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  FORUM:   Gardening Advice, Ideas, Questions
TOPIC:   Gardening Questions and Solutions! 2013 


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MEADOWBUTTERFLY
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3/27/14 4:54 A

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No, I've never tried those types of eggplants. We always plant Black Beauty Eggplants. I'm afraid my hubby is pretty well stuck on those, and trying something new is not his forte'. lol! I've always coated them in raw egg, then cracker crumbs and fried them. That's another thing he's stuck on, fried foods. :( I THINK I tried roasting them one time last year, and for some reason, they came out soggy in the middle and not fully cooked around the edges. Not sure why, but it was probably something I did wrong. lol!

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DHSEKERKE
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3/27/14 2:26 A

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Have you ever tried fairy tale eggplants? They are divine. They are small and tender, grow in clusters of 5 or 6. They are light purple with white stripes. They are prolific. Slicing them, mixing them with a tiny amount of olive oil and tossing with a seasoned salt then roasting till carmelized at 350 degrees in the oven is absolutely divine. I won't be able to do much gardening this year, but I WILL have some small tomatoes and those eggplants.

; )

Debbie

I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost


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MEADOWBUTTERFLY
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3/26/14 2:02 P

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I like Shar's suggestion about using pots for this year. Once you find where your dry spots, wet spots, most and least nutritious soils etc.. are, you can take it from there, for permanent planting. I love tomatoes and eggplants! Not everyone likes eggplants. We can't even give them away around here. emoticon *sigh*

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SHARJOPAUL
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3/26/14 7:30 A

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Even in a new house you can guess fairly well what areas will have enough sun for a few of your favorite veggies, and if nothing else you can always put them in pots and move them to spots that get good sun.



DHSEKERKE
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3/26/14 7:21 A

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I'm in a new house and I'll have to spend this year figuring out what I have already, where there is sun and shade, that kind of thing. I'm sure I'll have to have a couple of tomatoes and eggplants, though.

; )

Debbie


I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost


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SHARJOPAUL
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3/23/14 9:34 A

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I'm out here!
I'm just getting my veggie garden ready to go for the season.



DHSEKERKE
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3/23/14 2:58 A

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I found the forum. Now, is anyone out there?

; )

Debbie

I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost


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SHARJOPAUL
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10/18/13 9:01 P

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Interesting idea, I may try that next spring.



HABITATVITALITY
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10/18/13 5:50 P

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Hi All, I guess this is where I log an idea that I have just tried that really works. You can check out my blog for today for an explanation and photos. I have made pretend cabbage moths out of white plastic, put them in my garden on skewer stakes and it keeps the real cabbage moths off my garden. See blog for full information. Link: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5517203
Cheers Karen

Edited by: HABITATVITALITY at: 10/18/2013 (18:08)

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CBRINKLEY401
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9/2/13 12:39 A

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I agree that Iris are extremely hardy. My grandma's neighbor was thinning their irises and left the extras in bags, out in the yard, over the winter. I was helping to clean up my grandma's yard and came across the bags the next spring, and the irises were alive and growing! I planted them and they did great.
They should do just fine being transplanted this time of year. I have some I need to move and will be transplanting them sometime within the next month once I get the area ready. I'm sure they will be fine. I don't cut back the foliage on mine though, as that reduces the amount of nutrients the plants will manufacture and store in the bulb for next year, and thus also reduces flowering. I wait until the leaves are dead or mostly brown before removing them.
If you mulch them now it may help keep the soil warmer and thus prolong the time they have to root in to the new area before the ground freezes. (For established plants and beds of course, it's best to wait until after the ground freezes to mulch, so a sudden warm spell doesn't start the plants growing again prematurely, or cause the plants to heave out of the ground with too many freeze/thaw cycles).

If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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SHARJOPAUL
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9/1/13 5:47 P

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Iris are a really hardy plant. They can survive transplanting almost any time except winter. However I most often see it recommended to transplant them in the fall. That will let them get the roots established and increase the chances of them blooming the next spring.



ROSES17
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9/1/13 7:45 A

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Where I live (zone 7) you can go ahead and so them now or you can wait until very early spring. Check with your extension agent about that.

Lottie
Eastern North Carolina


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IMLOCOLINDA
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9/1/13 5:59 A

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I have a question about bearded iris. I need to move some of mine and am wondering if this is a project I should do now, as I'm cutting down the foliage, or if I should wait until spring to transplant. I'm in Zone 3 if that matters. Any suggestions or ideas?

The best cure for stressing is to count your blessings...and a long walk won't hurt either!

Never give up what you want the MOST for what you want at the MOMENT!


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FANCYQTR
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8/25/13 10:31 P

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Oh, thank you. The spindly stems are definitely one of the problems. Then they fall over and die.

Yesterday I noticed that one of the vines that grew where I planted the cucumbers had something that looks like one of those individual watermelon. I took pictures and found out it is probably a pumpkin. I know that I didn't plant any watermelon. So I have a little more than I thought. Hooray!

Darlene


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CBRINKLEY401
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8/25/13 12:57 A

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Also, to make sure your stems aren't week, be sure to lightly brush your hand over the tops of the seedlings once a day, or put an oscillating fan on them on low for a few minutes at least. When plants are grown from seed outside, the wind blowing on them strengthens the stems. Inside the air isn't moving so having a fan blowing gently on them or brushing your hand over them does the same thing.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins can form roots along the stems, so if your plants are a bit leggy or spindly, be sure to bury part of the stems in the ground. I do this anyway with tomatoes, as they can always benefit from having extra roots.

If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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FANCYQTR
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8/22/13 4:32 P

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Thank you. I will try that when I start them next year. Years ago (when Dad was still around) I started the plants inside and he transplanted them and they grew like crazy. He always had a great garden, even in the shade.

Darlene


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SHARJOPAUL
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8/22/13 2:21 P

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When starting seedlings inside, sprinkle a little peat moss on top of the soil, this helps prevent damping off. When using a light to help your seedlings, be sure to keep it as close as possible to the plants without touching them. A distance of even 6 inches from the plants will greatly reduce the amount of light they get.



FANCYQTR
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8/22/13 1:05 P

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Thank you. I broke up the soil down there as much as I could. We cannot plant until Memorial Day since we often have snow in May (had it one year in June), so the growing season is late. I keep trying to start the plants inside, but they keep dying every year before I could get them in the ground. Even in the ground they are too spindly to live. I got a couple replacement plants this year -- a pepper, the pumpkin, a tomato and a "cantaloupe." The cantaloupe was mismarked and turned out to be zucchini, which is where I got two of my zucchinis.

I am not sure what I am doing wrong starting the plants. I had a light on them this year and in front of a mostly south facing window.. I get free seeds from the city plus a few transplants. I will have to see if I can scrape together enough for one of those soil testing things. Thanks.

Darlene


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CBRINKLEY401
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8/21/13 10:59 P

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Horse manure is an excellent fertilizer. A fellow gardener uses that to grow his giant pumpkins (not sure if he ever won, but they were definitely large enough to enter in contests). Horse manure (and any compost for that matter) benefits both heavy and light soils in regards to moisture retention and drainage.

If you haven't done so already, I would recommend having your soil tested first to help identify any possible deficiencies that need to be corrected. I've purchased soil testing kits before at garden centers and they weren't very expensive. I even have a probe now that gives moisture, ph, and light levels and doesn't require chemicals. Not sure where I picked that one up at.
PH is important since most vegetables do best with neutral to slightly acidic soils. But too much either way and plants won't grow or produce as well, and are more susceptible to disease.

As to this year's crop, it helps to know when you planted them, weather conditions, etc. My tomatoes took awhile before they finally started growing normally and producing. Heavy spring rains compacted the soil, and we didn't break it up enough so the roots were struggling to push through and water wasn't getting absorbed into the ground properly. Beans and potatoes are also not doing as well as last year, and my peppers are less than a foot tall. Big difference from last year. Planting was delayed, so when we could finally get in to the garden plots to plant, we were so anxious to get things planted that we rushed instead of doing things properly, and it shows. Pumpkins for us are behind as well. We often would have our first orange ones show up in August, but none are even close to full grown yet this year.

If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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SHARJOPAUL
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8/21/13 10:56 P

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FANCYQTR
This has been another strange gardening year for many of us, with a wet late spring, followed by a very cool stretch in late July and early August. So many things are very late this year. I usually have ripe tomatoes by mid July and this year didn't get any until early August. So some of your problems may be due to the weather. I had to re-sow some things because the seeds rotted before they sprouted.

The manure will probably help the soil, it depends on what type of soil you have to begin with. If the soil has a high clay content the organic matter with help loosen it up and if it is sandy it will help it retain moisture better. It will also add some nutrients to the soil. How much it will help depends on the condition of your soil to begin with and what nutrients it needs, which you can only tell by getting your soil tested.



FANCYQTR
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8/21/13 1:05 A

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I got very little from my garden I planted this year. We dug several bags of compost soil into it before I planted the seeds and transplants. I do have quite a few tomatoes, though they haven't begun to ripen. I got 3 zucchini that I can find and I think 3 very small butternut squash (not anywhere near ripening). The butternut squash are about 5 or maybe 6 inches long with about a 2 1/2 inch diameter round part. I have about 2 small Anaheim peppers and 2 very small Big Jim peppers (about 1/2 inch in length. No cantaloupe and no pumpkins. I had only one cucumber plant growing and nothing else that I planted even sprouted.

My question is if I put my 3 barrels of manure on the garden and dig it in, will that be enough to get the garden going better next year? It is currently about 8' x 12', but I want to add about 18" to the side and maybe 4 feet in length. The manure is 1 1/2 year old horse manure. I have known people who use that type for fertilizer who got good results and I cannot afford to purchase fertilizer.

Darlene


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CBRINKLEY401
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7/16/13 1:54 P

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You can always tell the male flowers from the female ones for any of the squash family, as the female ones bloom right near the vine and have a baby squash/pumpkin/cucumber located right behind the flower even before it blooms. The males have longer stems and just the flower. Pickles usually only have female flowers so they include some other cucumber seeds in the packets to provide the male flowers to pollinate them.

Cucumbers last longer if you do NOT refrigerate them. The ones you get from the store however have been refrigerated so they do need to be stored in the refrigerator.

If it's to be, it's up to ME.

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JANEYBEE
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7/16/13 2:20 A

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I finally do have some more baby cukes forming. Looking forward to a fresh crunch!

Janey

Elementary Resource Specialist

California


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SHARJOPAUL
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7/1/13 9:47 A

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Cucumbers and squash plants will generally produce both male and female flowers on the same vine. The male flowers usually start opening before the female ones.



JANEYBEE
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7/1/13 1:12 A

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Thanks, I hadn't thought about the male/female cucumber thing, I bought plants this year, but I know with seeds some varieties include a male pollinator. All of mine have produced at least one cuke, so something must be working, maybe just not enough.

Janey

Elementary Resource Specialist

California


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SHARJOPAUL
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6/24/13 2:12 P

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JANEYBEE
Here is a link to a good article on pollination of various garden veggies including cucumbers.

http://www.spokane-county.wsu.edu/Spokane/eastside/Fact%20Sheets/C148%20Why%20Blossoms%20Fail%20%2005.pdf

Sorry but you are going to have to copy and paste the link because add a link didn't work.



GEORGIEGURLZ
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6/24/13 11:49 A

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Thanks Roses for the info. I didn't think it was a blight because it came back in the volunteer plants this year. I had never seen this type of tomato disorder til last year. Also copper sulfate has no affect on it when the volunteer plants came up this year.
I will pass this information on.
I have pulled out all of the plants that came up volunteer and destroyed them. Now I have signs of early blight in my other tomatoes!
We have had a monsoon season here in WV for a while. I have pulled off the damaged parts on the tomatoes. Know any remedies? I am trying copper sulfate.

Edited by: GEORGIEGURLZ at: 6/24/2013 (11:55)
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.


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JANEYBEE
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6/24/13 2:30 A

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Do cucumbers need a specific temperature range to successfully set fruit? I had at least one fruit from each plant, (3 varieties) by the first week of June and now I don't see any new ones in progress. Some flowers, but no baby cukes. emoticon Our temps have been up and down, not our usual June gloom pattern.

Janey

Elementary Resource Specialist

California


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SOUTHERNMOM72
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6/20/13 2:22 P

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Sometimes 'sun scald' or even just overwatering can look like tomato blight. Water on the ground early in the day-try not to let the water sit on the leaves-also, tomatoes would rather be flooded twice a week than watered a good bit everyday. Central Florida is a great place to grow just about anything that can be grown in the south, just as long as you know a few tricks.



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ROSES17
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6/20/13 5:57 A

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There is a wilt that has the same signs that you are telling me. The best thing to do is to pull them up and make sure that you do not put them in your compost pile. I saw a lot of that last year as I helped my horticulture agent at the cooperative extension agency. I am a Master Gardener and love to share advice and knowledge to others. Also, rotate your garden from year to year. Don't put things that are in the same family in that spot for a couple of years as this is soil born.

Edited by: ROSES17 at: 6/20/2013 (05:59)
Lottie
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GEORGIEGURLZ
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6/19/13 9:04 P

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Last year my tomatoes took a blight. I went to the local extension office and they said it was late blight, even though it was very early in the season. The leaves looked like they had been burned. Some of them would turn yellow, some of them had spots and they would fall off. They told me to use copper sulfate. I did that and I saved my harvest, but by the end of the season the plants were done for. I destroyed all the plants. This year I had some volunteer tomatoes come up. I left some of them in the garden because I recognized them as varieties that I grow each year. They soon started showing signs of the same "blight". But the copper sulfate is non effective on these plants. Any ideas on what kind of a disease this could be and what to do about it. My Mom and 2 sisters have had the same problem with volunteers that came up from their gardens. They had the same "blight" last year also, and their volunteers did the same things mine did. We have pulled and destroyed all the volunteer plants.
I took one plant to the extension office yesterday and asked if they could test it to see what kind of disease this is.
Any suggestions?


Edited by: GEORGIEGURLZ at: 6/19/2013 (21:05)
Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.


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FANCYQTR
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5/27/13 8:34 P

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We started rototilling the garden today and found that it is full of ants. Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them? My friend told me to take back the DE I got because she has some and she told me about something with Borax and jelly. I need to clear out a plot 8 X 12. I have quite a bit left to get done in there after they are gone since it turns out there are a lot of tree roots in it.

Darlene


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SHARJOPAUL
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5/26/13 11:37 A

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Hi, welcome to the team.
Successful gardening begins with the soil. The better it is the better the crops you grow will be.
Most of us are not lucky enough to have great garden soil, so we have to create it. Add as much organic matter to your soil as you can. If you don't have a compost bin, start one. Organic matter/compost loosens up clay soil and adds a lot of nutrients to sandy soil as well as helping sandy soil with water retention.



FANCYQTR
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5/26/13 2:17 A

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I just joined this team and may need a lot of help with trying to get my garden going. I have some seedlings started to put out there, but they are dying, again. The same thing happened last year. I planted them in the containers that you can just put in the ground and they disintegrate. I have 7 bags of organic soil/compost to put in the garden. I have some "pizza peppers" (I don't know what that means, tomatoes, lettuce and spinach that is all going. Other than that I have planted some squash and cantaloupe. I also plan to have winter squash, pumpkin (don't know if there is time for that to grow), chili peppers, carrots, cucumbers and I have 2 kinds of tomatoes that are transplants. I will try to get some herbs started in containers. I have tried tomatoes and chili peppers the last several years and haven't gotten anything from those plants. I also have raspberry in a pot and have a strawberry plant that I don't know if I can get to grow properly or not since the cat kept eating it. It has one stem left.

Does anyone have any advise what I can do to get these things to grow and product in zone 5 (Denver)? I have an 8 x 16 plot we are trying to get prepared on Monday.

Darlene


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BRAVELUTE
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4/14/13 2:22 P

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Yes Roses, my strawberries love the raised bed and I expect they would have taken over the 4X4 foot area if I had planted the 2 plants in the center instead of the outside squares. They started putting out runners immediately. I have other plants in hanging baskets, and they are pretty, but the raised beds are doing better.

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ROSES17
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4/14/13 1:41 P

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I have tried to do strawberries in one of those upside down things and they just died right out. Big waste of money. The ones that I put in the raised bed a finally doing something. I think those will make it.

Lottie
Eastern North Carolina


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TERRIJ7
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4/14/13 11:42 A

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My dad tried the upside down tomato bags and said it was a waste of time, too. He has always been one to try "novelty" plants for the garden, just for fun--like the giant, 16' corn and foot-long green beans he grew when we were kids--but he said he wouldn't do those tomatoes again.


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BRAVELUTE
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4/11/13 9:47 P

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PS: I tried tomatoes in one of those upside down tubes last year. Big waste of my money. I'm doing much better this year in the ground with the soil ammended with lots of Mels mix. I at least have fruit. Hopefully I'll get some to maturity.

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BRAVELUTE
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4/11/13 9:44 P

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Yesicon, I live on the Gulf Coast in Central Florida. I don't consider myself an expert. The most success I've ever had was this past year, using the square foot gardening method. I set up four 4 x 4 raised bed boxes in the fall and had lots of salad greens, peas, squash blossoms. Garlic, onions, and shallots are still going. I planted peppers and tomatoes in that fall garden, but they never made it. I'll have them going earlier next year.

I'm afraid I got everything in my spring garden going too late. I was in NC in January and should have started my transplant seeds then. I can't help you too much with tomatoes. I've never been successful except with patio pots. So that might fit your situation.

Re: the heat: I have put containers on the east side of my house. They get the morning sun, and then are shaded in the hot afternoon. And let me tell you, the afternoon is hot. The watercress is doing well there, at least for now in a tub that I keep VERY wet. I'm working on grow bags for the greens which I plan to put in the narrow strip on the west side of my house. Things will be shaded in the morning, and get full sun like from 11 - 1, then dappled shade from the hedge on the west lot line the rest of the day. I'm hoping I can get the cool weather crops like the greens and maybe broccoli to grow there now. However, the broccoli is still going strong in the full sun raised beds.

I have found that basil does well just throwing out some seeds. And it reseeds itself quickly. I'm trying stevia which is supposed to like the heat. I found seeds, but Walmart sells it.

I watched a video about sprouting seeds for sprouts to eat like barley, wheat, mung beans, etc. And they were all grown just with ambient light inside.

So perhaps your patio or porch might be the place to try. And consider grow bags with a mix like Mel Bartholomew recommends for square foot gardening: 1 part coarse vermiculite, 1 part peat, 1 part blended compost from 5 different sources.
Grow Bags would allow you to carry your plants to new places for different times of the growing seasons. More sun in the fall, less sun now. I even put things in them in the fall that didn't want to have frost and moved them inside when a hard freeze was expected, then back outside after it warmed up.

I also grew lots of greens in Dollar Tree plastic containers. Especially leaf lettuce. My patio table was covered with them and once they matured, I had a salad every day for about 2 months from 6 containers. Red Salad Bowl was spectacular.

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HACK_HACKER
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4/11/13 9:26 P

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My grandmother is an avid gardener in Florida. You'll have to do a lot to avoid sunburn--on the plants, I mean! The screen on your porch should help a little, but I'd get in the habit of only allowing the plants to sit on the porch from dawn to noon, or from afternoon to sunset. That's if your going to grow during the summer.

You can get a more typical growing season if you grow during the "winter," but bulbs of any sort will have to be dug up and put in the freezer after their growing season. Most other plants, you'll find, will bolt (throw up flower spikes and seeds) prematurely in the Florida heat.

Tomatoes would have to be grown during Floridian spring or fall to avoid splitting or burning the fruit. The biggest trick will be keeping the container (or the ground) from drying out too much, because the fluctuation between a heavy watering and the drying heat will split the fruit too. There are some varieties bred to avoid splitting or burning, and growing upside-down or in tomato bags might help. Best of luck!


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ROSES17
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4/7/13 3:52 P

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I plant cucumbers and squash in pots on the south side of my house. They tend to do really good and it keeps them off of the ground. I don't know much about gardening in Florida but you may want to give cucumbers and squash a try.

Lottie
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SHARJOPAUL
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3/11/13 4:07 P

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YESICON2
Many herbs are great for container gardening, though many that we use are native to the Mediteranian area and are traditionally grown on sunny slopes with poor soil so they may do well in your area

Since I'm from Missouri, I don't have experience with the Florida growing climate and season but tomatoes would probably benefit from lots of compost being work into the soil. Also planting them on a side of the house that gets less sun, east, might help them

Hopefully some other team members who know more about growing in your area and add to this..




YESICON2
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3/11/13 3:22 P

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Hi Shari, I have been a member of Sparkpeople for a while, however, I've not been very active. Hopefully that will change. I love gardening but here is central FL it's really tough. My goal for now is to grow some herbs on my screen porch. Later I would like to expand to a real garden. I don't have a lot of shade and the sun gets unbearable in the summer. I'm hoping others out there will have some ideas. Also if anyone has any helpful hints of growing tomatoes down here, I'm all ears! (or e-mails as the case may be.) emoticon

The road of life is made smoother when traveled with someone you love!


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SHARJOPAUL
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3/7/13 3:43 P

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Hi fellow organic gardeners!
My name is Shari, I have just join the other co-leaders of this team to try to help all of you become better organic gardeners, hopefully you will also be helping us do the same.

The idea behind this topic is to have one place for all of you to ask your gardening questions and get information and solutions to help you out. I will be "overseeing" this topic to be sure each questions gets at least some reply promptly. This does not make me the be all and end all expert on any and all qardening questions. I hope that many of you will contribute to help supply each other with ideas on how to deal with questions and problems. Since this is an organic gardening team, I do ask that you keep any recommendations organic.



 
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