Saturday Gardening Thread: Winter Dreaming [KT]

blt 2.jpg


What will your dream look like this summer?

Hello, gardeners and friends of gardeners. Not much going on in most Gardens of The Horde right now, though we did get one outstanding example of a garden in Florida. Many of the rest of us are dreaming about future gardening.

HH has been campaigning to have the Food Thread follow the Gardening Thread. Probably not feasible. But that doesn't mean we can't do a preview. Think about the kind of tomato you might want to plant (or the plant you might want to give to a neighbor) to create a custom BLT on Labor Day Weekend, as seen above. That looks like one of the darker varieties of tomato.

There is also a German Potato Salad recipe at that old link. In case you are hungry today and still have some potatoes you grew last summer.

Cumberland Astro also had a great idea that sent me into the Gardening Thread archives. We can compare the information there with what is in our current seed catalogs. Remember, especially in the case of heirloom tomatoes, early planting is often key.

Now that we're in catalog season, I'd be curious what success other gardeners have had with various tomato varietals, especially which ones they find to be extremely reliable and which ones they've had no success with. As for me, I've been growing tomatoes for 20 years in three very different environments - 1) Blast furnace heat in Central Texas; 2) Warm & muggy South Louisiana; 3) Cool, wet southern Appalachian mountains. Here is my experience so far:

Here's a little reminder that there's always something new in vegetable breeding. Open Catalogs now. :

wldtomato.jpg

Challenges in bringing great tomatoes to market

Below, Cumberland Astro's tomato categories and great information from his own garden are interspersed with my experiences and photos and info from old threads, to get you going with observations of your own.

BEST ALL AROUND WORKHORSES: Celebrity and Better Boy. In all three environments in which I've gardened, these two tomato varieties have been healthy, prolific producers of flavorful tomatoes.

I like those, too. And an indeterminate cousin of Celebrity whose name escapes me at the moment. Anybody else have a candidate?

BEST CHERRY: Sweet 100. I've grown this in all three environments and it has always thrived. I've never lost a plant to disease, and one plant provides abundant cherry tomatoes all year.

I have trouble getting even cherry tomatoes to last all season, but I am partial to Sun Gold early on and Chocolate Cherry in the fall, from a late planting. Do you have a favorite cherry?

Back in 2015, we discussed the breeder who bred Maglia Rosa, which is kind of hard for most people to grow, but which is reputed to taste great. It's a little bigger than a cherry.

Maglia Rosa.jpg

In a July 2015 update, after a hat tip from CBD we discussed Garden Gem, promoted as the "perfect gardent tomato". One parent is Maglia Rosa. Anybody tried growing it? Ws it perfect?

WORST PLANTS: All the "Beef" tomatoes - Beefsteak, Beefmaster, Big Beef, etc. I look at the pictures and want these big beautiful fruit, but all I ever get is a sickly plant that struggles to produce one or two sad pieces of fruit.

I have done well with Big Beef but not the others. It grows into a huge plant that can sort of shade itself. Not the most prolific ever. I have several "worst" candidates. How about you?

HEAT TOLERANT: Although I could successfully produce fruit from the various heat tolerant tomatoes (Heatwave, Sunmaster, etc) when I lived in Texas, these tomatoes were so devoid of flavor I finally quit growing them. Their fruit was literally red orbs of flavorlessness. Store-bought tomatoes have more flavor. Surprisingly, the tomato that I found best for the heat was Early Girl. Early Girl is not my favorite tomato by any means, it's smallish and has so-so flavor, but with a short growing season in Texas, this one was mandatory so as to maximize the short tomato-eating season. I eventually came to realize that while Early Girl may get a little stressed when the other plants die in July, she hangs in there - still producing some fruit throughout July and August, and by September she is producing a strong volume of fruit again.

I have done well with the little tough-skinned Fourth of July and with Miracle Sweet (if you can find seeds). Both sort of small tomatoes.

HEIRLOOM: When I had a huge tomato plot in Texas, I experimented with many heirlooms. All but two were either efforts in futility or the production was so negligible (1 or 2 fruit per plant) that I would never bother again. The two exceptions are Cherokee Purple and Brandywine. These are also the two best tasting tomatoes, in my opinion. Cherokee Purple has thrived in all three growing environments, with healthy plants and acceptable fruit production all summer long. I only grew Brandywine in Texas when I had the huge tomato patch. Fruit production was minimal, but the tomatoes were so darn tasty that I'd grow 'em again if I had enough space.

Early planting, and for me, part shade and mulch, may make a difference. I have done well with Stump of the World, which is a smaller, tangier version of Brandywine, with Dr. Lyle and with J.D.'s Special C Tex. I have gotten a few Cherkee Purple fruits in part shade. Lush.

This old post discusses heirlooms and other tomatoes recommended for various climates. Check out the photo of 'Mexico'. I bought seeds once, but they were for a different tomato.

AM I THE PROBLEM: Two hybrids that I read good reviews about but I cannot grow for some reason are Bonnie Original and BHN 602. In all three environments these two have performed as poorly for me as the Beef tomatoes. I keep trying to grow them but I won't anymore. I must be the problem.

Haven't tried these. Have you?

Back in 2016, I decided it was time to talk about determinates vs. indeterminates. Determinates may make a difference if you have had trouble growing tomatoes in the past:

tomatoes table.JPG

BLT, burger or straight-up tomato?

"I thought it would be appropriate to quickly review the topic of determinate tomatoes at the end of summer. Determinate tomatoes bear fruit near the ends of branches, which then quit growing. Some determinate tomatoes ripen all at once, like the commercial tomatoes that fill trucks around here during the summer.

Others ripen over a fairly long season. Many of the most adaptable hybrid tomatoes, like Celebrity, are determinate. Some are short and some are bigger, but they are usually bushier than the more vine-like indeterminates. Some short-season growers only plant determinates.

There are also some open-pollinated determinates like the old Burpee's Quarter Century, recommended for containers in the desert; Moravsky Div (Wonder of Moravia), a determinate or semi-determinate version of Stupice, called the best early slicer; and Fish Lake, a determinate oxheart for short seasons.

My favorite determinate tomato remains Sweet Tangerine Hybrid from Burpee. Golden Girl Hybrid, sold by Pinetree, tastes almost as good. Both are disease-resistant. They seem to alternate bearing over a long season. I hope to plant them next year. Along with some big pink heirlooms like Stump of the World and Dr. Lyle, for pure luxury. And some workhorse tomatoes. Maybe a new-to-me oxheart, too.

Sweet Tangerine.jpg

Sweet Tangerine

Gardens of The Horde

Anonymous in South Florida sent the following inspiration for all of us:

Try this one on for size:

My wife's vegetable garden (photo attached) is about 100' x 45'. We're just getting it going down here in South Florida. There are thirty 4' x 15' beds, plus a perimeter bed. My job was to build the fence (completed yesterday). The squashes you see are volunteers from the compost we tilled into the area.

Herself began planting today, starting with various peas and lettuces. She has some trellis-building to do for her pole beans. Cukes and sugar snap peas will go along the fence line.

florigar.jpg

He identified the plants already growing as volunteer squashes from their compost.

Most are already flowering, and a few have set fruit. Our compost seems to have superpowers. It's a combination of horse manure and kitchen trimmings. We also have a couple of dozen hens, so there is plenty of calcium from the shells. I think there are a couple of unplanned sweet potato vines out there, too. We'll have a few months where we're swimming in produce, and we'll wind up giving a lot of it away. By May, the only thing that will stay alive is peanuts, eggplant, and okra. We could extend the season with hydroponics and a shade house, but the capital costs are intimidating. Typically, the summer heat and rains chase my wife indoors. That's OK too, because that's when she starts knitting and quilting! I keep myself busy year 'round brewing, baking, and building odds and ends.

BTW, grilled okra is awesome!

Wow. I am impressed. Can't wait to hear about how the other veggies turn out.


Anybody else got something going on in the garden?


If you would like to send information and/or photos for the Saturday Gardening Thread, the address is:

ktinthegarden
at g mail dot com

Include your nic unless you want to remain a lurker.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:19 PM




Comments

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1 Unless I'm growing Frosted Flakes, no outside gardening here. Snow coming down again..

Posted by: HH at January 12, 2019 01:16 PM (mIJBI)

2 In before Skip

Posted by: kallisto at January 12, 2019 01:17 PM (DJFLF)

3 oops, guess not!

Posted by: kallisto at January 12, 2019 01:18 PM (DJFLF)

4
I bought a Husqvarna blower/vac today on ebay.

I didn't pick up any leaves last Fall. So this Spring's cleanup will be 3X as hard.

Posted by: Soothsayer -- Follow and Lick Me On Fakebook at January 12, 2019 01:21 PM (74GXa)

5 Those tomatoes look more like beets. Maybe they are beets. It's a beet sandwich.

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero) at January 12, 2019 01:21 PM (UGqF8)

6 Speaking of volunteers-- I have volunteer dill and chamomile here in north Mississippi. Sprouted just about where it was planted last year. Crazy to go pick fresh dill in January.

I too would like the food thread to be after the gardening thread.

Posted by: Marica at January 12, 2019 01:23 PM (cykH2)

7 1 Unless I'm growing Frosted Flakes, no outside gardening here. Snow coming down again..
Posted by: HH at January 12, 2019 01:16 PM (mIJBI)

--------

Have you considered closet hydroponics?

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero) at January 12, 2019 01:24 PM (UGqF8)

8 Anybody else got something going on in the garden?

--------

Rabbits. Lots of rabbits.

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero) at January 12, 2019 01:25 PM (UGqF8)

9 Love growing tomatoes but gave up a few years ago cuz of all the frigging tobacco horn worms.

*shakes fist at sky*

Posted by: Naturalfake at January 12, 2019 01:26 PM (B8UZp)

10 In N. Indiana Juliet is my fav 'cherry' type. More like a little roma, in a good season will grow 9 foot tall with countless hundreds of fruit. The harvest runs right up to frost. It is also my earliest to harvest. Meatier than some cherries it is great in fresh salsa.

Monday it was 52 degrees. Two nites ago went down to 23. Now it is snowing.

Posted by: Cicero Boom chicka boom Kaboom! Kid at January 12, 2019 01:32 PM (9Uclw)

11 Mater samiches. Yum

McGyver, Out

Posted by: McGyver at January 12, 2019 01:32 PM (NCLen)

12 Naturalfake at January 12, 2019 01:26 PM
Get some bT spray. Non-toxic to other organisms, works like a charm.

Some people I know put tobacco snuff under each plant. I have no idea what that is supposed to do.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:33 PM (BVQ+1)

13 Tomatoes: delightful flavor, horrible texture.

Posted by: Rusty Nail at January 12, 2019 01:33 PM (ju9gW)

14 IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE A GARDENING THREAD IS ALSO A FOOD THREAD!

Posted by: BEN ROTHLINGBURGER at January 12, 2019 01:34 PM (q177U)

15 awesome thread, as always, KT!

Posted by: concrete girl at January 12, 2019 01:34 PM (Wr4LW)

16 that was an earthquake...

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 01:35 PM (BHU1I)

17 Forgot to mention Neves Azorean Red. Only red beefsteak heirloom that has done well for me.

Among smaller heirlooms, I've gotten some dreamy early Cosmonaut Volkov fruits (it's recommended for climates cooler than mine).

I like little AAA Sweet Solano from Wild Boar Farms. Of course, it is open-pollinated but I would not call it an heirloom, technically.

My best dark tomato has been Nyagous.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:40 PM (BVQ+1)

18 Marica at January 12, 2019 01:23 PM

Fun! What a nice surprise.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:41 PM (BVQ+1)

19 That BLT sammich looks yummy. Never had any success with tomatoes myself. When I was a kid, dad's garden had lots of very healthy tomatoes.

Posted by: BifBewalski -sofa king we Todd did at January 12, 2019 01:41 PM (AkbBs)

20 My favorite cherry is Mexican Midget. The cherries are smaller than a marble, sweet with a hint of tartness, and very productive. Green Zebra is my favorite medium sized tomato. Our seeds arrived yesterday so I am thinking about what will go where in the beds. The cold frames have 3 inches of snow on top. I will let the snow insulate them until we get some sunshine on Monday.

Nice looking Florida garden.

Posted by: colfax mingo at January 12, 2019 01:43 PM (w1Q8n)

21 We had a reasonable spice garden in window boxes growing on the deck here in Huntsville, AL, but the local racoon population decided it belonged to them and rooted through the boxes like wild hogs in a peanut garden.

Posted by: BifBewalski -sofa king we Todd did at January 12, 2019 01:43 PM (AkbBs)

22 Thanks for the tip KT. Maybe I'll give them a whirl again this year.

Posted by: Naturalfake at January 12, 2019 01:44 PM (B8UZp)

23 BEN ROTHLINGBURGER at January 12, 2019 01:34 PM
Yes, it is. As long as it's not just pork roast.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:45 PM (BVQ+1)

24 there it is...

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/
eventpage/ci38423128/executive

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 01:45 PM (BHU1I)

25 I had good luck with Thessaloniki tomato a few years ago.. it is small but abundant and flavorful.

The garden center where I buy the seedlings didn't have any last year, but I never got my garden really going due to my wife being in the hospital and so much else going on.

This year for sure!

I have never had any luck with big beefsteak tomatoes. So I tend to go for small to medium fruit.

And I always plan a few bush type tomato plants (patio) near the front of the garden. They start producing early for at least a few weeks.. sometimes longer.. and that tides us over til the indeterminate plants start producing.

The only other thing I grow is herbs.. I have an 8 x 4 raised bed for tomatoes plus 2 or 3 containers.. mostly for herbs I'm not going to waste ground space on peppers or cukes etc when those are dirt cheap at the farm stands and supermarket..

Posted by: Chi-Town Jerry at January 12, 2019 01:48 PM (438dO)

26 Good afternoon Greenthumbs, Snowmen and all the ships at sea
Not sure if I am alone in this but just as soon put sliced peppers on a sammy as tomato, but then I love peppers and thats why I try to grow them ( though have yet to do it very successful).
And pray those volunteer squash isn't spaghetti squash, they take over a garden faster than weeds.

Posted by: Skip at January 12, 2019 01:50 PM (/rm4P)

27 I totally forgot about oxheart tomatoes, too. They are really different. Some of the plants look like they are ready to expire when they are really healthy. They have skinny leaves and some have a "droop gene" on top of that.

'Amish Paste' is an oxheart. Doesn't taste like a paste tomato. They are meaty like paste tomatoes but have better flavor and texture.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:51 PM (BVQ+1)

28 Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 01:45 PM (BHU1I)
------
Huh. Same fault as the Northridge Hills quake?

Posted by: Captain Obvious at January 12, 2019 01:51 PM (Hx3Yn)

29 My favorite tomato is probably Black Krim, but the Cherokee Purple are good, too. Last year I tried something called Italian Heirloom from seedsavers. The plant got huge, the tomatoes were large and meaty, not much seeds. I'll be doing those again this year, and now I'll know to give them plenty of space.

Posted by: Evasiveboat42 at January 12, 2019 01:52 PM (Rz2Nc)

30 I grew Brandywines here in SF bay area a couple of years. They were very prolific and one plant wintered over and produced quite a few tomatoes the next year.

Posted by: Grannymimi at January 12, 2019 01:52 PM (u5LFV)

31 Well. Earthquake.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 01:53 PM (BVQ+1)

32 I am impressed by home gardeners, but there seem to be fewer every year. It has been a very long time since anyone (other than my sister who always has a garden) has handed me tomatoes and zucchini. And squash. So. Much. Squash.

Posted by: Rosasharn at January 12, 2019 01:55 PM (PzBTm)

33 Earthquake-smirthquake! We're supposed to get 3 inches if snow!!!!!

Posted by: Weasel at January 12, 2019 01:58 PM (MVjcR)

34 Good afternoon KT and all. Thanks for this thread. Inspite of my desires for a huge, diverse garden ( so much interesting and tempting info here) we will be limited for the upcoming season due to my needing non-emergancy surgery. So we will concentrate on greens, herbs and tomatoes, all container grown. I can have the Earthboxes and tubs set up ahead of time so all we have to do is plant, water and weed as needed.

So I'll be paying attention to all the tomato information in today's post.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 01:59 PM (bmdz3)

35 I just made a smooshburger with homemade guac. Oof, so good! The fresh jalapenos took it into the stratosphere; the pain/pleasure ratio was perfect.

I think a salsa garden would contain all my needs: tomatoes, garlic, ciantro, jalapenos. Plus lime and avocado trees.

I rented a place in Hawaii that had avocado, starfruit, and mango trees. Talk about being a dharma bum.

Posted by: All Hail Eris, She-Wolf of the 'Ettes 'Ettes at January 12, 2019 02:00 PM (kQs4Y)

36 Having said that in 34 above, I still love looking through the seed catalogs and dreaming.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:00 PM (bmdz3)

37 Good luck JTB!!

I have some seed/plant catalogs and am going to order some pear trees for the farm this spring.

Posted by: Weasel at January 12, 2019 02:01 PM (MVjcR)

38 I have some seed/plant catalogs and am going to order some pear trees for the farm this spring.
Posted by: Weasel at January 12, 2019 02:01 PM (MVjcR)

Thanks!

Posted by: Deer at January 12, 2019 02:02 PM (Rz2Nc)

39 Grannymimi at January 12, 2019 01:52 PM
Congratulation on your success with Brandywines. They seem to do better in cooler climates.

Maybe you had a good strain, too. Be sure to save some seeds. Ferment them. You can find directions on the intertubes.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:03 PM (BVQ+1)

40 Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 01:59 PM (bmdz3)

I hope all goes well with surgery.

Posted by: Evasiveboat42 at January 12, 2019 02:04 PM (Rz2Nc)

41 Did grow Black Krim a few years ago, very good, but then any home grown is better.

Posted by: Skip at January 12, 2019 02:05 PM (/rm4P)

42 Evasiveboat42 at January 12, 2019 01:52 PM

Looked up that Italian Heirloom. Very tempting.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:06 PM (BVQ+1)

43 spring will be here soon enough, but we just got a foot of snow, with more coming. Takes some time to push that much snow off the 1/2 mile lane, but the beet juice helps. It's in the back tires for ballast ... traction and to prevent rollovers ...


I did buy some of the super beet powder stuff once, but it is not that appealing. Borscht or pickled sounds better ...


Looks like a perfect Florida garden, and the weather there right now must be perfect.

Posted by: illiniwek at January 12, 2019 02:06 PM (Cus5s)

44 Love love love the flavor of Brandywine tomatoes! They require a long season, though.

I planted (transplants) in May, didn't get any ripe fruit until end of July-- and there was *a whole lot of it*! They climbed very high and wide, had huge fruit and kept going until frost... We got sick of fried green tomatoes, ripened as many as we could indoors, still threw out about 15 lbs to make space before the Holiday Season.

Note: we had tilled about 4 inches of compost into the garden, so soil was very rich and fluffy that year. Used straw mulch. Zone 6b/7a with hot, dry summer and we watered about twice a week in July and August.

Best cherry imo: Sweet 100.

Only problem now is that the in-ground garden space is gone and neither tomato really likes to be grown in containers here (even 1 plant to each 24" diameter pot!), likely because the soil gets too hot in summer. They got leggy and didn't produce much for us last year. Maybe I used the wrong soil?


Sugar snap peas did well in big container.

This year will be garlic, tulips and daffodils. Won't have time for much else.

Posted by: JQ at January 12, 2019 02:07 PM (zMzA6)

45 Posted by: All Hail Eris, She-Wolf of the 'Ettes 'Ettes at January 12, 2019 02:00 PM (kQs4Y

I've read that avocados all mature at once. Is that true? Because that could be a pain.

Posted by: HH at January 12, 2019 02:07 PM (mIJBI)

46 Indian Stripe may be a candidate for those who have trouble growing Cherokee Purple. More prolific fruit, a little smaller on smaller plants, a little lighter in color. Similar in quality.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:08 PM (BVQ+1)

47 My favorite tomato is probably Black Krim, but the Cherokee Purple are good, too.
------
Same here. I've only been able to grow the Black Krims once to a decent size in CenTX. I'm going to try again this year since it's been so wet it might work.

Posted by: lin-duh at January 12, 2019 02:08 PM (kufk0)

48 i'll re-share my tomato tips, for easy peasy 'mater growing...(assuming the weather cooperates, which it hasn't the last few summers here in The Valley)

'maters are hard as hell on soil nutrients. my solution was to go to Home Despot, find a couple of their largest plastic planters (the ones that look like clay pots) that were cracked or otherwise damages, and buy them at a discount, 'cause i be po'.

dig a hole in your soil, big enough for the pot to fit, with room at the bottom for gravel, if you have poor drainage (we're on clay), then put the pot in the hole, sill with planting mix, then plant your 'maters. water and fertilize as normal. at the end of the season, discard dead plant. next season, dig out used soil, scatter or discard, then put in new planting mix. lather, rinse, repeat.

for the worms, the best solution we've found is to encourage birds to visit your yard. we get packs of "busy birds" (wrens) that flit from plant to plant and branch to branch, looking for insects.

we occasionally find where there was a worm, but finding a live one is very rare...

YMMV with all of the above, but, when the weather cooperates, we have more 'maters than we know what to do with, even with my invention of 'mater salad.

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 02:09 PM (BHU1I)

49 I bought some seeds for Ipomoea leptophylla and Zinnia grandiflora from plants of the southwest seed company. Maybe they will send me a catalog and I'll be able to search for cold hearty stuff w/o having to click on each thing. But its good for me to only order a couple of things. I want to plant some things along the outside fence to hopefully look nice and crowd out the noxious weeds. I know the Ipomea grow in this area. Have to be outside the horse pens cuz they get eaten. (not toxic but not a forage plant.)

Posted by: PaleRider is simply irredeemable at January 12, 2019 02:09 PM (jUcoH)

50 37 ... "I have some seed/plant catalogs and am going to order some pear trees for the farm this spring."

Weasel, Mrs. JTB wants to know if you will order a partridge with the pear trees?

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:11 PM (bmdz3)

51 Lemon Boy is an old hybrid tomato. Surprisingly heat tolerant. Said to be especially good for fried green tomatoes.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:12 PM (BVQ+1)

52 Also have had bad luck here with any of the "Beef" tomatoes. Few fruit, bland flavor.

Posted by: JQ at January 12, 2019 02:13 PM (zMzA6)

53 Better boy tomatoes work well here in western South Dakota. I like roasted banana peppers on sammiches too. Today is not a good day for tomato growing. Ice fog.

Posted by: Archer at January 12, 2019 02:14 PM (W/sE/)

54 redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 02:09 PM
Tomato tips! Thanks.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:14 PM (BVQ+1)

55 Better Boy and Big Beef are both "main crop" rather than beefsteak tomatoes. I like the flavor of Better Boy a little more, but Big Beef peels more easily without blanching if it is fully ripe.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:16 PM (BVQ+1)

56 Looked up that Italian Heirloom. Very tempting.
Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:06 PM (BVQ+1)

Give them a try. I should say I'm in central Ohio and they grew and produced well here.

Posted by: Evasiveboat42 at January 12, 2019 02:17 PM (Rz2Nc)

57 lin-duh at January 12, 2019 02:08 PM
Doesn't any nursery near you sell JD's Special C Tex?

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:17 PM (BVQ+1)

58 I've read that avocados all mature at once. Is that true? Because that could be a pain.
Posted by: HH at January 12, 2019 02:07 PM (mIJBI)
---
I don't know about all at once, but yeah, there are way too many to use at one time.

Posted by: All Hail Eris, She-Wolf of the 'Ettes 'Ettes at January 12, 2019 02:20 PM (kQs4Y)

59 Huh. Same fault as the Northridge Hills quake?

Posted by: Captain Obvious at January 12, 2019 01:51 PM (Hx3Yn)

---
no idea on my part... but there are so many faults in this area, it's take the scientists to figure it out. hell, they keep discovering new ones all the time.

JTB: don't forget to tell Fen when the time comes, so you can get n the prayer list.

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 02:21 PM (BHU1I)

60 Although I love mater sammiches, as I get older I prefer tomato and herb salads with a simple oil and balsamic dressing and toasted pita bread on the side. Keep the dressing light and all that fresh taste from the veggies comes through.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:22 PM (bmdz3)

61 Kallisto -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYyGK118e3E

Posted by: JT at January 12, 2019 02:22 PM (WsccZ)

62 Count me in with the bland Beefsteak crowd. The only beefsteak I could really count on was a green-when-ripe variety, Ruby's German Green. I also liked the smaller greens like Green Zebra.

Posted by: All Hail Eris, She-Wolf of the 'Ettes 'Ettes at January 12, 2019 02:23 PM (kQs4Y)

63 A cold weather variety I liked was Altai.

Posted by: All Hail Eris, She-Wolf of the 'Ettes 'Ettes at January 12, 2019 02:25 PM (kQs4Y)

64 addendum to my alleged "tips"...

one plant per pot.

i put a couple pepper plants in one a couple years back, and while they did kinda okay, i won't be doing it again.

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 02:26 PM (BHU1I)

65 14 IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE A GARDENING THREAD IS ALSO A FOOD THREAD!
Posted by: BEN ROTHLINGBURGER at January 12, 2019 01:34 PM (q177U)

So's the pet thread.


Posted by: Barry O at January 12, 2019 02:28 PM (MwFQu)

66 I just made some Rotel dip w/Jalapeno Velveeta. Damn good on a snowy day. Oh and, the bacon in the pictured BLT looks wildly overdone.
That is all.

Posted by: Brave Sir Robin at January 12, 2019 02:28 PM (ty7RM)

67 I hope the worms over winter in the garden tower. They did last year. Those buggers are expensive.

Posted by: Ronster at January 12, 2019 02:29 PM (wEOvg)

68 Doesn't any nursery near you sell JD's Special C Tex?
Posted by: KT
-----
Never heard of them before.

I thought that Avocado didn't ripen on the tree or maybe that was another fruit...

Posted by: lin-duh at January 12, 2019 02:30 PM (kufk0)

69 Everyone, thanks for the kind thoughts about the surgery. It really is non-emergency. The doctor wants it done within ten years and I would prefer to have it done at 66 that at 76.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:31 PM (bmdz3)

70 I'm up to 3 seed/plant catalogs, here in Idaho's Treasure Valley (Boise area, for those new to the Garden Thread).

Now that the Christmas stuff is all boxed up, we need to sit down and plan our garden for 2019. We have 12 raised beds, each 4 by 8 feet. Some have permanent plantings - 2 strawberry, 1 herb, 1 asparagus. I think the 2 "permanent" blueberry beds are now in flux, because the bushes keep dying (plus there's a you-pick farm within a half-mile of us). From now on, whatever bushes survive will be left to grow, but we won't buy any more replacements. We can instead tuck small things like radishes and carrots between the survivors, to make more room in other beds for larger stuff. (There are already some chives in those beds, and some chamomile.)

In addition to the beds, husband has dug a corn patch. We grow our potatoes in 20-gallon cloth sacks. And we have 5 spots in the ground where we've grown tomatoes/squashes.

Outdoor cleanup is still going on. I will probably be stuffing sycamore leaves into the trash all winter. We did also cut some iris and bunchgrass down. Given the warm winter, I want to make sure I've cut them down before spring growth starts. (High for the week was 52 F !, low was 28 F.)

There's been snow up high, but down here in the valley, we only had 2 inches total at the start of December, and every instance of "rain" has done little more than get everything damp - I'm beginning to worry about drought... I'm hoping for a goodly amount of rain in January through March.

In other news, there will be a total lunar eclipse on Jan. 20-21, so if you've never seen one, check when it will be visible in your area (if I recall, all of North America will get to see it at some point).

Posted by: Pat* at January 12, 2019 02:33 PM (2pX/F)

71 lin-duh at January 12, 2019 02:30 PM
Keep an eye out for a plant sale by master gardeners or a tomato club. I've seen notes on such sales in Texas before. And this is a classic Texas tomato. I think you would like it if you like Black Krim and Cherokee Purple.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:37 PM (BVQ+1)

72 IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE A GARDENING THREAD IS ALSO A FOOD THREAD!
Posted by: BEN ROTHLINGBURGER at January 12, 2019 01:34 PM (q177U)

So's the pet thread.

Posted by: Barry O at January 12, 2019 02:28 PM (MwFQu)

So's food thread.

Posted by: That Guy at January 12, 2019 02:38 PM (tVQUs)

73 Pat* at January 12, 2019 02:33 PM
Planning is how you get the results you do. Thanks for the info on the lunar eclipse.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:39 PM (BVQ+1)

74 This is a great day for reading about spring and summer gardens. It's overcast, just above freezing and 8 to 12 inches of snow are predicted. And we have no need to leave the house. Yaaa, us!!

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:40 PM (bmdz3)

75 I, too, am dreaming and researching. Lots of researching, because after living in New England my entire life and gardening the same plot for years, I recently moved to Colorado. The house is in a subdivision (ick!) but I'm only going to be here for a year. So I've been trying to figure out what I can grow in a short-season, high prairie climate. It looks like this year's garden will have a lot of lettuce, mustard greens, maybe onions, and some tomatoes in containers. The south side of the house gets nice and warm, but the backyard is north-facing, and that's where all the garden beds are (and they're not very big; one is 8x13 and the other is about 6x4).

Who else has tried high-altitude gardening? Any suggestions on what to grow in a small area, and how to make the plants thrive?

Posted by: right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 02:43 PM (zlzYb)

76 KT at January 12, 2019 02:37 PM
You might also check out Black from Tula. I don't think Black Krim is very heat tolerant. There may be other that will do better for you.
Nyagous is smaller, but has done pretty well for me.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:43 PM (BVQ+1)

77 O/T but happened to be at Walmart in computers and while you can browse to see what's up at the HuffPo, HotAir, and Instapundit sites, they have ace.mu.nu blocked.

Posted by: Les Kinetic at January 12, 2019 02:43 PM (+fPHo)

78 Will do KT!

Posted by: lin-duh at January 12, 2019 02:44 PM (kufk0)

79 I just realized 'high-altitude' means different things to some people, so, more specifically, I live at 6,200 feet.

Posted by: right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 02:46 PM (zlzYb)

80 right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 02:43 PM
Well. That's a challenge. Thought about attractive veggies for the south side, too?

Mostly annuals the first year is a good idea. Keeping reflected light in mind may help for north-facing beds: white paint, etc. nearby.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:47 PM (BVQ+1)

81 Mostly annuals the first year is a good idea.
Keeping reflected light in mind may help for north-facing beds: white
paint, etc. nearby.


Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 02:47 PM (BVQ+1)
I'm pretty limited to annuals- the house belongs to my in-laws, and while they are pretty laid-back about my gardening addiction, they're not gardeners. So I don't want to plant perennials this year, move out next year, and have the plants not taken care of.

Posted by: right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 02:50 PM (zlzYb)

82 I second both the Green Zebra and the Cherokee Purple as fabulous tomatoes. I am in the Willamette Valley and it is considered marginal for both those strains, but I tend water deeply but only a couple times a week to not cool them down too much.

The Green Zebras are tenacioius, though. They survive no watering well

Posted by: Kindltot at January 12, 2019 02:51 PM (mUa7G)

83 79 ... right wing yankee,

Glad you cleared that up. Growing up in Rhode Island, 'high altitude' means a three story building.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:56 PM (bmdz3)

84 JTB: not to scare you, but there really isn't anything that is "routine" surgery...i've seen a lot of things since i started w*rking in the field in '92

not sure what you're having done, but if possible, ask your doc to keep the anesthesia to the minimum amount necessary to do the procedure.

Posted by: redc1c4, the ONT Rx Tech at January 12, 2019 03:07 PM (BHU1I)

85 ... right wing yankee,

Glad you cleared that up. Growing up in Rhode Island, 'high altitude' means a three story building.
Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:56 PM (bmdz3)

In Holland, high altitude means anything above sea level.

Posted by: Surfperch at January 12, 2019 03:10 PM (tVQUs)

86
Glad you cleared that up. Growing up in Rhode Island, 'high altitude' means a three story building.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 02:56 PM (bmdz3)

Heh. Eastern CT, for me. When I was at UConn, we used to talk about building an ark to get around the low-lying ag department buildings. Sometimes we were joking; other times, not so much.

Posted by: right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 03:18 PM (zlzYb)

87 Couple more recommendations:

Jetsetter is a good-tasting newer hybrid. Early. Does well in our hot-summer climate. Do not confuse with the older Jet Star, a great tomato for more moderate climates, where Ramapo or Moreton Hybrid are also possibilities. Moreton Hybrid is the only tomato grown by the parents of my sister-in-law, in Utah. Flavor is the reason.

If I lived in a more moderate climate, I would also try Rose de Berne.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 03:20 PM (BVQ+1)

88 right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 02:50 PM
I was thinking of some pepper plants, maybe some eggplants or small tomato plants on the south side. They are attractive. Add some marigolds.

On the north side, try to include some Savannah hybrid mustard. Mild. So, so green.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 03:22 PM (BVQ+1)

89 84 ... redc1c4,

I really appreciate the caution. Fortunately, my doctors are cautious and use the 'not too much' approach and I've always tolerated anesthesia well in the past. That tolerance might diminish with age which is why I want this done in my 60s instead of 70s.

Posted by: JTB at January 12, 2019 03:25 PM (bmdz3)

90 KT- Good idea re: peppers. Mr. yankee loves hot peppers, and Thai Hots seem to grow in a attractive little clump.

I'm not as big on marigolds, but I'm considering low-lying nasturtiums to add some color. And they're tasty.

Posted by: right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 03:27 PM (zlzYb)

91 i second the emotion: whoever cooked that bacon is guilty of a hate crime.

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 03:31 PM (BHU1I)

92 sounds like you have good docs, JTB, and you have my best wishes... because i've seen many things i wish i hadn't.

as i said, give Fen a heads up a week or so ahead of time, and keep us poasted on your recovery.

Posted by: redc1c4 at January 12, 2019 03:34 PM (BHU1I)

93 Celebrity is consistently reliable in my hot dry climate. I've been looking for an indeterminate version for years.

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at January 12, 2019 03:42 PM (2knQY)

94 Emperor of Icecream at January 12, 2019 03:42 PM
The indeterminate cousin of Celebrity is Champion.

Also try Jetsetter.

If you can find Miracle Sweet, I would also recommend it, though it has smaller fruit.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 03:50 PM (BVQ+1)

95 right wing yankee at January 12, 2019 03:18 PM
Check out Signet Marigolds. They aren't stinky and some kinds are said to taste citrus-y.
Nasturtiums may poop out when it gets hot, though that may not be a problem where you are. The produce more flowers if soil fertility is low.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 03:55 PM (BVQ+1)

96 /thanks!

Posted by: Emperor of Icecream at January 12, 2019 04:09 PM (2knQY)

97 Lots of good information about tomatoes. I will be using that next Spring.

Posted by: Ronster at January 12, 2019 05:01 PM (wEOvg)

98 Looking for suggestions regarding small core cabbage varieties. Last year's cabbages were half core.

Posted by: stonecutter at January 12, 2019 06:22 PM (Bfr22)

99 26 Good afternoon Greenthumbs, Snowmen and all the ships at sea
Not sure if I am alone in this but just as soon put sliced peppers on a sammy as tomato, but then I love peppers and thats why I try to grow them ( though have yet to do it very successful).
And pray those volunteer squash isn't spaghetti squash, they take over a garden faster than weeds.

It looks like most are butternut.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 12, 2019 07:47 PM (uADlD)

100 Thanks KT. This has been fun to read today. If I grew tomatoes from seeds I would clearly have a lot more options than starting with small plants. I'm ready to start planting again already. All the best.

Posted by: Cumberland Astro at January 12, 2019 08:22 PM (d9Cw3)

101 I'm going to just say a few comments for tomatoes in central Wisconsin. Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry Bombs and Sunsugar are wonderful, and produce until frost without cracking...but you should provide a high trellis. I grow Big Beef (they were great) for slicing but had amazing crops of Black Krim and Black Beauty in 2018. Big Beef and Sunsugar are available in the local plant sellers such as Fleet Farm and Shop Co. My daughter starts heirloom seeds and gave me plants for Black Krim and Black beauty.

Posted by: Lynn Ivacic at January 12, 2019 10:33 PM (P2m4b)

102 Black Krim and Black Beauty are well amazing for taste.

Posted by: Lynn Ivacic at January 12, 2019 10:37 PM (P2m4b)

103 Thanks for the thread topic, Cumberland Astro.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 11:22 PM (BVQ+1)

104 Anonymous at January 12, 2019 07:47 PM
Thanks for checking in. And for the great photo.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 11:24 PM (BVQ+1)

105 Lynn Ivacic at January 12, 2019 10:33 PM
Nice to hear that all those varieties do well in Wisconsin. Sunsugar is even sweeter than Sun Gold. Not as fruity in flavor. I think it is resistant to an additional disease.

Posted by: KT at January 12, 2019 11:28 PM (BVQ+1)

106 The Baker Creek catalog arrived last week...oh my. I too like Juliet grape/cherry tomatoes. They're meaty enough to make a tasty one pot pasta and they go well into October in the Central Valley. Chocolate Sprinkles is my fav salad cherry. I tried a Bumble Bee mixed packet last year and the Sunrise ones were really good...but it wouldn't be summer without Sungold.

Totally Tomato has a chocolate pear that I'm going to try. I also have some Kumato seeds from store bought fruit I saved, they really are the only tomato in the store right now that has flavor. They originated in Spain so they should take the heat...who knows?

It's funny how the beefsteaks seem so bland now, I remember my Gran growing huge beefsteaks, deep red, sweet, juicy and delicious. We'd scoop out the flesh & mix with tuna salad or cottage cheese for summer supper when it was too hot to cook. Some of them were as big as a salad plate.

Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra and Black Krim did really well for me the last two years. I always plant a row of 6-8 Early Girl to can. They may not be the most flavorsome eaten fresh but can those babies with some basil and next January you'll change your mind. I opened a jar today. Oh and I tried a new (to me) paste tomato Opalka for sauce last year, it's a keeper...very weird looking.

Okay, enough about tomatoes, what sweet non-bell peppers are you growing this year? Cubanelle, Jimmy Nardello and Sweet Sunset banana fer sure...but what else?


Posted by: Shanks for the memory at January 13, 2019 12:56 AM (TdCQk)

107 Oh...I almost forgot! Is anyone growing microgreens?

I have been having ball growing them this winter. At the moment I've got peas, broccoli, Italian Parsley, arugula, sunflowers, and china rose radishes under a kludged grow light fixture I hung on big cup hooks under a cabinet in the laundry room! We've had scads of fresh crunchy greens all winter. The only things I had to buy were the grow light bulb and a couple of compressed coir blocks...and seeds, of course.

It's been a treat to have fresh crunchy greens to put in a sandwich and with lots of lettuces being off the market, to amp up Iceberg salads.

Posted by: Shanks for the memory at January 13, 2019 01:19 AM (TdCQk)

108 i am in total agreement with Celebrity, Sweet 100, and Cherokee Purple. Roma has been very very good for me as a paste tomato.

Posted by: LJ at January 13, 2019 02:28 AM (pqTKj)

109 Last year I was working a lot so my wife picked out the tomatoes and planted them. Then she promptly forgot what she planted. I think the emergence of the first few fruits switches off her memory of varieties, and she subsists on tomatoes for the next three months. So we had a lot of tomatoes, but if that one over there is Russian Krim or Cherokee Purple, I dunno.

Posted by: Gordon at January 13, 2019 06:22 AM (0YEyB)

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