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  #61  
Old 07-21-2011, 02:19 PM
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I started an EarthBox with Cherokee Purple Heirloom and Better Bush tomatoes on my porch in late March. My heirloom tomato plant grew up to the roof of the porch but never produced fruit since stupid Florida got too stupid hot for flowers too soon. Better Bush has been producing but 3/4 of the tomatoes have split (not due to lack of water) and both plants are losing leaves from the bottom up. I got two edible tomatoes from the Better Bush and maybe I'll get another 3-4 before I chop it down.

Looks like it's time for fall planting soon, so I'll dump the soil and try again. I really wanted to try purple tomatoes...
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  #62  
Old 07-21-2011, 04:30 PM
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my sweetpotato


my parents' garden, and buckets'o'pepper and potato
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  #63  
Old 07-22-2011, 08:01 AM
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My garden has been a bit of a mixed bag this year. We got a decent sized plot in our giant back yard tilled in the early spring and planted a whole bunch of stuff. Some were seeds I saved from last year, some were store bought, some were vegetables I had bought that got old and started to bud anyway. I also bought/was given a few plants that were already growing which I just replanted.

Almost none of my seeds came up thanks, according to my grandmother, to a spot of torrential rain storms soon after I planted that caused a hard crust on the ground. A few hearty souls here and there eventually sprouted, but many seeds were never heard from again. Most frustrating was the whole row of "moons and stars" watermelons which I saved from my biggest melon last year, whose plant I grew from seeds that my grandmother gave me.

At this point from seeds, we've got a whole row of hearty looking sunflowers (which the wife wanted to plant), a respectable amount of pumpkin vines (which has some decent melons on it already), some root veg like garlic, potato and onion, and a nice crop of these small little lettuce things which are perfect for a single-serving salad. From started plants, I've got a couple of really well producing cherry tomato plants, some Cherokee purple plants that got a late start that have about six non-ripe tomatoes on them and a couple of different varieties of pepper plants that are producing hot peppers FAR faster than I can use them.

It's been fun and tasty, but a little disappointing because of all of the things that didn't sprout. I might try and get some pictures.
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  #64  
Old 07-23-2011, 11:27 AM
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Right now I'm just hoping not too much dies while it's too goddamned hot to spend 10 minutes outside watering.
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  #65  
Old 07-23-2011, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirin View Post
Right now I'm just hoping not too much dies while it's too goddamned hot to spend 10 minutes outside watering.
Since I last posted those photos, the heatwave killed my oregano ˇ_ˇ
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  #66  
Old 07-24-2011, 08:35 AM
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Replace it with marjoram.
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  #67  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
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Replace it with marjoram.
I was scrolling through quickly and completely misread that post.
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  #68  
Old 07-25-2011, 03:31 PM
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Right, so there isn't much vegetable-wise that's doing well right now due to the heat and lack of rain, but at least the melons are going crazy as usual.

Here are two cantaloupe/muskmelon patches -- they're slowly vining over everything. I've already had to weave or prune them back a couple of times to keep them from taking over the lawn.


Melons at various growing stages


A melon almost ready to pick


A baby honeydew


A female melon flower. Hard to believe it turns into something so large (if pollinated).
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  #69  
Old 08-04-2011, 05:33 AM
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Some of our cherry tomatoes have been turning very, very red, and oh so sweet, but only two at a time. We finally have two or three big tomatoes that are reddening and a whoooole bunch of big green ones - I suspect they'll all ripen at the same time and I'll have to do an emergency canning session.

oh, and we had some of the purple bell peppers! they are zesty.
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  #70  
Old 08-04-2011, 08:04 AM
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Garden fresh tomatoes!
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  #71  
Old 08-11-2011, 02:49 PM
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I cut the Better Bush tomatoes back to the bare lower stalks, and discovered the Heirlooms are starting to make ugly little tomatoes. Unfortunately, the heirloom plant has been growing all summer and I didn't prune either plant at all, so the tomatoes are forming 10 ft down the long, wandering vines.

If I cut back the vines (like way back, so that all the leaves are cut off), will new leaves sprout from the stalk?
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  #72  
Old 08-11-2011, 04:36 PM
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I was really happy with today's purchase of a pot of mixed pepper plants, and then I come home and find my poor thyme on its last legs Most of the stems are brown, but there's one that's still green and pliable. Is there anything I can do to save the plant?
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  #73  
Old 08-11-2011, 05:48 PM
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Default Tomato advice

Cutting it back that far seems a little extreme. Well, it's probably more of a question on whether or not your heirlooms are determinate or indeterminate. I don't know much about the Better Bush hybrid, but if it's a determinate type, it only grows to a certain height and produces one crop of tomatoes. Once all the fruit sets, that's it, and cutting it back won't change anything. For example, I grew some Yellow Taxis (early determinate) this year, and as soon as they produced their last tomato, out came the plants.

As far as cutting back your plants now, it really depends on where you live and how much of a growing season you have left. In Texas, depending on which part of the state you're in, you can try to cut your plants back and attempt a regrowth for fall when the temperatures are less extreme, but the advice is usually to pull the plants out and start over with fresh transplants in late June to early July -- by now the old plants are exhausted and bug ridden enough that they will have a reduced fruit set, and if we ever get any rain (sigh), late setting diseases usually rear their ugly head.

In my case, I cut back all my tomatoes (all indeterminate heirlooms of various qualities, not all great) and pulled up and replaced a couple of weak plants with some Celebrity and Super Fantastics back in June. The 'new' tomatoes aren't growing very fast right now, but the 'old' tomatoes are just *now* starting to show some new and healthy growth -- some from the base, and some from the top. I haven't tried to work with the old plants much because this season has been terrible for tomatoes, so I'm pretty much watching the new plants exclusively.

Short answer: don't bother cutting the vines now. Again, depending on your location, the days are going to get shorter before you know it, so there probably isn't enough time for new growth, fruit set, and ripened tomatoes before the first frost.

Last edited by Meg; 08-11-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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  #74  
Old 08-11-2011, 07:18 PM
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Wow, thanks for the detailed post! I'm beginning to understand the depths of my ignorance here, after reading that and other pruning tips on the web.

I live in Florida where we've had a rainy, humid summer. My plants are in an EarthBox on the porch, where they have plenty of fertilizer and theoretically can't run out of water (there's a reservoir in the bottom). The planter is on my screened porch so the deer won't eat the plants, positioned so it can get the morning sun. I had thought lack of full sun was making the plants grow too tall, but now I think I just needed to prune them back to make them bushier.

About a month or so ago, all the leaves below 3 feet or so yellowed and then rotted off. All the green fruiting growth is on the flopped over branches. The Better Bush has been consistently producing small, green fruits that ripen and then immediately crack. Not sure what's up with that, other than maybe temperature changes?

Anyway, Florida has an early spring-summer tomato season and a late summer-fall season. Sounds like it's time to chop down what's left and replant and prune them better. And pick variants that will do well on the porch rather than what sounded good when I read the label at Lowes.
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  #75  
Old 08-11-2011, 07:39 PM
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Your tomatoes could be getting too tall from not enough sun, strangely enough. Morning sun doesn't sound like enough -- tomatoes need full sun, or a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of full sun to produce a good crop. I wouldn't worry too much about lower yellowing leaves; I'm sure there's some nutrient deficiency you could look up associated with it, but that's also a natural part of the plant's life as it's producing fruit. Fruit cracks form from heat and moisture stress.

What you could do is spend the off season looking up varieties recommended specifically for your area. If you're interested in porch tomatoes, I'd stick to bush or determinate varieties, and throw a cherry variety in for kicks. Some of those enormous heirloom varieties probably need more room than an Earthbox can provide. I actually made a couple of EarthTainers a few years ago before I moved and they did great for medium-sized fruits and cherries. (The cleanup at the end was awful, though -- algae city in the water reservoir! )

Edit -- There could be a couple of reasons for cracking on your Better Bush fruits. Too much sudden moisture from rain, which can't be helped, I'm sure. The Earthbox could be wicking too much water, so the soil could be consistently too moist. The fruits could be exposed to too much sun (not enough foliage), so the sudden heat could crack them. Too much fertilizer could cause sudden growth and cracking. Also (and the most likely), it could just be the variety tends to crack. I like Sungold cherries, but they are notorious for cracking after rain or fertilizer applications. Tomatoes are fun to diagnose.

Last edited by Meg; 08-11-2011 at 07:59 PM.
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  #76  
Old 08-13-2011, 11:08 PM
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"Hey guys!"



"I had fun!"

"Take care!"



"...Byeeeee!"
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  #77  
Old 08-15-2011, 01:28 PM
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Can anyone point me to a good resource for info on indoor, apartment gardening?
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  #78  
Old 08-15-2011, 08:11 PM
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Do you have a window or balcony for pots? There are a ton of container gardening books out there, depending on what you want to grow, but a lot of them assume you have access to an outside porch or windowsill.
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  #79  
Old 08-15-2011, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
Do you have a window or balcony for pots? There are a ton of container gardening books out there, depending on what you want to grow, but a lot of them assume you have access to an outside porch or windowsill.
No, at the moment I don't. Really, what I'm looking for is something similar to Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything", but for gardening. A good guide to basic techniques and tips, combined with a fairly encyclopaedic rundown of things to know.
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  #80  
Old 08-16-2011, 08:53 AM
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Here's the latest (and maybe the last) on the summer garden. It just isn't hot enough for tomatoes and such to be happy and produce...
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  #81  
Old 08-16-2011, 06:03 PM
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I came home tonight, and found THIS growing in my "garden."



Right in the middle of my basil!

Should I remove it post haste? Or should I remove it with extreme prejudice?
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  #82  
Old 08-17-2011, 10:12 AM
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Aw, they're adorable.

Also, hey, more produce! (Note: do not eat without consulting a mushroom identification giude. But hey, you're probably already dead from the cthonic produce posted in the NWIOT, so problem solved.)
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  #83  
Old 08-24-2011, 03:00 PM
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The cutest little fungus!



I'm watching you!
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  #84  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:42 AM
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We tore out the spring/summer garden this weekend!

We're planning the winter one right now!
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  #85  
Old 09-19-2011, 11:59 AM
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holy shit i can't stop staring at your wife
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  #86  
Old 09-19-2011, 12:07 PM
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Lady gets to say what the rest of us can't.

Also, Flogic, based on what you were growing and the pic and some Google, I'm gonna call your giant mystery caterpillars as Tomato Hornworms, which grow into Sphinx- or Hawk-Moths.
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  #87  
Old 09-19-2011, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
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holy shit i can't stop staring at your wife
I'm guilty of that too
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  #88  
Old 09-21-2011, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
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I'm guilty of that too
Her legs do, in point of fact, go all the way up, judging from that picture. Damn, dude.
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  #89  
Old 09-21-2011, 03:59 PM
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That caterpillar looks like a tomato worm to me. They're pests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manduca_quinquemaculata

I just brought in my potted rosemary. It'll be spending the winter on the filing cabinet at work.
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  #90  
Old 09-21-2011, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
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holy shit i can't stop staring at your wife
"Hey honey? Talking Time loves your gams!"
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