Posts Tagged Tomatoes

Gardening Books to Review

I just checked out a couple of gardening books from my local library. I will provide a in depth review of them in a week time.

In the mean time, I have added my cursory, first glance review below:

Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs : a bountiful, healthful garden for lean time

by  Jim Wilson
(picture credit: http://www.amazon.com)

First-glance review: I love the pictures. I was salivating looking at the pictures. They look as if I could just grab them! The advice is easy to read and more aimed at a gardener just starting out…like me.

Square foot gardening : a new way to garden in less space with less  work
by Mel Bartholomew
(picture credit: http://www.shopping.yahoo.com)  

First-glance review: When I looked through it, Mel, the author is very knowledgeable in many different styles of gardening. He also provides how-to’s to better improve your garden. I really like the graphs especially the seed-starting graphs.

Grow great grub
by Gayla Trail 
(picture credit: http://www.growgreatgrub.com)

First-glance review: Gayla Trail, author of You Grow Girl has done it again. She has great projects and tips in this new book. It is for the every day gardening: beginning, intermediate and advance.

Happy gardening and stay tune for a full review!

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Veggie Update 03/20/09

I’ve slowly started putting my tomato, peppers, and eggplant seedlings outside in the backyard. They are getting acclimated to the weather. I still do not have a dedicated garden space yet so I’ve been placing them onto of this old picnic table we have in the back yard. The dogs, however, have figured out how to get on the table and pull out lettuce seedlings. Urgh…those dogs but they are just so cute when I see them with a fistful of lettuce in their mouth frolicking about. And then you’ll see me chasing them screaming “No!” As the old saying goes, “you win some and you lose some”. It just seems I’ve lost quite a bit to the little rascals! I hope they don’t get to the tomatoes and peppers though. Those took a long time to germinate and it would be such a shame to lose them now. I set those on top of a planter on the table so unless they knock the planter down, they’ll be fine.

 

The other day I planted more herb seeds. We use a lot of herbs in our cooking so growing herbs is important to me. I planted more lemon balm, chives, basil (large leaf, and Genovese), thyme, and oregano. I have them in 3 inch pots and they’re sitting on a sunny windowsill. They’ll germinate in a week or so and I’ll slowly take them outside with the other seedlings. Other things that are sprouting under my grow lights are marigold-snowball, zinnia-envy, impatiens, coleus, and more! I also planted some more pepper and tomato seeds. I forgot some names but I labeled the container so I can go back and check. The ones I do remember are supersweet, red currant, and Mexican honey.

 

I’ll have to take some pictures tonight.

But For now, here are some pictures of my veggie seedlings

 

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in jiffy pots

 

 

Bibb and buttercrunch lettuce seedlings

 

 

Seedlings 30 days

 

 

Endive seedlings

 

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Repotting seedlings

In the past 3 years I have been vegetable gardening, I would plant all my seeds in seed trays with 72 divisions. And since I am not the greenest of gardeners, I normally did not get 100% germination on all my seeds so my seed trays always had bare spots sprinkled amongst the divisions. This always bothered me because I was a perfectionist and the fact that I could have had other seeds that would have germinated in those spots. I am sure other gardeners have also felt this frustration. So I promised myself that I would not do this the next year. However, my forgetfulness got to me and I continued with my habit of taking out my large seed trays and planting my seeds in them. Then I remembered my promise to myself the previous year. So, I pulled out some old trays I had laying around (a cheap way to get your hands on these is to save the trays you get from the frozen dinner meals. They’re perfect size to start seeds). I planted a lot of veggie seeds in these and once they developed their true leaves, I pricked them out and set them in my seed trays with divisions. That way I got a full tray of seedlings and no empty spots! I thought I would share my “aha” moment with yal.

Yesterday, I took some endive seedlings I had planted in a pot and moved them into their individual spot in a six-pack I had. Afterwards, I marvelled at how pretty and neat it looked with seedlings in every spot! I was very proud of myself. I also moved some bibb and buttercrunch lettuces into their own spot.

My tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings are doing well. Although they have been slow to germinate, I’ve been getting several pop up on me daily. To aide in germination, I decided to take the trays with me to work in my car. My car gets a lot of sun throughout the day and I thought it would be a perfect spot for my seeds to get some heat. So in the car they went yesterday along with my seed potatoes I have been chitting.

The potatoes already have little eyes on each one of them. They should be ready to pot up in the next couple of weeks. Since we haven’t gotten around to making raised beds, I have decided that I am going to plant almost everything in containers. I plan on planting the potato seeds I have in pots and moving them to their final place when we get everything set up. I hope this is okay for potatoes to do this. If not, I’ll know for next year.

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More Seed Starting

 

 Early spring veggies in 2008.

On Saturday, I planted more flower and veggie seeds. The other day when it was sunny, I decided to take my seed trays out for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, when I brought them in, the tray snapped and some of the 9 packs fell out spilling dirt and I would assume some seeds. So, just to be safe, I decided to plant some more seeds. Instead of using 6 or 9 packs I decided to plant them in trays in little rows. I planted some more butterhead lettuce (Renee’s garden), black seeded simpson lettuce, romaine lettuce (trade), arrugula, coleus, cabbage, broccoli, bok choi, impatiens, violas, bells of irelands, and snap dragons! Whew….that was a lot.

I also got some elephant garlic on Monday from the grocery store. The garlic is from Christopher Ranch. I planted it that day and I hope to get some sprouting soon.

The lettuce, bok choi, savoy cabbage, butterhead lettuce, and la rossa lettuce sprouted and are under the grow light. There are more seeds that sprouted but I somehow forgot to label them. It’ll be easy to figure out once they’ve fully sprouted and I can check them out visually.

Still no progress on the eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. I set them directly on top of the lights to get some heat to them but we’ll see in the next couple of days. I’m really excited to see if the “little prince” eggplants I got from Renee’s seeds turn out! I’ve been debating whether or not to purchase a heat mat for my seeds but it seems like setting them on top of my fluorescent lights is fine. I have two lights on the bottom of my rack and I balance trays on top of the 2 and set my containers on top and they seem to be fine. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. That’s all for now, happy gardening!

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Vegetable (from seed) Gardening: A Garden Update

Most of my vegetables I started are setting and growing nicely. I have tiny blooms on my pepper plants. My bell pepper plant that I still have in a pot has a tiny little bell pepper. This year I’m growing a variety of peppers: California wonder, fish pepper, numex big jim, thai hots, kung pao peppers, and jalapeno. An observation I’ve made with peppers is that they take soooo long to grow. I mean it’s taken 122 days for them to flower.

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve had fruits develop on all my tomato plants. I have one ladybug hybrid tomato just turning a blush pink. I bet in a week or two, it’ll be ready to eat. I have tons of tomatoes planted this year as well! Varieties include: supersweet, ladybuy hybrid, jelly bean, tiny tim, red currant, gardener’s delight, marglobe, roma, black cherry, and fireball tomatoes.

One of my favorite garden chores lately has been pinching! I’ve been pinching everything from basil to coleus to mint! Pinching allows the plants to get bushier and fuller instead of tall and spindly. It’s great for basil since you will get more production from basils that are bushy then tall ones. Here are some results of my pinching.

 

Jelly Bean tomatoes 117 days 05-27-08

Tiny Tim tomatoes 117 days 05-27-08

Roma Tomatoes 117 days 05-27-08

Red and Gold Currant Tomatoes 117 days 05-27-08

One of my favorite garden chores lately has been pinching! I’ve been pinching everything from basil to coleus to mint! Pinching allows the plants to get bushier and fuller instead of tall and spindly. It’s great for basil since you will get more production from basils that are bushy then tall ones. Here are some results of my pinching.

Lemon Basil 93 days 05-27-08

Mix of Sweet Basil and Large Leaf Basil Plants 93 days 05-27-08

The only vegetable that have not produced any fruit has been my zucchini and squash plants. They’ve done very well at producing male flowers but no female flowers just yet. I hope they come soon! I can’t wait to have zucchini for our summer dinners. Well, that’s all folks. Stay tune for an update on my flower seeds that I planted this winter! And as always, happy gardening!

 

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A Veggie Garden Update 05-21-08

I know I haven’t updated in awhile but we’ve been completely busy. We actually have some good news: we’re going to be home owners. We’re in escrow and so excited about the possibilities of being a homeowner. we can’t believe it!!! Here’s a picture of our new garden area:

Garden View A

Garden View B

So, my garden has experienced a lot of thinning due to us moving in only a short 20 days. I am just hoping I can get some ripe tomatoes by then so I can save seeds. This year, I am growing a variety of tomatoes that I wanted to collect seeds. Tomatoes that I’m not taking with me include: black cherry, red and gold, and fireball tomato. Those already have little green fruits on them so I can hopefully get them to ripe so I can get seeds from them. Luckily, I had a feeling that we would buy a house before summer’s end so I put most of my plants in pots. I still have tons of Swiss chard plants ready to be harvested and cooked. I cook my swiss chard simply with some olive oil, lemon, and garlic.

Swiss Chard 118 days 04-17-08

Let’s see…it looks like everything is growing nicely except when we had a couple of days that were in the 100s. During this time, a lot of my plants got completely sunburnt. My mint had burnt leaves and so did my tomatoes. Poor things didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I’ve also had some problems with scale. I just spray them with my organic pesticide I made. It only takes a day before they’re dead! All my herbs are coming along. The tomatoes are blooming and fruiting nicely. I also noticed I have some peppers that are blooming. I’m keeping them in individual pots so I can plant them in our new place.

The hydrangeas are blooming. They’re blooming a gorgeous pale pink. When I first got this plant from my husband, it was purple and now it’s pink. I guess the fertilizer I use changed the blooms to pink. I’ve heard acidity levels can affect blooms. Well, I guess that’s all for now. I promise to to try to update more. Happy gardening everyone.

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Gardening: 04-23-08

Ladybug tomato 72 days 04-12-08

Today was just a simple day of gardening: watering all the veggies and flowers, walking around looking at the bok choy seed pods, and…urgh picking snails off my precious peas! I hate snails with a vegence! They’re annoying little buggers. I’ve tried about everything to get rid of them: coffee, coffee grounds, copper, etc etc etc. Today, I crushed a bunch of egg shells and put them in front of my peas and the other stuff they like to munch on. The crushed egg shells are suppose to hurt their bellies and deter them. I hope this will prevent them from crawling all over my peas and eating them to the nubs.

On another note, my scarlett runner beans, sequioa beans, swiss chard, radish and lime basil I planted a couple of days ago have sprouted and are doing well. I planted out the scarlett runner and sequioa beans this afternoon. I put some in the ground and some in pots, just in case we move too soon, I want some beans to come with me. This morning, I also staked my tomatoes I have in containers. I have a supersweet, gardener’s delight and ladybug hybrid tomatoes in pots. I noticed that I have flowers forming on my squash seedlings. Eek. so exciting. I’ve had tomato flowers for awhile now (probably in the past 2-3 weeks) and I can’t wait to have tomatoes. Yummy!

Yesterday, I visited my parents and little brother and came home with tons of Asian groceries, Bento boxes, and some gardening pots and a garden hose. I have a neat blue pot that they gave me since they weren’t using it. It’s a rectangular pot that sits 4 inches tall and probably 6 inches wide. I’ll take a picture tomorrow and post it. I think I’ll put some low growing plants in it. I don’t want something that will take away from its pretty “pot” beauty.

My co-worker gave me two apricot seedling and a lilac plant. It was a nice gesture from her. I had given her some tomatoes, peppers, bok choi, and squash seedlings I had extra of and she came back and gave me some plants. She’s so nice and very kind. Tomorrow, I plan on continuing the acts of kindness by giving her an avocado plant I had started from a pit and some seeds I know she’ll enjoy (bok choi, sunflowers-tall, catnip-for her cats, basil, and California poppies).

Tomorrow, I plan on giving everyone a good soaking with fish emulsion. Hopefully the cats don’t get wind of it or else it’s going to be a full house. I also want to plant some of the bean seedlings I started indoors. For errands, I have to bike over to the Library and pay our electricity bill. Gee how fun uhh? Well, it kind of is since I’m biking. I love biking! Happy gardening everyone.

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