Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1   Report Post  
Old 17-09-2003, 10:42 PM
DigitalVinyl
 
Posts: n/a
Default end of season issues/observations/questions -

This is the end of my first year gardening and despites blunders and
the wet/cold spring I'm very happy with what I've learned and done.
(Learning was a major goal since I had the time this year)

I've noticed some things and have some musings which I'd like to
share.. hey I'm unemployed...i've got time to kill :-)

I've got an indetermine tomato(Burpee 4th of July) that just won't
quit. Picking 20 tomatoes today I noticed a whitefly problem. They
would flit about any time I disturbed the bushes.

I noticed aphids were the big thing in spring. Beginning of summer saw
more catepillars and worms. Late in summer I saw more beetles. Now I'm
seeing whiteflys and a lot of spider webs on everything, not just
plants.

- Generally speaking are these consistent patterns?
- Do you tend to deal with bugs at certain parts of the season?
aphids early, catepillars, beetles, whiteflys, spiders late?

Back to the tomatoes, I've got a Burpee Health Kick plum determinate
(right next to fourth). This one seems to be dying off. I've had 4-5
full sized plums on it for two weeks that still are half red. I just
spotted a tiny grape-sized one that is going red. I still have several
clusters of whitish-green ones growing. This plant is black and yellow
spotted from some problem I never ID'd. Is there anything I can do to
help it along. I'm wondering if this variety needs better warmth to
ripen (I'll try using row cover by late afternoon to keep today's heat
overnight.) The 4th of july is healthy and also in a corner next to
stone walls so it may be keeping warmer.

- Will a determinate just stop/stall growing and ripening?
The last week has been about 60-65 at night, with some a little
warmer/muggier. But we've had 78-82 during the day. So i didn't think
that would stop the plants yet.

- WHen do pepper plants give out?
- Since I couldn't plant peppers till nighttime was 55, does that mean
peppers will stop growing when night dips to 55 again?

I've noticed that two bells and my hots all lost the dark green color
in the leaves and became paler green. I'm assuming this is the natural
signal that the plants are done and not a problem?

My biggest pepper plants are putting out all new peppers. I'm really
shocked at how many they are growing and how much bigger they grew
than my other peppers. One of them produced only four during the
summer but now has about 8 decent ones going, plus some tiny ones and
flowers still. The largest is 2 1/2 feet wide and as high and didn't
produce any peppers until I pulled a green one Labor Day. It has 15-20
on it easily and keeps throwing out flowers.

- Do any anally obsessive gardeners count/weigh their harvest like me?
(yes I actual record in Excel how many I harvest each day!)
- What would an average Jalapeno plant produce? Mine only produce 14
peppers. However, I raise these from seed and sunburned the seedlings.
They didn't get enough light either before being transplanted. Next
year I want a lot more jalapenos so I will grow 2-3 plants. I'll also
understand the seedling stages MUCH better.


The rest is just my experience with certain techniques, suggestions


Books
=======
- McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container (EXCELLENT)
- Bartholemew's Square Foot Gardening (VERY GOOD but 20 years old,
read his website for things he has changed, Also dwells on certain
aspects too much, really tries to sell ideas repeatedly)
- Bird's Cubed Foot Gardening (FAIR, there are better more complete
books, bought online, wouldn't have if I saw it first)
- James Baker's books - he has bunches. Too much of his stuff is too
"bumpkin" (hang dirty underwear outside to ward off animals, change
them frequently to keep the smell "ripe"). The home remedies use beer,
epsom salts, pantyhose, bourbon, baby shampoo, ammonia, castor oil,
peppermint oil, molasses. While these things are common in some houses
I don't have any of them--which means I need to buy them just for
these recipes. That said I did try his spray for aphids and it did
work. The plants weren't hurt despite drowning them. The garden reaked
of onion and garlic (part of the spray) which made me very hungry. I
use a store bought spray when the aphids came back. Unfortunately I
didn't read well enough and sprayed the plant during the day.
Apparently in the sun this spray cooks your plants. The next day the
two plants were dead and still convered in black aphids. Baker's spray
had no such worries. I would try more of his mixes--I'm looking at his
whitefly one now. But his writing style is a bit hokey, so they are
less appealing. ALso much of the general info in these books was
discussed in Bountiful Container or Sq. Ft. Gardenign.


GERMINATION
==============
Soaking seeds worked GREAT! Unless the seed warns against it, soaking
them for 12-24 hours really worked well for MOST seeds. Longer and
some seeds will start sprouting. Sprouted seeds almost totally fail
when planted. I soaked them in weak chamomile "tea" ("supposedly"
fights damping off). I also soaked them in room temperature water. I
used ice cube trays with a piece of tape on one end(for orientation).
I then made a chart to keep track of the twelve different seeds I was
soaking. I took my three ice cube trays out to the gardeon, using an
oversized eyedropper, pickup seeds and water, then seed them in the
ground. Worked well for tiny seeds too. Big ones I just finger out,
but needed to keep drying my finger to keep dirt off.

Some recommended soaking them in the fridge. My seeds are refrigerated
now so I don't think that will be important in the future. However,
refridgerated seeds definitely germinated quickly for me outside. The
temperature change WORKS! I planted lettuces, spinach, brocoli and all
germinated within 3-5 days...damn near 100%.


HARDENING OFF
=============
I messed this up. The whole take them in and out, keep them in shade
then a little weak sun then more deal. Seems too easy to miss judge. I
sunburned most of my potted seedlings. Next year I'm just gonna put
them on the porch for two weeks. I'll put a garden row curtain around
them to avoid harsh sun and store extra warmth the first week. Then
just keep the hardiest. If it is real bad I can take them in, but I
think treating it as survival of the fittest might be the way to go.


INTERPLANTING & COMPANIONS
===========================
I mixed lots of diffrent stuff together. Short carrots & radishes too
closely surrounding young tomato and pepper plant. If you time it
right the carrots & radishes will be gone before the tomato/peppers
real get growing. Supposedly loosens the soils. I grew lettuce, peas
and herbs inbetween and in corners of pots with peppers and tomatoes.
The snap peas that lived looked great and produced then died off very
quickly-- it was getting into summer and heat may have killed them.

I grew marigolds, calendulas, nasturtiums, petunia and sweet alyssum
around the bed with onions & garlic. All "companions" to the others.
The Nasturtium WORKED as a trap crop for APhids. I WILL plant them
again. The alyssums, marigold and petunias weren't heavily visited by
bugs, but I had no shortage of them in the gardens. They were on the
Calendulas a lot. I didn't have spidermites (yet) but I now have
whiteflies on the tomatoes. Whether the mix truly helped I have no
idea. It makes sense to mix it up to me and it looked awesome once all
the flowers filled out. The onions and garlic didn't work. Some got
crowded out. Some never sprouted. Sone grew small ping-pong sized
bulbs. I will be trying to do some for real next year and much more
scallions.


WATER MAINTENANCE
===================
I used a number of self-watering containers, hydro mats and Terrasorb
crystals to help offfset watering needs and as insurance if I returned
to work and started neglecting the garden.

The hydro mats work too well. You put these "diaper" sheets at the
base of a pot and they retain water heavily and leech it back to the
soil as it dries. Too-moist soil was a problem in most of the plastic
pots with this. I actually had two tiny mushrooms grow out the side
drainage hole on one pot. You need to back off some on watering. The
two 5" clay pots did hold up better and suffer less wilt when I used
the hydro mat. Roots will go thru/around the mat. SO I'd say they
worked well.

I also mix TerraSorb crystals into the ground as well as pots.
ALthough they obviously do absorb water, judging the effects of this
is difficult. The goal was to provide a more even water availability
throughout the rootzone. For the ground where I added them along with
peat & humus I had no wilting. I only had six tomatoes(out of 120)
split open and 4 were after this last soggy weekend. My landlord had
many with concentric and/or radial cracking.



SELF WATERING CONTAINER EXPERIENCE
==================================
The self-watering can actually over water the plants. Mold was a
problem early in the season. Much like the the way you water regular
plants it is best to let the self watering dry down the reservoir and
let the dirt dry slightly. Keeping the reservoir filled in spring
created molds. During summer these worked well. None of the plants
wilted even during our heat wave and a five day vacation wasn't a
problem (although both at the same time might have been rough. I did
not add fertilizer to the soils before planting but relied on mostly
liquid fertilizers. I think this was a mistake. The SWC's recommend
very light soils that are absorbant so I avoided adding manure,
compost, and dry fertilizer amendments. Next year I will be treating
them more like the ground garden, more fertilizing components mixed
into the root zone--I think that was important.

In Self Watering containers I grew 6ft corn, baby bear pumkins,
potatoes, four kinds of peppers, burpee burger tomatoes, snow peas,
snap peas, 2 lettuces, dill & sage. Each of the large plants had
about close to a sq.ft of space (10" deep).

The corn were planted with only 6-8" squared (8" recommend for this
variety). I screwed the corn by using hi-P fertilizer and not hi-N. It
looked beautiful and healthy, about an inch thick at the base. The
tassels came out with no cobs or silks until a month later.

The tomato, snowpeas & bell pepper were hit by molds in may/june and
the snow peas died. The tomato (3' high) suffered from vermicillium
wilt-the one plant will probably finish producing 5-6 lbs of 5-6oz.
fruits(slighlty smaller than expected).

The bell pepper had a lot of mold and the bush was this short squat
tight thing with ten peppers growing into eachother. Like the tomatoes
the peppers were stunted in size.

The hot peppers produced 14 jalapeno and 30 cayenne. While reasonable
I think that is lower than others experience.



DIGGING DEEP AND AMENDMENTS
============================
To prep my one ground plot I dug out the top 18", sifted for rocks,
tossed out the worst 2" of clay at bottom, added peat, composted
manure, composted humus, vermiculite, terrasorb (water retention
crystals that break down into potassium), bloodmeal & bonemeal. I
mixed it all up and put the dirt back.

My landlords joked, "dirt is dirt". Meanwhile all the plants grown in
that spot grew like crazy. My tomato bush was over five feet tall and
my 15" sq cage disappeared inside the bush (the glavinized metal never
burned the plant as some people complained about metal cages). It has
produced 46 plum tomatoes(11.5 lbs). My fourth of July has produced 74
tomatoes (9.25 lbs). My two tomato plants outproduced my landlord's
nine plants. (no it wasn't a competition, but yes I enjoyed it!) His
actually seem a little sickly..lots of uneven ripening, scaring around
the stem, rot spots, concentric cracks as well as radial cracking on
many. I think he's depleted his soil of something-no amendments,
little fertilizer.

My pepper plant is the huge one but it is growing late in the season.
It seems it spent the most time growing in size and leaves (too much
nitrogen). If the peppers mature it will outproduce all the peppers
from three other plants so far. Unlike the others it still has lush
dark green leaves.

I'd like to believe that all the work I did made a big difference, not
just the added fertilizer (bonemeal/bloodmeal/manure). Obviously the
root zone was big because I got big plants--and most of you would tell
me I crowded them. I gave the fourth a sq ft and the burger bush 2' x
1.5' I grew radish within 6" of the main stem early on. Carrots at 6"
& 9" from the plants and rows of lettuce between them. The front of
the bed had three 3" rows of flowers which overran eachother. THey
litterally spilled past the edge and covered the first 6-9" of the
walk. My Alyssum(3-4" tall) were 12-15" long cause they stretch out
past the marigolds, calendulas and nasturtiums to reach for sun.
Everything grew so fast much that some fingerling carrots were starved
for sun. Onions and garlics, thyme, parsley, chives were interplanted.
Mostly they were overwhelmed. Thyme and some petunias suddenly died
when a Cicada Wasp built nests under them.


DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, 1 mile off L.I.Sound
1st Year Gardener

  #2   Report Post  
Old 18-09-2003, 09:22 AM
J. Lane
 
Posts: n/a
Default end of season issues/observations/questions -

WHEW! That was a long read Digital. Glad you had a good year and hope you
have a better one next year. Although I don't record my crops and yeilds, it
helps to realize what is to be expected from your plantings in the future
and what bugs etc., you were plagued with and how you coped with them. Good
luck !
--
Jayel,
Baji-naji
"DigitalVinyl" wrote in message
...
This is the end of my first year gardening and despites blunders and
the wet/cold spring I'm very happy with what I've learned and done.
(Learning was a major goal since I had the time this year)

I've noticed some things and have some musings which I'd like to
share.. hey I'm unemployed...i've got time to kill :-)

I've got an indetermine tomato(Burpee 4th of July) that just won't
quit. Picking 20 tomatoes today I noticed a whitefly problem. They
would flit about any time I disturbed the bushes.

I noticed aphids were the big thing in spring. Beginning of summer saw
more catepillars and worms. Late in summer I saw more beetles. Now I'm
seeing whiteflys and a lot of spider webs on everything, not just
plants.

- Generally speaking are these consistent patterns?
- Do you tend to deal with bugs at certain parts of the season?
aphids early, catepillars, beetles, whiteflys, spiders late?

Back to the tomatoes, I've got a Burpee Health Kick plum determinate
(right next to fourth). This one seems to be dying off. I've had 4-5
full sized plums on it for two weeks that still are half red. I just
spotted a tiny grape-sized one that is going red. I still have several
clusters of whitish-green ones growing. This plant is black and yellow
spotted from some problem I never ID'd. Is there anything I can do to
help it along. I'm wondering if this variety needs better warmth to
ripen (I'll try using row cover by late afternoon to keep today's heat
overnight.) The 4th of july is healthy and also in a corner next to
stone walls so it may be keeping warmer.

- Will a determinate just stop/stall growing and ripening?
The last week has been about 60-65 at night, with some a little
warmer/muggier. But we've had 78-82 during the day. So i didn't think
that would stop the plants yet.

- WHen do pepper plants give out?
- Since I couldn't plant peppers till nighttime was 55, does that mean
peppers will stop growing when night dips to 55 again?

I've noticed that two bells and my hots all lost the dark green color
in the leaves and became paler green. I'm assuming this is the natural
signal that the plants are done and not a problem?

My biggest pepper plants are putting out all new peppers. I'm really
shocked at how many they are growing and how much bigger they grew
than my other peppers. One of them produced only four during the
summer but now has about 8 decent ones going, plus some tiny ones and
flowers still. The largest is 2 1/2 feet wide and as high and didn't
produce any peppers until I pulled a green one Labor Day. It has 15-20
on it easily and keeps throwing out flowers.

- Do any anally obsessive gardeners count/weigh their harvest like me?
(yes I actual record in Excel how many I harvest each day!)
- What would an average Jalapeno plant produce? Mine only produce 14
peppers. However, I raise these from seed and sunburned the seedlings.
They didn't get enough light either before being transplanted. Next
year I want a lot more jalapenos so I will grow 2-3 plants. I'll also
understand the seedling stages MUCH better.


The rest is just my experience with certain techniques, suggestions


Books
=======
- McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container (EXCELLENT)
- Bartholemew's Square Foot Gardening (VERY GOOD but 20 years old,
read his website for things he has changed, Also dwells on certain
aspects too much, really tries to sell ideas repeatedly)
- Bird's Cubed Foot Gardening (FAIR, there are better more complete
books, bought online, wouldn't have if I saw it first)
- James Baker's books - he has bunches. Too much of his stuff is too
"bumpkin" (hang dirty underwear outside to ward off animals, change
them frequently to keep the smell "ripe"). The home remedies use beer,
epsom salts, pantyhose, bourbon, baby shampoo, ammonia, castor oil,
peppermint oil, molasses. While these things are common in some houses
I don't have any of them--which means I need to buy them just for
these recipes. That said I did try his spray for aphids and it did
work. The plants weren't hurt despite drowning them. The garden reaked
of onion and garlic (part of the spray) which made me very hungry. I
use a store bought spray when the aphids came back. Unfortunately I
didn't read well enough and sprayed the plant during the day.
Apparently in the sun this spray cooks your plants. The next day the
two plants were dead and still convered in black aphids. Baker's spray
had no such worries. I would try more of his mixes--I'm looking at his
whitefly one now. But his writing style is a bit hokey, so they are
less appealing. ALso much of the general info in these books was
discussed in Bountiful Container or Sq. Ft. Gardenign.


GERMINATION
==============
Soaking seeds worked GREAT! Unless the seed warns against it, soaking
them for 12-24 hours really worked well for MOST seeds. Longer and
some seeds will start sprouting. Sprouted seeds almost totally fail
when planted. I soaked them in weak chamomile "tea" ("supposedly"
fights damping off). I also soaked them in room temperature water. I
used ice cube trays with a piece of tape on one end(for orientation).
I then made a chart to keep track of the twelve different seeds I was
soaking. I took my three ice cube trays out to the gardeon, using an
oversized eyedropper, pickup seeds and water, then seed them in the
ground. Worked well for tiny seeds too. Big ones I just finger out,
but needed to keep drying my finger to keep dirt off.

Some recommended soaking them in the fridge. My seeds are refrigerated
now so I don't think that will be important in the future. However,
refridgerated seeds definitely germinated quickly for me outside. The
temperature change WORKS! I planted lettuces, spinach, brocoli and all
germinated within 3-5 days...damn near 100%.


HARDENING OFF
=============
I messed this up. The whole take them in and out, keep them in shade
then a little weak sun then more deal. Seems too easy to miss judge. I
sunburned most of my potted seedlings. Next year I'm just gonna put
them on the porch for two weeks. I'll put a garden row curtain around
them to avoid harsh sun and store extra warmth the first week. Then
just keep the hardiest. If it is real bad I can take them in, but I
think treating it as survival of the fittest might be the way to go.


INTERPLANTING & COMPANIONS
===========================
I mixed lots of diffrent stuff together. Short carrots & radishes too
closely surrounding young tomato and pepper plant. If you time it
right the carrots & radishes will be gone before the tomato/peppers
real get growing. Supposedly loosens the soils. I grew lettuce, peas
and herbs inbetween and in corners of pots with peppers and tomatoes.
The snap peas that lived looked great and produced then died off very
quickly-- it was getting into summer and heat may have killed them.

I grew marigolds, calendulas, nasturtiums, petunia and sweet alyssum
around the bed with onions & garlic. All "companions" to the others.
The Nasturtium WORKED as a trap crop for APhids. I WILL plant them
again. The alyssums, marigold and petunias weren't heavily visited by
bugs, but I had no shortage of them in the gardens. They were on the
Calendulas a lot. I didn't have spidermites (yet) but I now have
whiteflies on the tomatoes. Whether the mix truly helped I have no
idea. It makes sense to mix it up to me and it looked awesome once all
the flowers filled out. The onions and garlic didn't work. Some got
crowded out. Some never sprouted. Sone grew small ping-pong sized
bulbs. I will be trying to do some for real next year and much more
scallions.


WATER MAINTENANCE
===================
I used a number of self-watering containers, hydro mats and Terrasorb
crystals to help offfset watering needs and as insurance if I returned
to work and started neglecting the garden.

The hydro mats work too well. You put these "diaper" sheets at the
base of a pot and they retain water heavily and leech it back to the
soil as it dries. Too-moist soil was a problem in most of the plastic
pots with this. I actually had two tiny mushrooms grow out the side
drainage hole on one pot. You need to back off some on watering. The
two 5" clay pots did hold up better and suffer less wilt when I used
the hydro mat. Roots will go thru/around the mat. SO I'd say they
worked well.

I also mix TerraSorb crystals into the ground as well as pots.
ALthough they obviously do absorb water, judging the effects of this
is difficult. The goal was to provide a more even water availability
throughout the rootzone. For the ground where I added them along with
peat & humus I had no wilting. I only had six tomatoes(out of 120)
split open and 4 were after this last soggy weekend. My landlord had
many with concentric and/or radial cracking.



SELF WATERING CONTAINER EXPERIENCE
==================================
The self-watering can actually over water the plants. Mold was a
problem early in the season. Much like the the way you water regular
plants it is best to let the self watering dry down the reservoir and
let the dirt dry slightly. Keeping the reservoir filled in spring
created molds. During summer these worked well. None of the plants
wilted even during our heat wave and a five day vacation wasn't a
problem (although both at the same time might have been rough. I did
not add fertilizer to the soils before planting but relied on mostly
liquid fertilizers. I think this was a mistake. The SWC's recommend
very light soils that are absorbant so I avoided adding manure,
compost, and dry fertilizer amendments. Next year I will be treating
them more like the ground garden, more fertilizing components mixed
into the root zone--I think that was important.

In Self Watering containers I grew 6ft corn, baby bear pumkins,
potatoes, four kinds of peppers, burpee burger tomatoes, snow peas,
snap peas, 2 lettuces, dill & sage. Each of the large plants had
about close to a sq.ft of space (10" deep).

The corn were planted with only 6-8" squared (8" recommend for this
variety). I screwed the corn by using hi-P fertilizer and not hi-N. It
looked beautiful and healthy, about an inch thick at the base. The
tassels came out with no cobs or silks until a month later.

The tomato, snowpeas & bell pepper were hit by molds in may/june and
the snow peas died. The tomato (3' high) suffered from vermicillium
wilt-the one plant will probably finish producing 5-6 lbs of 5-6oz.
fruits(slighlty smaller than expected).

The bell pepper had a lot of mold and the bush was this short squat
tight thing with ten peppers growing into eachother. Like the tomatoes
the peppers were stunted in size.

The hot peppers produced 14 jalapeno and 30 cayenne. While reasonable
I think that is lower than others experience.



DIGGING DEEP AND AMENDMENTS
============================
To prep my one ground plot I dug out the top 18", sifted for rocks,
tossed out the worst 2" of clay at bottom, added peat, composted
manure, composted humus, vermiculite, terrasorb (water retention
crystals that break down into potassium), bloodmeal & bonemeal. I
mixed it all up and put the dirt back.

My landlords joked, "dirt is dirt". Meanwhile all the plants grown in
that spot grew like crazy. My tomato bush was over five feet tall and
my 15" sq cage disappeared inside the bush (the glavinized metal never
burned the plant as some people complained about metal cages). It has
produced 46 plum tomatoes(11.5 lbs). My fourth of July has produced 74
tomatoes (9.25 lbs). My two tomato plants outproduced my landlord's
nine plants. (no it wasn't a competition, but yes I enjoyed it!) His
actually seem a little sickly..lots of uneven ripening, scaring around
the stem, rot spots, concentric cracks as well as radial cracking on
many. I think he's depleted his soil of something-no amendments,
little fertilizer.

My pepper plant is the huge one but it is growing late in the season.
It seems it spent the most time growing in size and leaves (too much
nitrogen). If the peppers mature it will outproduce all the peppers
from three other plants so far. Unlike the others it still has lush
dark green leaves.

I'd like to believe that all the work I did made a big difference, not
just the added fertilizer (bonemeal/bloodmeal/manure). Obviously the
root zone was big because I got big plants--and most of you would tell
me I crowded them. I gave the fourth a sq ft and the burger bush 2' x
1.5' I grew radish within 6" of the main stem early on. Carrots at 6"
& 9" from the plants and rows of lettuce between them. The front of
the bed had three 3" rows of flowers which overran eachother. THey
litterally spilled past the edge and covered the first 6-9" of the
walk. My Alyssum(3-4" tall) were 12-15" long cause they stretch out
past the marigolds, calendulas and nasturtiums to reach for sun.
Everything grew so fast much that some fingerling carrots were starved
for sun. Onions and garlics, thyme, parsley, chives were interplanted.
Mostly they were overwhelmed. Thyme and some petunias suddenly died
when a Cicada Wasp built nests under them.


DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, 1 mile off L.I.Sound
1st Year Gardener





Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
End of season thoughts on yellowing hyacinth Jim and Phyllis Hurley Ponds 1 23-10-2004 02:36 PM
end of season lawn question The Commish Lawns 11 29-10-2003 12:02 AM
cutting off perennials after end of season Cory Lechner Gardening 8 03-09-2003 11:22 PM
End of garlic season and beginning Gary Woods Edible Gardening 0 19-06-2003 03:32 PM
Edmunds Roses offering 25% off end-of-season sale until May 20th dave weil Roses 5 10-05-2003 04:56 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2019 GardenBanter.co.uk.
The comments are property of their posters.
 

About Us

"It's about Gardening"

 

Copyright © 2017