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joanne3482

Whatcha Growin?: Growing Your Own Food

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Asiatic lily beetles are the devil.  You think they're cute little ladybugs, then they leave big blobs of bug poop on the leaves.

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Meet the spotted cucumber beetle, the bane of my existence.  It doesn't limit itself to cucumbers, it goes after any cucurbit -- and looks enough like a ladybug that sometimes I hesitate before nailing them, and that's enough time for them to buzz off.   I've also been known to look really foolish chasing cabbage moths around.

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AHHH!!! You and me both, sister.  The asparagus beetles finally did in the asparagus this year but I have to say, 17 years was a pretty good run.  Those little, um, buggers would constantly be copulating just as the first spears were going to fern, with several more weeks of picking to do the spikes would come up malformed.  After I was done picking I'd try to spray the ferns with a pyrethrum, and the ferns were cut and removed (not composted) in the fall but alas, they won.  I'm not sure I'm going to replant as the east and west neighbors trees have never been trimmed through the years so I have a bad shade problem. I let the whole thing go fallow this year to starve out the bugs and may consolidate 5 4x8 beds into a large one with or two paths where I get the most sun.  By the way, simple rabbit fencing has kept bunnies out for me.  After a year the grass sort of buries the bottom and keeps them from going underneath.  This year the herb garden is elsewhere and I'm doing peppers, tomatoes, some greens and the peas I mentioned in pots on the deck.  OMG I just realised I grow calla lillies in a big pot and replant them every other year (not hardy here) and where are they?!

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QuelleC, I hope you find your calla lilies!  And that your asparagus sorts itself out. Sunken rabbit fencing  has also been our friend; after a long war with groundhogs, it appears to keep them and rabbits out.  Unfortunately, we still have mice. but they're kind of cute.   

Edited by harrie
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Got my first tomato hornworm of the season yesterday. First, eww. Second, at least my kids were amused when I clipped off the branch and brought it out of the garden to show them.  (Daughter: COOL! Can I touch it?  Son: AHH! What the hell is that?)  It only ate about 10% of the plant I found it on.  I'm sorry that it didn't get killed off by the parasitic wasp that usually catches them before I do. 

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Those things frighten me. They seriously send me screaming. My tomatoes had those two years ago. My husband had to do the dirty work and kill them.

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I will happily put up with a little bit of tomato bottom rot (or whatever it's called) if I never have to see a tomato hornworm. Yikes!

My first tomatoes are in. I've never had good luck growing regular tomatoes in containers but they are doing well this year. I have a heirloom red and green striped variety. They look and taste good!

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My tomatoes just get those tiny black flies that inject a virus that sucks out any healthy leaves, as much as I water and feed them :(  I know watering attracts them (fruit flies?) but I check and they're in pots and water is needed for the fruits that are developing.

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When I was a kid, it was my job to spot the tomato worms, pull them off, and squish them. I hated if I couldn’t take them out with one shot.

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The hub walks up and down the potato rows, knocking two flat rocks together; and when I hear "Gotcha, m---f---er," I know he has knocked off a potato beetle.  The birds have been a great help this year, but even they won't touch those red and black milkweed bugs.  They're pesky, they're all over the place, but everything I've read says they won't hurt the stuff we grow. 

Red+and+black+milkweed+bugs+mating.png

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harrie, I think the toxins in milkweed protect the milkweed bugs from predators. And from what I've read, you're right -- they only feed on milkweed.

 

Aha - thank you, forumfish.

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I will happily put up with a little bit of tomato bottom rot (or whatever it's called) if I never have to see a tomato hornworm. Yikes!

My first tomatoes are in. I've never had good luck growing regular tomatoes in containers but they are doing well this year. I have a heirloom red and green striped variety. They look and taste good!

I gave up on vegetable gardens several years ago, because no matter what I did, some critter ate everything I grew.   Or, to be more precise, took a BITE out of every tomato, cucumber, zucchini, etc.

So this year, I bought ONE tomato plant in a container.   It had one tomato on it.  I watched it grow.  The other day, I knew it would be red and ready the next day.  I went to get it, and  -  half was gone!  Half a tomato , still on the vine.  

 

I'll probably just stick to the farmer's market.

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We just picked our lone tomtato from the volunteer plant.  My brother, who is growing several in containers, advised to pick it just before you think it is ripe because otherwise some critter will come and take a nibble when it reaches that perfect stage on the vine.

Edited by DeLurker

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We just picked our lone tomtato from the volunteer plant.  My brother, who is growing several in containers, advised to pick it just before you think it is ripe because otherwise some critter will come and take a nibble when it reaches that perfect stage on the vine.

 

Excellent advice.  If you have a windowsill (or counter) with a southern exposure, that's a good place to keep the tomato until it ripens.  I've heard that the sunny windowsill thing doesn't work and is a total myth, but it seems to work for us.  

 

We have a squirrel this year - in addition to the mouse family we've been hosting for years - who is eating my sunflowers.  This is fine, as long as he sticks with the sunflowers; but if he somehow gets through all of them and starts on something else, fur may fly.  And when you take on a (reputedly) less intelligent but determined species, you tend to look kind of stupid* as the frustration mounts, so I'm really hoping I have enough sunflowers.   

 

I don't know if it will help in the future, or if you have the room, and I think it can be done in a pot, but:   Planting onions with your tomatoes may or may not disguise the smell of the tomato plant and fool critters into not noticing them.  Lots of gardeners around us border their gardens with onions for this reason.  I never bought into it much, because logically tomatoes are huge and how do you not notice them?  However, Rocket Squirrel (yes, the hub named him and requested that he 1] stick to the sunflowers; and 2]  keep the sunflower dinners to a party of one) didn't show up until we pulled our onions.  So it may be worth picking up a couple of onion sets to see if it works for you, and maybe you'll get some onions, too.  (Chives might work, too?  Or basil, which is a traditional tomato companion plant and plenty fragrant?)   Onions don't mix with peas, though - supposed to be a bad match.

 

*Like the times I've chased a cabbage moth around the garden, waving my watering can at it, trying to bring it down.

Edited by harrie

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Marigolds might work too, the smaller ones have shallow roots and don't take a lot of water away from the tomatoes.  I've found that if you have a bench or a table during those critical times, getting pots up off the ground helps a lot.  For instance, I kick myself every time something digs up my potted pea seeds.  They go on the deck table now.

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I found more hornworms in my garden. Both are covered with braconid wasp eggs so I left them. Ah, the circle of life.

My solution to garden pests is a sturdy fence to keep out the big ones and plant way more than I need. My two worst tomato eaters were a groundhog (pre sturdy fence) and Danny the bottomless pit labrador retriever.

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I also put a thick line of ash (picked up for free from a bbq joint) around the perimeter to keep the snails out. I only learned to do this after coming home each evening to find a pepper plant eaten down to the stalk, finally discovering the big brown garden snails.

Sawdust works for me.

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I have a black thumb but I bought a basil plant a couple of weeks ago when I was making bruschetta and it was cheaper than buying a package of leaves.  I potted it and it's still alive.  

 

However, my big revelation is that if you stick the bottoms of your scallions in a juice glass with some water, they grow back!  Clip off what you need and they grow back again!  I may never have to buy another scallion!

 

Hay, small victories, ya'll.

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However, my big revelation is that if you stick the bottoms of your scallions in a juice glass with some water, they grow back! Clip off what you need and they grow back again! I may never have to buy another scallion!

 

I had no idea!  I will have to try this.

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Heirloom tomatoes. Bought three different types for a panzanella salad (one of each) and saved the seeds. Soaked the seeds for a few days to remove the slime/jelly on it (apparently that is what inhibits sprouting) then planted them. Now I have a garden full of tomatoes!! And Heirloom tomatoes are EXPENSIVE so I am praying they will work out. Problem is I started them a bit late, and it's a colder growing season, so not sure they will ripen in time.

 

With the extra seeds, I made a "homemade" seed tape with paper towel. The seeds when wet stick very well to paper towel, so did that that, then let them dry and gonna see if they will sprout next year. Hopefully!

 

Jalapenos, multicoloured carrots (in a large container no less), cucumber, chives, onions, purple potatoes (again, from a couple I bought at a store), kohlrabi. Basically it's a garden for "fun", just to see what what happens, can I actually grow something.

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However, my big revelation is that if you stick the bottoms of your scallions in a juice glass with some water, they grow back!  Clip off what you need and they grow back again!  I may never have to buy another scallion!

 

You can do that with quite a few things.  But beware that, without all the extra nutrients in soil, after a few growth cycles they'll be pretty flavorless.

Edited by Bastet
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Heirloom tomatoes. Bought three different types for a panzanella salad (one of each) and saved the seeds. Soaked the seeds for a few days to remove the slime/jelly on it (apparently that is what inhibits sprouting) then planted them. Now I have a garden full of tomatoes!! And Heirloom tomatoes are EXPENSIVE so I am praying they will work out. Problem is I started them a bit late, and it's a colder growing season, so not sure they will ripen in time.

 

With the extra seeds, I made a "homemade" seed tape with paper towel. The seeds when wet stick very well to paper towel, so did that that, then let them dry and gonna see if they will sprout next year. Hopefully!

Awesome. I'm flooded with tons of them right now.

 

I fell in with the heirloom tomato crowd about a dozen years ago over at the Garden Web, and I've grow about 18 plants from seed every year now. Tomatoes are super easy to start from seed, and if you want to try out some new varieties, hundreds are available for only a couple bucks per pack of seeds. I linked back some of my favorite varieties to places where you can buy them earlier in this thread.

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4 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

Tomatoes are among the easiest things to grow. If you have a sunny porch you can grow them in pots. Big pots, but pots. I grow 18 plants in my garden and two in pots by my garage. The cherry tomatoes go in pots so that I harvest them regularly. They get eight feet tall if I feed them all summer. 

 

3 hours ago, DeLurker said:

I strongly disagree.  Every time I try to grow tomatoes, they will do extremely poorly.  I have exceptionally good luck with volunteer tomatoes (the ones that just randomly grow because a seed or two fell in some soil or a pot on the way out to the compost.  The volunteer ones will only do well if I ignore them completely.

 

1 hour ago, Mellowyellow said:

hehe we once spent about $100 in plants, pots, tomato dust to kill the disease that was plaguing our plants, fertilizer trying to grow tomatoes. We got like 5 tomatoes! The big ones! We gave up since vine ripen tomatoes sell for $2 a pound in summer here.

Cherry tomatoes fared better though! We spent $4 on seeds, no dust or fertiizer needed and we harvested a huge and constant crop! Cherry tomatoes are like $7 a pound here on sale.

We have a patio container garden and for the first time, I grew most of the things from seed including 3 varieties of tomatoes, 2 cherry and one Amish Paste. We also bought another plantlet cherry tomato which started earlier than our seeded ones. I fed them all the tomato fertilizer sticks and they seem to be doing well. I've had good luck with tomatoes over the years. Still, I really didn't know if the ones I grew from seed would survive. They were very leggy given we mostly have indirect lighting indoors. I lost a few when transitioning them out, but I still had enough for about 5-6 plants. Then we crowded a couple of them.

The cherry ones are doing well. One of the Amish Paste tomatoes is ripening now, but it's only one. I don't really want to make paste from them anyway, but I hear the flavour is better than Romas so I wanted to try it out. 

I told a landscaper friend that we grew them from seed and he said it can be notoriously difficult. He hates them and only his wife grows theirs, but he grows everything else from berries to potatoes. They are also in a different climate. We've had a very poor summer full of rain though. 

How's everyone else's summer gardening going?

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It's winter where I am so my winter garden is brimming full of citrus!

We have lemonades, myer lemons, eureka lemons, calamansi (best smelling citrus ever) and pomelos! The pomelo I am so proud of! Put it in when I was pregnant with the kidlet as a tree to mark his beginnings and it's yielded 15 fruit this year. Kidlet grew up to be a pomelo loving monster as well. He usually takes a fruit to bed for a week and then eats it! I have made a lovely pomelo salad with it.

Sugar bananas have slowed down during winter. I am hoping the ones that formed in early autumn will taste ok as it has been a very cold winter.

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3 hours ago, Athena said:

How's everyone else's summer gardening going?

I'm drowning in zucchini and crookneck squash, but that always happens; the neighbors are kept fed, and the food pantry gets the excess.

I have a lot of tomatoes, too, but I hoard those.  :-)

The artichokes were slow to produce, but they're finally starting.

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The extended Indian summer was a huge win for my hot pepper plants, as they were unhappy with the cool summer. Now I have like six pounds of skinny little red hot peppers. 2 varieties, one super hot and the other jalapeño hot. 

Any suggestions on what I should do with them?

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2 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

The extended Indian summer was a huge win for my hot pepper plants, as they were unhappy with the cool summer. Now I have like six pounds of skinny little red hot peppers. 2 varieties, one super hot and the other jalapeño hot. 

Any suggestions on what I should do with them?

Send them my way. :)  Roast them & freeze them for the winter.

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34 minutes ago, ariel said:

Send them my way. :)  Roast them & freeze them for the winter.

Roast the the little hot peppers?  I think my eyes would burn out if I put them on a tray in the oven. Heh.  I was thinking about canning them.

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3 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

Roast the the little hot peppers?  I think my eyes would burn out if I put them on a tray in the oven. Heh.  

If you had a cold or allergies, it would clear you sinus  up quickly.  A good spicy bloody mary would too.  ;)

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I bought another thyme plant this weekend. My last one died in less than two weeks. Even if it only lasts long enough for me to pluck a tablespoon of leaves, it's still cheaper than buying a few sprigs in a plastic pack.

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17 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Make your own hot sauce!

This is a legitimate option I think.  

Half of them are about 5 inch long red peppers that look a bit like cayenne peppers, but I think they're some kind of Italian variety. They're pretty hot.

The other half are 2-3 inch little red bastards that that grew pointing up. They're super hot. 

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@JTMacc99 my parents dry their chillies and make chilli powder or use the whole dried chillies in dishes. 

I make a chilli lemongrass sauce with them. It's a nice asian dipping sauce to eat with meat. 

My mulberry tree was insane this year. For about three weeks I was harvesting 500g of mulberries a day. Have made so many batches of mulberry jello, slices, muffins, given them away, froze some. Officially scared of mulberries!

I hate wasting food especially home grown food so that plant has made me work hard! At least it only does this once a year. 

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On 10/17/2017 at 11:06 PM, biakbiak said:

Make your own hot sauce!

I did in fact make a batch of my own hot sauce yesterday. Just a pound of the little ones, cooked down in a couple of cups of white vinegar and some salt. Run that through the blender when the peppers are soft and put it through a strainer.  

It says to let it hang out in the refrigerator for a while to let it settle, so I didn't try it, but I plan to do so tonight.  It did smell and look like Frank's Red Hot, so I think I have a success on my hands. 

If so, I might do the same thing with the slightly bigger and less hot peppers. 

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