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Gardening


CincySportsFan
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Well before this whole virus thing demanded everybody's attention, my wife and I (mainly me) decided to plant a little garden. Both of us grew up with parents who gardened (and subsequently canned a lot of food). We will be doing nothing like either one of them, just because we don't have the space. But, I'm going to build an elevated bed (or maybe 2) to put a few different things in, plus I've already started on containers for an herb ladder. And I think we're going to put a tomato plants in some containers as well.

 

Anybody else doing any gardening this year?

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I usually go to the nursery and buy plants. This is the first year I have planted seeds (flower and herb) indoors that I will transfer outside. Will undoubtedly end up buying some plants from a nursery down the road.

 

Have had a small elevated herb garden for years and I love it. I grow hot peppers out of a couple large planters.

 

My days on kneeling on the ground to plant flowers are over. Strictly a pot and raised garden girl.

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My plan was to build 2 4'X8'X10" planter boxes and house them in a chicken wirehouse. Then this virus hit and, opposed to everybody else, I went into extreme overtime mode. I completely missed the Jan-Apr growing season. I am hoping to get some hot peppers and southern peas out in July and tomatoes and lettuce in September. Then if I am lucky, beans, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, carrots, and onions in October. May be too ambitious with the fall crops, but I definitely want beans, cabbage, tomatoes, and lettuce.

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I had kept a Garden for many years, in addition to some fruit trees, grapes and berries. I started experiencing soil problems in my veggie garden a few years ago, and haven't done anything in the last two years. I'm going to give it another shot this year, although scaled back to about 1/2 of what I used to have, going from 1600 sq feet to about 900 sq feet. Just doing some green and lima beans, squash and some cukes, while doing tomatoes in Earthboxes on my deck.

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When I was a kid, my dad seemed to be able to effortlessly grow tomato plants. One of my favorite memories is playing outside, picking a tomato and eating it like an apple (Horrors! Unwashed too!). He didn’t fence them in and pretty much let Mother Nature water them.

 

As an adult I have tried on and off to grow tomatoes and failed miserably. In the ground, in pots, fertilized, over watered, under watered...you name it, I tried it. The few tomatoes I could grow got eaten by deer, squirrels, and God knows what other animals. One day when I saw a squirrel on my porch taunting me by eating a small green tomato, I just about lost it. I decided then that I farmers market would have to be my source of home grown tomatoes. It relieved my frustration, was cheaper in the long run, and they were so much bigger and better.

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We are just doing sweet and hot peppers along with some Better Boy Maters! We actually got the stand up cart from Tractor Supply. No bending or stooping. 1st time using it this year. We will probably set the plants this weekend.

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I had kept a Garden for many years, in addition to some fruit trees, grapes and berries. I started experiencing soil problems in my veggie garden a few years ago, and haven't done anything in the last two years. I'm going to give it another shot this year, although scaled back to about 1/2 of what I used to have, going from 1600 sq feet to about 900 sq feet. Just doing some green and lima beans, squash and some cukes, while doing tomatoes in Earthboxes on my deck.

 

Do you have any idea what your soil problems were? My dad "gives up" on growing tomatoes about every third of fourth year. He usually has a single big tomato plant in a pot, but he never replenishes nutrients in the soil at the end of the year once the plant is gone. Tomatoes are hogs for the minerals in soil - especially calcium. And they like slightly acidic soil, a pH somewhere between 5.5 and 6.0, so adding fertilizer that's slightly heavier in nitrogen than it is for the other two numbers in the other two numbers in the fertilizer grade numbers is usually ideal. (Each container of fertilizer has three bold numbers somewhere on it's label - the fertilizer grade. The first number is the percent of nitrogen in the fertilizer, the second number is the percent of phosphorus, and the third number is the amount of potassium. So like MiracleGro all-purpose plant food is a 24-8-16 fertilizer, for example, so it has 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 16% potassium.)

 

Anyway, like I said, my dad never replenishes the nutrients in his soil at the end of the year, and then around year 3 or 4 of growing a tomato plant in the same small pot of soil, the plant will completely fizzle and he'll get all fed up and swear off growing tomatoes...and then after a year or maybe two years off, he's right back at it growing a tomato plant.

 

The simplest solution if you're just growing a tomato in a pot, after a year of growing in the pot, dump the soil and buy a bag of potting soil to replace the soil you used the previous year. Or if that not your soil, at the end of the growing season, adding in some bone meal and composted manure or straight compost is never a bad idea - I have a raised garden bed and that's what I do.

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Do you have any idea what your soil problems were? My dad "gives up" on growing tomatoes about every third of fourth year. He usually has a single big tomato plant in a pot, but he never replenishes nutrients in the soil at the end of the year once the plant is gone. Tomatoes are hogs for the minerals in soil - especially calcium. And they like slightly acidic soil, a pH somewhere between 5.5 and 6.0, so adding fertilizer that's slightly heavier in nitrogen than it is for the other two numbers in the other two numbers in the fertilizer grade numbers is usually ideal. (Each container of fertilizer has three bold numbers somewhere on it's label - the fertilizer grade. The first number is the percent of nitrogen in the fertilizer, the second number is the percent of phosphorus, and the third number is the amount of potassium. So like MiracleGro all-purpose plant food is a 24-8-16 fertilizer, for example, so it has 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 16% potassium.)

 

Anyway, like I said, my dad never replenishes the nutrients in his soil at the end of the year, and then around year 3 or 4 of growing a tomato plant in the same small pot of soil, the plant will completely fizzle and he'll get all fed up and swear off growing tomatoes...and then after a year or maybe two years off, he's right back at it growing a tomato plant.

 

The simplest solution if you're just growing a tomato in a pot, after a year of growing in the pot, dump the soil and buy a bag of potting soil to replace the soil you used the previous year. Or if that not your soil, at the end of the growing season, adding in some bone meal and composted manure or straight compost is never a bad idea - I have a raised garden bed and that's what I do.

 

I always tried to add nutrients back to the soil and grew cover crops after the season to fill into the ground. And I always had great luck with tomatoes, until about 5 years ago, when I started having problems with fusarium wilt. The plants would grow great for a few weeks and eventually turn yellow and die. Unfortunately that stuff spreads quickly, and there’s no easy way to get rid of it. I’m just going grow a few plants in earthboxes for the next few years before trying them in the garden again.

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Do you have any idea what your soil problems were? My dad "gives up" on growing tomatoes about every third of fourth year. He usually has a single big tomato plant in a pot, but he never replenishes nutrients in the soil at the end of the year once the plant is gone. Tomatoes are hogs for the minerals in soil - especially calcium. And they like slightly acidic soil, a pH somewhere between 5.5 and 6.0, so adding fertilizer that's slightly heavier in nitrogen than it is for the other two numbers in the other two numbers in the fertilizer grade numbers is usually ideal. (Each container of fertilizer has three bold numbers somewhere on it's label - the fertilizer grade. The first number is the percent of nitrogen in the fertilizer, the second number is the percent of phosphorus, and the third number is the amount of potassium. So like MiracleGro all-purpose plant food is a 24-8-16 fertilizer, for example, so it has 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 16% potassium.)

 

Anyway, like I said, my dad never replenishes the nutrients in his soil at the end of the year, and then around year 3 or 4 of growing a tomato plant in the same small pot of soil, the plant will completely fizzle and he'll get all fed up and swear off growing tomatoes...and then after a year or maybe two years off, he's right back at it growing a tomato plant.

 

The simplest solution if you're just growing a tomato in a pot, after a year of growing in the pot, dump the soil and buy a bag of potting soil to replace the soil you used the previous year. Or if that not your soil, at the end of the growing season, adding in some bone meal and composted manure or straight compost is never a bad idea - I have a raised garden bed and that's what I do.

 

I'm trying to remember if it was for tomatoes or not, but back in my childhood, I had an aunt that (I believe) used to put an egg in each hole before she transplanted her plants. Never knew if it was old wives' tale or not, but seeing your comment about them needing calcium suddenly makes sense.

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I'm trying to remember if it was for tomatoes or not, but back in my childhood, I had an aunt that (I believe) used to put an egg in each hole before she transplanted her plants. Never knew if it was old wives' tale or not, but seeing your comment about them needing calcium suddenly makes sense.

 

I've heard of egg shells, but not an egg. My wife said her grandpa used to put a fish head under each transplanted tomato.

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I always tried to add nutrients back to the soil and grew cover crops after the season to fill into the ground. And I always had great luck with tomatoes, until about 5 years ago, when I started having problems with fusarium wilt. The plants would grow great for a few weeks and eventually turn yellow and die. Unfortunately that stuff spreads quickly, and there’s no easy way to get rid of it. I’m just going grow a few plants in earthboxes for the next few years before trying them in the garden again.

 

That would be pretty infuriating. Have you thought about tilling in a heavy amount of fungicide into the the soil in the garden for a year or two while you're not using it? My understanding is that the fungus spores can hang around for multiple years.

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Here's my raised garden bed. It started out as just the garden bed, I built it out of 4x6 lumber, so it's really sturdy. Then I realized that my tomato plants get ha-yuge sometimes, so I added in the top portion of it last year to be able to tie up the plants instead of trying to just tie them to stakes. The second picture is only two total tomato plants, just for an idea of how much space they can take up. I also added in a strawberry patch last year for my wife.

 

Also last year I was able to get some of the live mint plants from the greenhouse that provides all of the fresh spearmint to Churchill Downs to make their juleps. Seemed only appropriate that I got a planter made from an actual bourbon barrel to grow the unofficial "official julep mint" of the Kentucky Derby. It's booming this year. Can't see the soil through the mint leaves in the barrel. I got three little starts of mint, and that picture of the mint planter was taken maybe a month or month and a half after I planted it.

 

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That would be pretty infuriating. Have you thought about tilling in a heavy amount of fungicide into the the soil in the garden for a year or two while you're not using it? My understanding is that the fungus spores can hang around for multiple years.

 

No I didn’t try that. I’ve read that it takes 4-5 years for the spores to go away. I’m in year 3. I was just going to wait it out but I may try that after the season. Do you have a recommendation as to what to use?

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No I didn’t try that. I’ve read that it takes 4-5 years for the spores to go away. I’m in year 3. I was just going to wait it out but I may try that after the season. Do you have a recommendation as to what to use?

 

I don't have anything to recommend off-hand, but I would assume the county extension office or anyone knowledgeable at a nursery would have something to suggest.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got my tomato seedlings and bush beans planted today. Between morning frost up through this past Saturday and rain most every day for the last week or so, I finally got out and planted things this afternoon.

 

I've got a couple of containers I'm going to grow Italian bush green beans in, a trellis on my fence that I've grown lemon cucumbers on the last couple of years, and I put a three tomato plants in my raised garden bed. I'm going to add a hot cherry pepper plant in the garden bed towards the beginning of June.

 

I'm pretty excited about my tomatoes this year. They're a no-name heirloom variety from the Balkan Peninsula. One of my company's customers was a Bosnian refugee, and he said when his family fled, his mom had brought over a handful of tomato seeds from an old family variety that they had grown on their farm for generations. He gave me and a coworker a few dozen tomatoes last year, and they're absolutely UNREAL. They're a little larger than a baseball, and when you slice them open there's just one single thin vein of juice/pulp and the entire rest of the tomato is meat. I saved some seeds because they're so damn good. The closest registered variety I've been able to find is the "Anna Russian" tomato, but the Anna Russians are smaller and shaped a little differently.

 

It's my first time growing anything from seed, and I'm glad to finally have them planted out in the garden bed instead of down on my workbench under a grow-light.

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