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Old 07-17-2008, 06:56 PM   #21
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After two months of work I have two tomato plants that are growing like gangbusters and have lots of yellow flowers, no fruits yet. The basil plants never grew at all and are looking very pathetic. Two zuchinni plants are doing nicely. A short row of green bean plants, no beans yet. Some pretty marigolds and zinnias. So far I haven't eaten anything.
My expenditures so far
$42 -- plot rental, includes water
13 -- rototiller
12-- plants
8- seeds
30- wall-o-water and cages
8-- organic fertilizer
17 -- burlap, anchors
_____
$130 Total

Does this sound like fun, or what?
Excuse me, but at $10/tomato, my arithmetic says you are expecting a harvest of 13 tomatoes. Are you counting chicken before they hatch?



I am sorry, I was just teasing.
I like to garden too, with mixed results. But I am still doing it, to get some exercise. It's also good for the soul, to see your plants grow.

I have never had much luck with tomatoes. Four fruits the size of golfballs were all I got last year. Eggplants are something else though. They seem to LOVE the heat in AZ. I swear they grow daily. Last year, I had plenty to give away.

About Goonie's suggestion to plant in containers, I think it may not work in AZ due to the heat. The plant roots are cooler when they are in the ground than in the containers.
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:14 PM   #22
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Netting...

Ok this will sound stupid but how do you keep the netting from blowing off in the wind? I.e. how to you anchor the net so it does keeps the birds in and doesn't get tangled up with the tomato plants.

Isn't a pain to undo the netting to harvest, and/or weeding. (Actually it seems like a good excuse to not weed... not that I need any!)
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:44 PM   #23
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Build a makeshift frame, say from plastic pipe, rebar, sticks, etc., then add some twisty ties and some stakes. Maters should be staked, anywho...

Yahoo! Image Search Results for tomato stakes
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:25 AM   #24
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Has anybody tried the upside-down hanging pot thing?
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:00 AM   #25
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Oldbabe, have you looked into CSAs in your area? Many of the smaller ones around here will either let you visit the farm, ask for help working the farm (as part of the CSA agreement) or let you help in exchange for knocking some off of the share price. By joining the CSA you get fresh produce every week while supporting a local farmer. By helping out with the CSA, you'll get some hands-on help and tips from the pros.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:24 AM   #26
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What the heck do you do about birds. I've almost given up growing any beefsteaks because in invariably when I say, "ah that tomato is just about ready to picked," the next day 1/2 of the tomato is gone. While the birds look well feed. You'd think with 4 cats, two of which are quite good hunters, it wouldn't be such a problem.
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Ok this will sound stupid but how do you keep the netting from blowing off in the wind? I.e. how to you anchor the net so it does keeps the birds in and doesn't get tangled up with the tomato plants.
I feel your pain-- my father-in-law was on a tomato kick while they were living here. Somehow instead of growing his own darn tomatoes in his yard I was expected to grow them in ours. We had over a dozen plants and enough yield to feed the National Guard, but at times our backyard looked like scenes from "The Birds".

We kept the plants off the ground with Wal-Mart's 99-cent metal frames that you stick in the ground and drape the plants over. We looped a few feet of fishing line a couple of times through CDs (to keep them from sliding around) and tied the ends between the frames.

The birds can't see the fishing line very well so they keep running into it, and they don't like the way the CDs move & glitter in the sunshine. They get discouraged and move on to other food sources.

We also began picking the bigger tomatoes as soon as they started turning red and ripening them indoors. Of course I was picking cherry tomatoes several times a day!

We discouraged the occasional critter with Volck oil spray and fertilized with Miracl-Gro, although the fertilizer was probably overkill. My FIL kept complaining that the weather wasn't hot enough (over 90 degrees) to get a really good crop. If that's really the case then I'd hate to be in charge of a successful tomato garden!
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:36 PM   #27
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Nords, HFWR thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'll stop by Walmart or HOme Depot and get some more frames and ad some CDs, that seems like a a relatively easy idea.
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:36 PM   #28
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Marquette, I am aware of CSA's but your idea to volunteer with one is interesting. I wish I had the energy and physical ability to take care of my own garden plus volunteer at a CSA.

Update: my early girl plant has tiny green tomatoes. My San Marzano has no flowers or fruits! Rats. I need to feed that one something else.

NW Bound --lucky you to be able to grow eggplant! I think they are a beautiful vegetable. Maybe I'll try those next year.
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:48 PM   #29
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I'm growing my vegetables in containers this year. It makes everything sooo much easier. No weeding and just a little watering once a day. I use a light application of fertilizer in water once a week.

I am using self-watering containers. The results are great. My in-the-ground gardens were never this great. We are going to have approximately ten zillion tomatoes ripening all at once. I also have eggplants with cute babies, peppers, and lots of onions. I also have many pots of herbs.

I also want to plant parsnips, although I am going to wait until next spring. I love them but the hub hates them. More for me.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:25 PM   #30
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I'm growing my vegetables in containers this year. It makes everything sooo much easier. No weeding and just a little watering once a day. I use a light application of fertilizer in water once a week.

I am using self-watering containers. The results are great.
I water my containers every 2 to 3 days (if there's no rain) until the water runs out the drain holes. I also use Soil Moist crystals, which helps immensely.

I tried one of those self-watering containers this year, and I'll definitely be picking up some more of them! The one I have is about 36"L x 12"W x 14"D. They recommend something like 2 or 3 pepper plants as the most you should put in it. I have 10 pepper plants in it, and they are all totally loaded with peppers, and the plants are huge & healthy!!! Anaheim Hots & Hungarian Hots!
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I also want to plant parsnips, although I am going to wait until next spring. I love them but the hub hates them. More for me.
My container parsnips are coming along just super. I'm glad because I've never tried them in containers before.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:28 AM   #31
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You can grow ANYTHING in containers! Flowers, ornamental grasses, herbs, veggies, shrubs, trees.....anything! I know because I grow ALL of those in containers.....106 containers this years.....every size, shape, material, color.....even an old sink!
HEY!! No pic of the old sink? Seriously though, it looks great. Been thinking of adding a few containers to our stuff. And such a nice eclectic collection too.

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I keep watering and waiting and generally give up on the weeding....I finally gave up because of the imbalance of watering/waiting/anticipation compared to the reward.....In my town we pay for water that we use, based on a water meter. Then we also pay a sewer charge, almost double the amount for incoming water. If I'm watering my garden for 3 months, of course I'm paying for water I use. But I'm also paying almost double that for water that's going in the ground and not being treated on the return trip.....I never measured how much water my garden used or how much I spent on the few plants. Per tomato, it may have been economical. I just felt that it wasn't worth the effort and anticipation/disappointment.
Sue, do you have a lawn that requires mowing? One of the things I have found that REALLY cuts down on watering requirements is to use my grass clippings as a mulch. Double benefits as it piles up it preserves ground moisture, and the bottom layer starts to rot and provides fertilizer.

I'm not sure I follow how you are paying more for the water that [i[doesn't[/i] get returned for treatment? Seems to me that would be cheaper, since you aren't paying for the sewer return.

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Ok all of you advanced gardeners.....What the heck do you do about birds.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:42 AM   #32
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I'm not sure I follow how you are paying more for the water that [i[doesn't[/i] get returned for treatment? Seems to me that would be cheaper, since you aren't paying for the sewer return.
I think it's like how they charge us here in town. They meter your water usage, and charge you a certain rate for that. Then they base your sewer rate on that amount, regardless of where the water goes when your done with it.....down the drain or into your yard/garden.
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:46 AM   #33
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In AZ, there is a huge difference in water consumption in winter vs. summer, when people use a lot more to water lawn and to fill swimming pool. So, the sewer charge is based on water useage during the 3 winter months.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:47 AM   #34
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I think it's like how they charge us here in town. They meter your water usage, and charge you a certain rate for that. Then they base your sewer rate on that amount, regardless of where the water goes when your done with it.....down the drain or into your yard/garden.
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In AZ, there is a huge difference in water consumption in winter vs. summer, when people use a lot more to water lawn and to fill swimming pool. So, the sewer charge is based on water useage during the 3 winter months.
Yup, unless you pay extra for a separate water meter to "prove" that the water is going to irrigation instead of to sewage.

I decided it was cheaper/easier to cut way back on the watering. Should be there in another 3-5 years.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:44 PM   #35
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Has anyone read the all new square foot gardening book? My dad swears by it, and by looking at his garden, I think he is onto something!

I have a friend who planted a dozen upside down tomato plants this spring, I need to go check out his operation, i'll report back.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:48 PM   #36
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We have a very small vegetable garden (about 128 sq. ft., mostly all-day filtered sun with only 2 hours of bright sun per day). This year it has yielded a fair amount of veggies, far exceeding my expectations.

YTD, this is what we harvested:
21 small beets, 6 cucumbers (those are actually planted in containers), almost 1 lb. of green beans (just started harvesting those last week), 18 servings of lettuce, 12 onions, 46 potatoes, 85 radishes, 21 strawberries (most were eaten by some critters despite the net), 6 bell peppers, 2 lbs. of swiss chard, 32 tomatoes and 1 zucchini, plus plenty of basil, parsley and cilantro.

I use a granulated fertilizer called "Osmocote flowers and vegetables".

Picture of one of our early June harvests:
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:41 PM   #37
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FIREdreamer, nice!
I especially like the beet.

Our tomatoes could be doing better. After good growth last month, they have started to exhibit shrinking foliage (yes, literally re-dimensioned) and yellowing/dried-out lower leaves on some plants (tho' I have watered them all equally). Yield appears modest at best now; the newer flowers seem less apt to bear fruit. It has definitely been 90 or so these last couple of weeks. Older fruits seem on a good track, but I guess I was hoping for more abundance.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:51 PM   #38
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Firedreamer, that's an amazing harvest for a filtered light location! Way to go!

We're in the Willamette Valley(Or.), and my peppers and tomatoes have fruit, but they are not ready yet (maybe a couple of weeks out from first harvest.) We've been picking lettuce since the end of May. I chopped up my first Ichiban and Fairy Tale eggplant minis and put them in a stirfry on Friday. I'm growing potatoes in a garbage can (a fun enterprise) but I haven't harvested any yet (I pulled out one the size of a marble the other day--so I'm letting them get bigger). Onions I have a-plenty, and I've been pinching herbs for cooking for some time.

We have a rotisserie attachment for our kettle barbeque and we like to roast whole chickens and turkeys with it. I stuff rosemary and sage in the cavities and under the skin on the breast, then rub the skin with olive oil, garlic and margarita salt (it's what I have on hand ... ). It makes the most savory chicken or turkey imaginable.

Lord, I love summer. My next challenge is to have vegetables in the containers througout fall and winter. I know I can grow lettuce, carrots and brussels sprouts outdoors, and I am going to bring a plant rack indoors and try to grow mini tomatoes, eggplants and herbs indoors in a sunny window with a compact flourescent light for backup. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:59 PM   #39
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LRS, after reading about it in Cooks' Illustrated, I am a fan of brining. For a chicken, just a few hours in a sea-salty bath (you can add bay and garlic or whatever other herb for more flavor) is all it takes to make it a lot juicier. It's like a natural, home-grown "Butterball"-esque treatment.
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Old 07-27-2008, 09:22 PM   #40
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Mmmmm ... salt. I love it on everything. I found a recipe for brined pork roast that I am going to try this week.

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