container tomato growing

Last summer's container garden

Last week I started my container vegetable garden— well, just the tomatoes. I am conducting an experiment: comparing the Tomato Program from Classic Gardens in Centerpoint, AL and Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers (Pamela Crawford’s Contianer Gardening) (will be planting a container today).

Well, one of my tomato plants has given up and I am to blame. I used a root stimulator (according to the instructions) and some of the formula got on the leaves of my plants. I used a watering can that had a shower head which dispersed the mixture over the pot. It was difficult to keep the water from getting on the leaves because of “the way one should plant the tomatoes” (that is a link to a “tomato growing tips” article I wrote) –deep, with just the top leaves above the dirt.

The next morning I noticed dark spots on the leaves. The only thing that could have caused this was the root stimulator. I immediately showered the plants with clean water from the tap–hoping that any stimulator on the leaves would be washed off. That appeared to work because no more spots or leaf damage appeared.

Well, one week later, my brandywine tomato is wilting big time. The other plant is still upright and showing signs of new growth.

Lesson learned: do not let the root stimulator mixture get on the leaves of your transplants.

I will replace the dying brandywine with “sweet 100”.  I have heard good things about this variety. Or maybe a “lemon boy” tomato. It is one of my favorites.

Stay tuned.

Time to plant lettuce!

September 3, 2010

lettuce

Well, now that September has arrived, I am going to plant some lettuce. It is so very easy to grow here and I had lettuce almost all winter here in Dixie.

Here is some advice I read about planting seeds:
Seeds should always be planted at a depth of 2X the size of the seed. If your seed is very tiny, just sprinkle a little soft dirt on top, if your seeds are bigger, push them into the ground about twice as deep as they are tall. Some seeds such as lettuces will not require any covering at all, just sprinkle them on top of your prepared soil and lightly water them in.
The Tasteful Garden Growing Tips This company is located in Alabama, so I trust what they say about growing vegetables in the South.

Now I must go and dig in the dirt. You should do the same, but remember to wear a hat and sunblock.

If you need to plan a garden, let me recommend the following company:
Online Garden Planning Tool

They offer a 30 day free trial membership. Click on the link above. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Image above is from: GrowVeg Blog

NOW, go and dig in your dirt.

cloudy spot on tomatoes caused by stink bugs

Caused by stink bugs.

It has been unbearably hot here in the southland! It is only the first week of “summer” and the temps are in the 90’s. What does that mean? It is too hot for us Boomer-aged gardeners to keep an eye on the veggies growing, so the pests are having a ball! A garden party!

It is still too soon to know if I have a handle on the “yellowing leaves” thing, but who cares about that? I have a tomato that looks just like the ones in the picture above. (I found the picture on the Aggie Horticulture website). I also saw the BUG that causes that “cloudy spot”. It is a stink bug. There is one in the picture, too. Below is a bigger one that is more detailed.

Stink Bug

A stink bug can do more than stink up a garden!

I have done the research and most sites say to use an insecticidal soap. Well, mine ran out and I have not had good results with the home-made concoctions, so Home Depot will be seeing me tomorrow.

And as if yellowing leaves and cloudy spot are not enough, I think the squirrels have found my maters. There have been tiny bites on the sweetest green tomatoes on one of my plants. I am trying undiluted vinegar sprayed on the plant. I read about this on Organic Pest Control on Tips.net. This site also suggested using crushed jalapeno peppers, but I do not have any. Will let you know what happens.

Now go dig in your dirt–if it is not too hot outside!

I know, you are thinking,” it is a yellow tomato plant.”  However, the leaves are not supposed to be yellow, too.

What to do? Go to my old standby http://www.Squidoo.com! I am somewhat of a “tomato expert”, but I do not know everything–well, actually, I cannot remember everything I read. (“Why remember information when you can go find it?” I say!)

As coincidence, I had just read a wonderful article by Suzy_T, “10 Tomato Plant Problems”.

Can you guess, my problem was at the top of the list!

That night a friend called me and said, “The leaves on my tomato plant are curling up! What does that mean?” I sent her the link to that very article.

Suzy_T wrote a wonderful lens (article in Squidoo language) about the ten most common problems you might have with your tomato plants. I have experienced them all. But, like I said, too often I cannot remember what I did about them.

When I first started growing tomatoes, I had some years of successes (accidental, I am sure) and some really bad years when I only got one tomato off a plant that I spent $2.00 for! I had given up–almost!

In 2008, I grew some really nice plants and had such fun learning how to do it correctly.

The next year, my garden was really turning out the tomatoes–in containers and in the raised be my hubby built. I even wrote several “lenses” about my experiences. (Grow Great Tomatoes in Pots!; My Small Vegetable Garden; Tomato Planting and Growing Tips and my very first The Best Tomato and Cheese Sandwich.)

My yellowing leaves are probably a result of low nitrogen. Suzy recommended I add manure or compost. I do not have a compost pile, so I bought some Moo-neur.

I also boughtBonide 931 Garden Dust on the recommendation of the article by Suzy_T:

I found some at my local Home Depot, but it was not in the “spray dust” bottle.  I wish it had been.  Instead I mixed 1 Tablespoon of the dust in 1 quart of H20 and sprayed it on my plant. (I had to look up the formula on a website).
We shall see. I hope the combination of the manure and the spray will do the trick.

Yellow leaves on tomato plant

What to do?

We shall see what happens. I had such luck with the Lemon Boy last year, I would hate to loose it.

Now, go dig in some dirt!

Create a box garden with your kids
The above link (Create a box garden with your kids)  will lead you to a charming video. Nice concise instructions on building a box garden.
If you would like, you can visit my Squidoo page to see how I built my raised bed garden.

Click My first raised bed garden.

raised bed garden

My first raised bed garden

Here is a great product for the gardener: Laminated gardening guides. Wish I had invented this!
Click here to visit Laminated Garden Guides website!

If you want to learn how to grow vegetables in an easy, laid back way with lots of pictures and detailed explanations then this is your tool! I mean, who takes their laptop outside to read an ebook in their garden?

This company has an 8 sheet (16 pages), double-sided, fully laminated “Home Vegetable Garden Guide”.

vegetable gardening, garden guide, how to grow vegetables

This is what a gardening guide looks like.

This guide shows the following:
– where to put your vegetable garden,
– how to plan and prepare your home vegetable garden,
– what equipment you will need,
– how to plan the garden & plant placement,
– how to get more from your garden space,
– how to plant a vegetable garden correctly,
– how to prepare the seedbeds and select seeds,
– how to use vertical space and other gardening techniques,
– how to grow transplants or why to buy them,
– how to garden if you have small plot,
– how to grow vegetable garden successfully,
– what is container gardening and why may it be the choice for you,
– raised bed gardening tips&tricks
– how to feed and water vegetables properly
– the best mulches for home vegetable gardens

Sounds good, doesn’t it? If you need this guide now, you can download the ebook for $19.95. (I know, who needs an ebook to read in the garden? Well, sometimes one does get desperate!)

So go visit the Laminated Gardening Guides website and browse. Have fun.

Tomato Planting Tips

The above link will take you to my article on Squidoo.com.  I have packed it full of tips to increase your tomato crop. I use every one of my tomato planting tips in my small garden.

For those of you with a Books-A-Million in your neighborhood, I have a real find for you. Miracle-Gro has a waterproof Vegetables book on sale there for just $1. Really.  It is a handy vegetable gardening book with loads of information. And for $1 it is a bargain.

Below you will find an image from the article.

tomato plant

Before you plant your tomato, trim the lower leaves.

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