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Old 06-22-2013, 03:29 PM   #301
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Dorcas, what a beautiful garden! And I love the cat nesting between the rows. How do you keep the weeds down? One week of rain and my garden looked like a jungle, even though I Preened it after tilling and before planting my little plants, and put an 8" layer of seedless wheat straw all over. Whew, 6 hours of weeding and laying down more straw later, we can finally see the tomato plants again!
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:38 PM   #302
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Dorcas, love your place and your helper cat - I have one that looks like that!

Good-looking cattle too and tasty, I bet.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:07 PM   #303
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We have the rows far enough apart to rototill between them until the plants are too big. My husband sprayed with something to keep weeds from coming up, I don't know what it was. we still have to keep after on the row, like with the redbeets, more weeds came up than beets! And we still didn't decide what to do with the tomato plants. They are getting soo big.
And thanks, Esther, My sister cropped and enhanced the photo, I must say I am so happy to look this good. And I am getting healthier with every pound I lose. You just gotta love this WOE!
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:50 AM   #304
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When I had a garden (I should now but I don't right now), mine was smallish so I did a semi-square-foot garden so I had lots of things growing UP. We also have clay, adobe. We used to put a roughish compost in it (not mushroom compost, although that's nice, it's just too fine for clay). Gypsum, rice hulls and something else I can't remember right now was also dug in to help break it up. I also collected leaves in the winter time and dug them in which is great for the soil, or had a compost pile and used that when it was ready. Sometimes I'd plant a patch of buckwheat. It's great for digging in the soil to help break it up. Just let it get a couple feet high then dig it in. It's hollow stemmed and really good for the soil.

For indeterminant tomatoes I used wire and made cages. The wire had to have squares large enough that I could get my hands through it, then I'd just tie the plants up as they grew (if they needed it). I still have a piece of construction wire that's probably 5-6 ft high and I had an Early Girl plant that went up and over it and hit the ground on the other side. I made structures out of pvc pipe at the time and leaned them together (think the shape of a tall pup tent), then ran string up and down, and 1 across the bottom and had pole beans growing up. Going vertical is great for any viney plant. I did cukes that way too.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:10 AM   #305
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my son-in-law makes PVC pipe arches over the walkway between their square-foot beds and they train their indeterminate tomatoes and other vining plants up and over in both directions. Clever, convenient, and very pretty.

I still like my 5-ft high fencing, though, because the holes are large enough to easily train and wind the vines around and through without having to tie them. Works like a charm and really holds those vines securely!
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #306
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This is the part of gardening where I get very impatient. I have large clusters of fully formed Juliet tomatoes hanging from the vines, teasing me. From this point it will be at least 2 weeks before any of them get ripe. Can't wait!

Meanwhile, I just took out the last 3-quart bag of tomato-basil sauce I put up at the end of last summer. Made wonderful fresh-tasting tomato-basil bisque, using fresh basil from this summer's garden! Yum...
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:15 PM   #307
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Diana,
Is your tomato-basil sauce recipe posted on this thread? I am hoping this is my year for tomatoes!!
Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:55 PM   #308
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Diana,
Is your tomato-basil sauce recipe posted on this thread? I am hoping this is my year for tomatoes!!
Thanks!
Leigh
This may or may not be helpful, depending on your style of cooking.

When my tomatoes come in, I skin about 6 quarts of them every 3 or 4 days. For that many tomatoes, I saute one large onion, 7-8 cloves of fresh skinned garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant; and then I add all those tomatoes and cook down for 30 minutes or so until reduced a bit. I add a big wad (a cup or so) of finely chopped fresh basil and stir well.

I mash all this up with a potato masher and sometimes even run my hand-held blender through it to puree it a bit. Then once it's cooled, I bag it up in gallon zip-lock freezer bags and freeze them flat on cookie trays. The flat frozen bags stack neatly in the freezer and last a really long time. I call this "tomato sauce" but it is really just a base for whatever I want to use tomatoes for, soup, sauce, etc.

Last edited by dianafoot; 06-23-2013 at 06:56 PM..
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:15 PM   #309
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Wow, that sounds so super easy/not a complicated recipe and so good. Years ago I made sauce and froze it too. Loved that all I had to do was defrost it. Hubby loved it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:11 PM   #310
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Diana,
Thanks a bunch! How many tomato plants do you have?
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:43 PM   #311
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Diana,
Thanks a bunch! How many tomato plants do you have?
Leigh
Right now I have 12 tomato plants: 4 Mortgage lifters and 8 Juliets. I used to grow 35-40 plants, but I found that I can get just as many tomatoes from fewer plants by growing them up on a fence and letting them spread and produce. I also used to grow 5-7 varieties of heirlooms, but I learned that only Mortgage Lifters were really dependable in my soil. The others that I grew were way fussier.

Juliets are hybrids and they produce the most wonderful, flavorful small tomatoes imaginable. They are my "workhorses" Since they volunteer in the following season by the dozens, I tried nurturing some of the healthy sprouts. But the tomatoes they produced second generation were watery and not very flavorful. Now I yank them up unmercifully and grow only the true hybrids.

These 12 plants will provide enough tomato sauce for a whole year for the two of us. I put it up in 2-3 quart amounts (frozen in zip-lock bags) and we use a bag or two a week, all winter. The tomatoes come ripe from early July until late October, so I am putting up sauce a couple of times a week for about 4 months.

I would only recommend all of this work to folks who thoroughly enjoy it, though. I have a 55-hour a week job, and this is just pure meditation for me...

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Old 06-25-2013, 06:41 PM   #312
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wish I could grow some of those black and white things with hoofs!!! sure would taste good this winter-lol!! I agree -great new avatar!!
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:45 AM   #313
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This year I have 7 potted tomato plants and 4 assorted sweet pepper potted plants. I'm having a front porch garden.

The tomatoes have lots of green ones on them.

I need to put some Epsom salt around the pepper plants--it makes them grow a lot better.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:24 AM   #314
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Quote:
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This year I have 7 potted tomato plants and 4 assorted sweet pepper potted plants. I'm having a front porch garden.

The tomatoes have lots of green ones on them.

I need to put some Epsom salt around the pepper plants--it makes them grow a lot better.
Nigel amazing. I like the tip on the Epsom salt for pepper plants. I live in WA and I've had a hard time up here with peppers. I'm going to try your tip.
I've gardened all my life and I didn't know that. This is how I can afford organic vegetables. Thanks.

I love your front porch garden. I'm teaching my sister about container gardens. She did 6 this year.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:56 PM   #315
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After reading your post, Nigel, I Googled Epsom salts for growing plants. Wow, I never knew about this! I have 12 pepper plants in my garden that are kind of limping along--gonna get out there tomorrow and put some Epsom salts around them!
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:16 AM   #316
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The Epsom Salt really helped my pepper plants in the regular garden--they grew faster, made more and laster long into the fall...and it gets very hot here in the summer.

I just make a little circle around the plant and then use a little hoe to make a small ditch and just sprinkle in all around the ditch and then cover it up.

There is another thing I learned about our soil here, we have to add iron to get things to grow. That helps too, if the soil isn't the greatest. I learned this from the farm store guy and he said to always buy the better brand of potting soil or else you need to buy iron and add it to the inexpensive potting soil. It does make a difference.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:34 AM   #317
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this makes me want to have my soil tested. It is heavy red clay with a lot of rocks. Although we dumped a huge truckload of chicken manure on it 8 years ago and have been amending it yearly with cow manure and lots of straw, it's just slowly becoming crumbly and nice. I usually use some organic fertilizer around my individual plants, but this Epsom salt thing has me going!
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:43 AM   #318
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I love the Epsom salt idea. I have wonderful amended soil. Now if I could only get some SUN.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:55 AM   #319
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Sun was a problem for me for years until we moved out in the country 11 years ago. Now my garden is on a hillside and gets direct sun from sunup to sundown--which is 6am to 9pm right now. I have to get my gardening in from 5-8 am or it's just too hot!
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #320
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I love the Epsom salt idea. I have wonderful amended soil. Now if I could only get some SUN.
Hey there,
I wish I could send you some sun...it's 98° right now and it's supposed to be 109° on Saturday and that doesn't include the heat index.

I really want to go solar soon.

We mostly try not to "melt" here in the summer.
Of course I heard it was hotter in Arizona this week..ouch!! At least their heat is dry heat--ours is super humid.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #321
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Sun was a problem for me for years until we moved out in the country 11 years ago. Now my garden is on a hillside and gets direct sun from sunup to sundown--which is 6am to 9pm right now. I have to get my gardening in from 5-8 am or it's just too hot!
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Hey there,
I wish I could send you some sun...it's 98° right now and it's supposed to be 109° on Saturday and that doesn't include the heat index.

I really want to go solar soon.

We mostly try not to "melt" here in the summer.
Of course I heard it was hotter in Arizona this week..ouch!! At least their heat is dry heat--ours is super humid.
LOL I wish you both could send me some sun.

We've had 65 degrees ( and the natives swim in that wheather ) most of this month. Saturday it's suppose to be 84 , then 90 sun. thru tue.

I usually don't have humidity over here. But I don't know this year.

Nigel solar is awesome. Did you see where a man in CA made a solar panel for 200. dollars ?

I grew up in NJ on a farm and we didn't have anything called central air.
I have it now.
Do any of you read Mother Earth News ?

Diana that's some great sun on the hillside of your home.

Stay cool everybody.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:40 PM   #322
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Warmish here today, 78* - about that yesterday, and about that coming up the next few days too! That's WARM for us here at the central CA coast. We're used to fog in the mornings and late evenings, and maybe 65* during the day. So far this year we've had very little of the fog!

Makes me wish I'd planted a garden - tomatoes would be loving this.
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:53 PM   #323
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Went out in my garden this morning and sprinkled Epsom salts in a little trough around each of my tomato and pepper plants. Will love to see if this helps. My Mortgage Lifters look like they could use a little uplifting and my peppers are petering out for the most part. It's a time of waiting...

Meanwhile, the Juliets are appearing in great clusters. I just have to be patient--it seems to take forever to get from this to ripe!


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Old 06-28-2013, 08:20 AM   #324
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LOL I wish you both could send me some sun.

We've had 65 degrees ( and the natives swim in that wheather ) most of this month. Saturday it's suppose to be 84 , then 90 sun. thru tue.

I usually don't have humidity over here. But I don't know this year.

Nigel solar is awesome. Did you see where a man in CA made a solar panel for 200. dollars ?

I grew up in NJ on a farm and we didn't have anything called central air.
I have it now.
Do any of you read Mother Earth News ?

Diana that's some great sun on the hillside of your home.

Stay cool everybody.

No, unfortunately, I didn't see that show about the solar panel. I have been doing a bit of research on it, but in increments. It might be pretty fun to build a panel though...I'll see if google can help me on that one.

I think I could supply all the neighbors in electrical the way the sun beats down on the side of our house...you know that old saying that "it's so hot I could fry an egg on my sidewalk"...well, in the summer, you literally could around here.

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Old 06-28-2013, 11:44 AM   #325
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Our house sits in the sun all day, and we have a nice breeze on even the hottest days (and I'm talkin' 105 F some days). We asked the builder to look into solar and wind energy, but at the time, he said it would not be cost effective. Wish we could do it over!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #326
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I canned 3 quarts of raspberry syrup & 4 strawberry syrup. DH is very happy.

I also made 3 gallons of cauliflouwer chow chow using CL technique. Very busy day.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #327
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You were busy, Esther...that's good stuff and it will last a while.

My old fig tree decided to produce this year. It hasn't in the last 3 years.
The figs are good, but very small--they used to be the big ones. I don't get it. Maybe just the elements.

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Old 07-03-2013, 09:09 AM   #328
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You were busy, Esther...that's good stuff and it will last a while.

My old fig tree decided to produce this year. It hasn't in the last 3 years.
The figs are good, but very small--they used to be the big ones. I don't get it. Maybe just the elements.
Wow it has not produced in 3 years Nigel . Wow I think the elements are doing a lot.

I'm in raspberry heaven right now.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:35 AM   #329
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Lucky you with the raspberries.

I tried growing raspberries and blueberries, but the heat just got to them.

It even got my rosemary bush, which is unusual.

I'm going to give my fig tree some TLC and fertilizer and see if it does better next year. You know I started that tree from a sprig off of another tree. I had a smaller tree but it was too exposed to the heat too and didn't make it. I'm thinking I should get a couple of sprigs off of this one and start some more. (hopefully)
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:39 AM   #330
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Sooooooooooo I am having my first Mortgage Lifter today for dinner.

This is an amazment of its own. I did not have sun for the first 20 days of June.
This is the first time in 10 years up here to have a tomato in July. I'm estatic beyond belief.
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