Posts Tagged tomatoes

Starting to get ready…(this post should have been posted on July 18)

Tomato Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm

So, I remember myself saying that,thank heavens I haven’t had any tomato hornworms, and lo and behold, what do I see staring right back into my face? You guessed it! The dreaded hornworm! I really could only find one, but it had made a great meal of the tomato plants so out the tomato plants have come. Unfortunatly, most of the heat had done them in.

So, out with the old, in with the new! It’s time to get ready for fall. YAY! My little tomato starts had to be restarted so they are about 10 days old right now, and looking good. All but 2 have sprouted. Which is a pretty great percentage, all in all. I hope to have some nice plants for next month. We shall see. I keep rotating them in the south facing window and in the mornings I put them out on the back patio. So they seem to be doing fine,with that.

Last year, in the winter, I decided to start some plants early, because I really had the spring planting bug, and all the plants sprouted, did fine, and looked wonderful. For about a month. Then, they all started wilting and dying. I discovered that they actually need some air blowing over them, like they would if they were outside, because otherwise they get wilt. Interesting.

Melon growing up a trellis.

Melon growing up a trellis.

The melons (canteloupe and watermelon) are really going to town right now! Love it! I discovered last year if I could just hold them through the squash bugs and the heat, that in late July early August, they would really take off. And that has held true this year again. So, my advice, when they look like they can’t hack it anymore, baby them along, and they will reward your efforts with more melons! Awesome little plants. I have a variety of melons out there right now. And the melon in the picture above just got picked yesterday. Tasted wonderful, too.

Zucchini

Zucchini

These new little zucchini plants are doing fine. And just when I was congratulating myself on gettng all those dreaded squash bugs, what do I find infesting one of my little plants? More of them. I am telling you, these things are everywhere. I just keep picking them off and putting them in my little jar and this does seem to be a good way of killing them, but not preventing them. How about a magic wand?

I used my first compost the other day in the old tomato bed. I pulled out some new compost from the bottom and integrated it into the bed. I think that bed needs some calcium. A few of the tomatoes had blossom end rot, which I think means the soil needs some calcium. That compost had some egg shells in it, so hopefully that will help.

 According to Mary Irish, in her book, “Gardeing in the Desert Southwest, you can plant fast maturing corn right now. So, that is what went into the old tomato bed. I haven’t really had much luck with corn fertilizing very well, eve though they are planted 4 across, 12 long. That should be sufficient according to all the literature I have read. I will let you know how it turns out. They are all just sprouting right now. I love to see those little plants poking themself up out of the dirt. I love to go out and count how many have come up since yesterday.

Last week I FINALLY got my automatic watering system put in. It works fabulous, except I need to adjust the length of time, I think. It’s only watering about 1 inch depth, instead of 2-3. But it does save me about an hour a day. Which is great, if you ask me.

With the kids back in school, and the weather not quite as hot, I am finding myelf thinking about what I will plant in October. Time to plan…

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Seed Starting Time

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner (I say that sort of tongue-in-cheek as we are definately in the throes of the summer heatwave). At least, I am dreaming it is. And with the fall, I will be starting some new tomato plants. Some people just cut theirs back and keep them, as they really aren’t annuals, although we treat them as if they were. But I always seem to do better with new plants, so that is what I am doing. I definately still have lots of new green fruit on the ones I have, so I won’t be pulling them out any time soon. However, I am thinking I would like these new plants to be plenty big by September, so I am starting seeds now. I am starting seeds instead of buying plants at the nursery, because I have decided that I really do prefer the flavor of heirloom tomatoes. It is so hard to describe the difference, but take my word for it, they are so much better. And because it is hard to find heirloom tomato plants, although it can be done, I am starting mine from seed. I have purchased some of my seed from local stores and some I have ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at this link: http://rareseeds.com/ And I recently came across this wonderful pdf file at http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/farmgirl-connection/. If you haven’t seen Mary Jane’s Farm magazine, it is definately one to check out. Love it! And they have an awesome forum. You do have to become a “farmgirl” but since I consider myself one that is living in the city, that was easy! The pdf file link is: http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/CaseysHeirloomTomatoesofAirdrie.pdf. It is full of really great pics of heirloom tomatoes. Love it too!

Listing of tomato plants started today in peat pots inside:

German Red Strawberry

Rutgers

Brandywine

Green Zebra

Sweetie

Big Beef

Sioux

Looking forward to watching them sprout!

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Let’s talk tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

It has been such a long time since my last post, but I have been so busy in the garden and canning, with everything else, that there hasn’t been a lot of time left for blogging! I have canned a total of 28 quarts of tomatoes so far. My family swears they hate tomatoes, and I have to constantly remind them that they LOVE salsa and spaghetti sauce and homemade soup, all of which require tomatoes. They sure have been wonderful to eat as a salad on their own and on a sandwich. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water…

June in the garden in Arizona is HOT, but today was a wonderfully overcast day and only in the 90’s. YAY! So, I did a little cleaning up and found a HUGE armenian cucumber! It was so huge I had to cut it in half to get it out from under the topiary I had them growing on. Of course, since it was about 6 inches in diameter, it was just big and pretty much hollow. So, I gave it to the chickens and they have been pecking at it all day!

Apricots are coming off like crazy right now. My in-laws have one tree that is covered. I received a bag of apricots from my sister-in-law and turned them into jam. That will be pretty tasty mixed with some honey and soy sauce and put over some pork to slow cook. Maybe I will cook that on Sunday for dinner.

Clean up in the garden today:

-pulled out the spent zucchini plants

-cleaned all the leaves out from under the eggplant

-fertilized the bell pepper plants (they needed it terribly)

-replanted cucumber (for pickles), melon & pumpkin

-harvested bush bean seeds for next year

-picked all the tomatoes off that were ripe

-harvested all the onions & few carrots that were left

-gave everything a good soak

-turned the compost pile

I can hardly wait for my new planters to arrive next week so I can put some zinnia seeds in them. It doesn’t feel like summer to me without zinnias.

I am on the hunt for some comfrey seeds because my daughter wants to grow some for her horse.  I’ve never grown it before, but if she is interested in it, we will try it…The things we do for our kids.

Until next time, happy growing.

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