out of it.

1 of 3 on the vine. It needs room to spread.

Growing in the midst of my grapes.

Two angles of the largest, growing beneath my grapes.

The other angle beneath the grapes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What the Kohlrabi is Going On!

It is tasty and very easy to grow. I recommend it highly. It has whiteflies on it but I treated it. It grows through slug attacks, whiteflies, drought and some shade. It is a easy grower. The taste... is like sweet cabbage and broccoli mixed. I peeled this one with a knife and ate it like an apple (about 30 minutes ago). It has great texture and taste.

It grows above ground. Only that root tip is in the ground.

These are the leaves. Battered but they support growth.

A picture of the vegetable. It grows fully above ground

Pictures of My Tomatoes as of July 15th

I have been eating tomatoes from the Celebrity determinate variety I planted with a hot-house cage in April. I have also picked fruit from the Florida Basket variety. There are many large green tomatoes and the Black Cherry has fruit. You will notice yellow leaves with brown spots. Early Blight? Of course not because I am in denial. I did spray last night with sulfur spray. And the green fruits are large which means they will be red before EB could (If I had it) kill the plant.

Celebrity Determinate. Planted April 4th in Hot-House Cage

1st Prize. A variety I sold.

Bonnie Best 

Black Cherry

Delicious Indeterminate 1-2 pound fruit. Ugly but Tasty

Florida Basket Determinate. There are three plants in there.

2nd Wave Planting. To thrive when the other die out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rain, Sulfur Spray and Tomatoes: It's Early Blight conditions.

The rain is effectively removing all sprays. I didn't spray yesterday and a good thing... it poured. I'll have to spray today. July is the time of Early Blight. Wet leaves promote EB. Humidity promotes EB. We have it all going on now. They will get a sulfur spray and aspirin spray today. I have to say the yellow leaves aren't returing on the tomatoes I pruned and the yellow leaves with spots, I left on the determinates, actually quickly dried out and browned away after the last sulfur spray. There aren't new yellow leaves with brown spots on those plants. Not sure what to make of it. But it doesn't seem to be spreading. Whiteflies, still present. Soap spray for them. I assume I have to keep up the spray on the whiteflies to beat the egg cycle.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Tomato Haiku's

Green to orange reds.
The taste exceeds the scent.
An effort rewarded.

The garden celebrates,
bearing handmade gifts,
of red and orange strokes.

Well, my attempt to win an iPad.

Tomato Haiku Contest: Win an iPad

Tomato Haiku Contest at Bookfool

Here is the link to a Tomato Haiku Contest that ends July 31st. Here is the article copied from the above link. I figured it might be a way to win a prize off your gardening interest.

Tomato haiku?

The Grand Prize is an iPad?
Sounds like fun to me!

Ladies and Gentlemen. Step right up for this year’s Hot Tomato Haiku Contest! For the third year in a row, Nashville’s Tomato Art Fest plays host to the hottest, rowdiest haiku contest in the South. If you’ve got the poetic urge, why not vent it with us?

Prizes for this year’s winning haiku include an iPad® for Best of Show, gift certificates to local shops for each Category winner, and the people’s ovation and fame forever! (Download this year’s flyer here.)
The 2009 winners can be found here.
The deadline for entries is Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 11:59pm (CST).


Each haiku must be tomato-related and must be entered in one of the five categories below. Though our first two categories reward serious observation of the art of the haiku, the next two wander into sillier territory. And don’t forget to let your kids in on the action!

Bashō’s Beefsteak — Sincere, ardent, traditional . . . reminiscent of haiku genius Bashō.

Formal Champion — Surprise and delight us with your innovations in form.

Plum Humorous — Make us grin.

Stinky Tomato — Your worst, most rotten haiku.

Fried Green Haiku — For kids up to age 12.

The winner in each category will receive a gift certificate to a local shop (TBD) and will be invited to read the winning haiku on stage at the Tomato Art Fest Award Ceremony (Nashville, August 14th). Best in Show will win an iPad (yes, really!) and may come from any of the five categories.

Rules and How to Enter

Have fun with it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither should you!

Haiku must be in English and must be related to tomatoes in some way.

Generally speaking, haiku submissions should observe the use of three (or fewer) lines of 17 or fewer syllables. The 5-7-5 pattern of syllables is a good place to start, though intentional, thoughtful formal innovation is encouraged.

All submissions should be family friendly.

The deadline for entries is Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 11:59pm (CST).

Enter up to 10 haiku total to this year’s contest (through the form below).

Submit only one haiku at a time

We need your name and contact information so we can notify you if you’ve won. We will never sell your info or spam you in any way.

Kids under 12 must get their parents’ permission to participate. Parents may help submit their child’s haiku, but parents should not influence their child’s writing beyond a basic explanation of what a haiku is.

You do not need to be present to win, but winners should be ready to read their winning haiku at this year’s Tomato Art Fest (August 14th, Nashville, TN).

You may resubmit a haiku from past years as long as it wasn’t chosen for the Top 10 in any category.

By entering, you agree to be bound by the Legal Agreement at the bottom of this page.

Whiteflies are Back! and Sulfur Spray Again

They never left. They just departed to spread out. They were off my Kale. I checked it. But I didn't check for eggs. I don't know enough about their cycle. Anyway... Kale, Russian Kale and Kohlrabi all have whiteflies.

Yesterday I made the oil and soap spray and hit them. Of course a huge rain followed last night. Anyone know a sure fire way to kill off whiteflies?

On a good note, not to jinx myself, no new yellow leaves and spots on my pruned tomatoes.

Tonight, aside for work on the basement, sulfur spray and soap spray. This is my third sulfur spray in a week. That's not the normal plan but with two huge rains, I have to repeat.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pictures of the 2nd Wave of Tomatoes

This is the 2nd wave of tomatoes.  There is a pile of leaves I just pruned to make space beneath the plants to control disease. This second wave went in around June 22nd. They were transplants.

This is the 1st wave of tomatoes. I pruned them a few days ago. I removed more bottom leaves and the yellow spotted leaves. They went in the ground mid May.

The third wave is in styo-foam cups. They are the cold tolerant tomatoes. I cleared the yellow leaves off my plants a few days ago. I just finished applying another round of sulfur spray on them. The rain was great but of course it washed off my sulfur. I am hoping to prevent Early Blight from taking hold.

We will see.

Another group of 1st wave tomatoes. You can see the one on the right was heavily pruned. It is the Delicious variety.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Whiteflies and the Garden: General Update

No more whiteflies. I checked under the leaves etc. There maybe some hidden pockets but... Sevin did actually work. Life is getting in the way to maintain the garden as I wish but well... that's life. So I never put the soap spray on them. The death of the whiteflies is due to 2 dousings of Sevin.The drawback is I can't eat the vegetables without cleaning them.

I did manage to put another round of sulfur spray on the tomatoes last night as a prevention to Early Blight. I think it has arrived. Some of my tomatoes have leaves turning yellow with brown circles. I'll get pictures up later. I'm not sure how tomato leaves die normally. I suspect some of my determinate plants are max out and starting to fade. Do they just yellow and brown? Or do the decay in a way that might look like beginnings of EB. I haven't found a website with great pictures yet or a video on EB or naturally death of a tomato.

The heat is a killer. My plants are only surviving because they get a huge soaking every other day. I hope everyone else is fairing well with their gardens. I hope to weed, remove yellow leaves, and clean up the garden and yard this weekend.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Garden Pest

Planting Cold Weather Tomato Seeds in July: The Third Wave

Maybe tomato seeds don't germinate in 100 degree heat. My plan is to plant cold weather tolerant tomatoes in July and tend them through to the first hard frost. I know my May tomatoes will be disease beaten or sun beaten come mid August and pretty much can be pulled by months end. Some of the cherry tomatoes survive every year into September. This year I figured, I would plant a third wave of cold tolerant tomatoes.

I ordered and planted the following varieties:

Sub Arctic Max: 62 day determinate. Bred for extremely cold climates. Dwarf vines of 2 1/2 oz fruits.

Oregon Spring V: 58 day determinate. Develop by Oregon University for short season gardeners. Medium to large fruit.

Silvery Fir Tree: 58 day indeterminate. Delicate lacy leaves with a silver sheen. 3 inch fruit from Russia.

Polar Baby: 60 day determinate. Very small plant that bear large harvest of 2 inch fruits. Developed in Alaska for cold weather.

Glacier: 58 day determinate. Sets fruit well in cold weather. Comes loaded with 2 -3 oz fruit. Potato leaf foliage.

Now I have a Russian Heirloom, a few bred specifics for cold, 2 unique foliages, both determinates & indeterminates and a variety of tomato sizes.  I figure that was the easy part.

Here is how I am starting them as of July 7th. They will be started and kept outdoors.

The five seed varieties, a baking tin and 8 oz styro-foam cups.

It is important to label both the side and bottom of the cup. Experience has taught me that the sun can erase the dye of permanent markers. Make sure you put 2 or 3 holes in the bottom of the cup. The plants will be watered from the bottom.

You want to pack the soil into the cup. I am using 50% Miracle Grow garden soil and 50% peat-moss. Press a finger in the center to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I planted 2 seeds in each hole and will thin to keep the strongest.

I forgot I could only get 24 cups per tray. I  have 6 cups for 1 variety, 5 cups for 3 varieties and 3 cups for 1 variety. In the cup of 3 I did 2 holes in each and will keep the 2 plants growing in each cup.

The tray got filled with water. I will keep the try filled in the 90 degree heat. The experiment has launched. I will have extra plants for any locals.

Water is an Issue Now: Deep Soaking & 2nd Wave of Cukes and Zukes

Well we all know water/rain is scarce in the Maryland area. If your zukes, cukes and squash plants are looking yellow and burned, it is the heat and lack of deep water. FYI - with this heat the plants need deep soil soaking to survive. Sprinkle watering is pretty useless and a waste of resources right now. Putting the hose on the stem of the plant and letting in run 5 to 10 minutes is an absolute must in this heat and lack of soaking rain. All the plants really need this deep soaking.

Deep spot watering not only gives your plants the water they need but it cuts down on splash for disease prevention and it will help kill off weeds. If you aren't watering the weeds with mass sprinkling, they will die.

If you haven't already planted another wave of cukes and zukes. You have plenty of time. I will also be starting another wave of these plants in styro-foam cups. Keep your garden going into October, plant waves.

The Tomato Seeds Arrived & Whiteflies Survive.

The whiteflies are less abundant on the Kale, so the Sevin must be working. However, while spending an hour watering, I noticed them in other places. Maybe they just moved? Argh! Never had whiteflies, never want them again. I ran out of time to mix soap spray, so I gave the plants another shot of Sevin. What do I miss most? Now I can't just eat the vegetables off the plants as I normally do. Tonight, sulfur for blight, and soap for the damn flies. That, by the way live under the leaves so spraying is even more difficult.

My tomato seeds arrived for my third planting of tomatoes. I am working on a cold weather project. The seeds I bought are fast growing cold liking tomatoes. I will be planting them in 8 oz styro-foam cups out side. They will sit in a reservoir tray. The heat is a killer. No significant rain in weeks and none on the way. I will be doing a picture gallery for the tomatoes later this week.

I noticed my tomatoes from the late wave I planted 3 weeks ago are taking off. I think a later planting will work just fine.

Maintaining Your Garden, Maintaining Your Vehicle

Gardening is an investment in time. We all know the benefits of gardening. I am currently battling maintaining my garden, be it the coming of early blight disease or the whitefly infestation I have now. In order to maintain my garden, I need information.  Looking at most of our major investments in life, maintaining them is often the hardest part. A great website I found for maintaining your vehicle is Repairpal. They state they take the mystery out of auto repair. And they absolutely do! They aren't selling you anything but offer you information about all aspects of auto-repair. Information is a good thing.

The website is easy to navigate and you can find information about problems found in new vehicles to estimates for potential car repairs. You can actually enter all the information about your vehicle and the potential repair and get a cost range. You can take the range to your local service shop. Want to know what problems may come with a Ford F-150 or what a repair on a (my car) Honda Accord fuel injector would cost? If you just need plan information to figure out what the check engine light means - you can find everything there.

Many of us travel, and are lucky enough to have access to the web, right from our phones. Not only is repairpal great for telling you where you can get services for your cars when you are at home but you can find repair services all over the US.  Suppose you are traveling in San Diego and run into a problem with your vehicle. The greatest chance to spend more money then needed is when your stuck in a pinch in a strange location. You can go to the site and find San Diego auto repair. It is a bit of a drive to San Diego from our area but you can easily search any location for an auto shop nearest you. Information is the key to paying less. Less money spent on maintaining your car, means more money for gardening.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Whiteflies: Okay How Do I Kill Them?

Here is a link that provides good information about whiteflies and an interesting concept that using Sevin, as I did, will flare-up and not fix the problem. (UPDATE 7/8. The Sevin killed them)

Basically, it suggests Sevin and other insecticides don't work and kill the beneficially insects that feed on them. Well, I used Sevin spray yesterday and the day before. I will have to check this evening to see if they persist. The one thing to note is that the infestation was/is big. So, if I did kill any benefecial insects, they weren't doing a thing to help up otherwise.

Like I wrote earlier, I never had whiteflies. This has to be the worst year for bugs and now 2 weeks without rain. Tough gardening this year in Maryland. Soon the blight will or will not show its ugly yellow spots.

Here is the complexity of the problem, what do I use? This article suggest Sevin is fine.
This link has some great pictures and details about the whitefiles and treatment http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg254

Here is a bit from the above link:

Who wants to bet I have this variety. I'll be making some home-made soap tonight.

If the whitefly species is hard to control with these products, then it may be the silverleaf species, or QBiotype. Soap or oil sprays are the most effective for homeowners to use against this particular whitefly and are safe to people and the environment. Follow label directions. Thorough coverage on the undersides of the leaves to the point of run-off is especially important when using soap or oil sprays. If a commercial soap or oil is not available, a homemade mixture can be made by mixing 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid (do not use those containing a degreaser or an automatic dishwashing soap or detergent) and 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil per gallon of water. Repeat at weekly intervals as needed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Whiteflies on My Kale: Argh!

What a year. I just went and watered my garden. All without splashing soil and wetting leaves. My concern is not to splashing soil and transmitting  early blight. What do I find? White flies on my kale. I have never had them before. This has to be the worst year for bugs and disease since I have been gardening here. I took out the heavy artillery which is Sevin dust or is it Sevn dust. Anyway, I use that for all my bug killing issues.

I also removed the tomatoes that were showing signs of distorted leaves. I planned plots for next year for tomatoes. I will be moving or partially rotating crops next year. Luckily, I have 9 huge healthy tomato plants.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Florida Basket Tomatoes and Self Water Container

Here is the semi self watering container I built. The construction blog is a few blogs back. The container is two buckets. There is pebble reservoir in the system.

The tomatoes are Florida Basket tomatoes. I have three planted in there. Yep, three. The container held its own for 4 days last week when I was away. Sunny and 90+ degrees. The deck gets 8 hours of sun. The plant was slightly stressed. I will be giving it some Miracle Grow and keeping it moist. You can see all the tomatoes on it. I will be growing a lot of these next year. I highly recommend the Florida Basket variety for deck containers.

Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Perennials

Well I am lucky enough I guess to have multiple beds. Here are 3 tomatoes plants that are doing extremely well, my cucumber wall and the perennial bed I use to attract insects. Hopefully beneficials ones.

Tomato Mosaic Virus

My Tomato and It's Distorted Leaves

I continue to search for the answer to my distorted leaves symptom. I'm sure it is mosaic virus. I found it at this web-site below. The third picture there is what my leaves look like. It is a virus. It is spread by insects but also by human hands and tools. It can stay in the soil.

During June I noticed an increase of insects. I noticed a plant I bought had curled/distorted leaves. I also noticed the same problem with plants I bought last year. Both from the same store. The insects probably spread the virus. Realistically to plants I also sold.

My options are to pull infected plants and let those beds rest a year. I could steam the ground, yeah right. I've decided I will solarize them. I will have time to do this next year before planting in there. I will also plant - plants that don't get mosaic virus in those beds.

All my seed starting gear will be soak in a bleach solution and put away. I will only be using peat-moss next year for starting seeds. The peat-moss isn't sterile but it is dried at a good temperature and thus it has never had insects or weed seeds in it when I have used it in the past. Used only 100% peat-moss that is. Why do this? The mixed soils that aren't sterile could be the cause of the problems I am having. I used a mix of peat and other materials this year. They were Sta-Green which sucks and Miracle Grow soils which I like. Sta-Green was too woody and I think the cause of insects. Though I have no proof. June was really bad for bugs.

www.semena.org has pictures and the information below is from that site.


Typical symptoms include a light and dark green mottling of the leaf tissue and stunting of the plant. Foliar symptoms can vary from a chlorotic mottling to necrosis as well as upward leaf rolling and stem streaking depending on which strain of ToMV infects the plant. During cool temperatures leaves may develop a "fernleaf appearance where the leaf blade is greatly reduced, while during high temperatures foliar symptoms may be masked. Occasionally the fruit will show disease symptoms which vary from an uneven ripening to an internal browning of the fruit wall (brown wall). Brown wall typically occurs on the fruit of the first two clusters and appears several days prior to foliar symptoms. Under certain environmental conditions some varieties with resistance (heterozygous) to ToMV will show necrotic streaks or spots on the stem, petiole, and foliage as well as on the fruit.

Conditions for Disease Development:

ToMV has a wide host range including many agricultural crops and weeds, all of which can serve as inoculum sources. It is readily transmitted by machinery or workers from infected to healthy plants during handling. Infested debris from a previous crop can lead to infection when the roots of the new tomato plants come in contact with the debris. Chewing insects can transmit the virus, but are not considered a major source of infection. Tomato seed can carry the virus, but actual infection is thought to occur when plants are thinned or transplanted.

The use of ToMV resistant varieties is the best way to reduce losses from this disease. Avoid planting in soil from previous crops that were infected with ToMV. Steam sterilizing the potting soil and containers as well as all equipment after each crop can reduce disease incidence. Before handling containers or plants be sure all workers wash with soap and water. Sterilizing pruning utensils or snapping off suckers without touching the plant instead of knife pruning help reduce disease incidence. Direct seeding in the field will reduce the spread of ToMV.