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For years I have not bothered with growing strawberries, because I found them too difficult to keep healthy and protect them from animals.

This Summer, I planted one 4 X 4 raised bed.  I am getting lots of brown spots and not much pleasure, since I have been removing the fruit, as instructed.

Probably covering the entire box with the red plastic would help keep the moisture level even and a drip irrigation would prevent the brown spots.

Do I have to spray to eliminate the fungus?

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Teaching animals proper etiquette

Can I outsmart nature?

Every night some animal removes one large green tomato and chews it just a little.  The tomato is left in the raised bed, and I dutifully throw it out every morning.

Today, I decided to leave that green tomato that is already lost to us on the ground.

What do you think will happen tonight?

Would the animal pick a new tomato, or go back to the partial consumed one?

I cannot wait to find out.

Oh, I also remove most of the larger green tomato to ripen in the house.  I am tired of letting the birds, squirrles and chipmunks devour our tomatoes.

I already admitted one mistake:

1.  I planted too many tomatoes in a small area.

2. I did not know to add calcium to the soil and plants, early on.

The plants are fed once in 3-4 weeks with Miracle Gro and in between also manure.

Now, I would like to know what I can do to get the leaves greener looking and to eliminate the obvious issues.

I have some pest eating the leaves and I might have some pest in the stalks, too.

Here are the pictures of the not very healthy plants.

Followed instructions and removed 1st year grapes

The Grapes the Cat Bird is Not Going to Get

This is the second time I am embarking on growing grapevines since the 1980s.

I planted a Niagara, a Delaware and a mystery vine transferred from my former garden.

I kept waiting for the Niagara to bloom, thinking that it was a late season vine.  Finally, after letting the grapes develop for 2-3 month on the Delaware, it dawned on me that maybe it is better to remove the fruit in the first year.

I contacted Double A Vineyards, Inc., 10277 Christy Rd. Fredonia, NY 14063 via their website; and Sue Rak answered me the next morning with helpful advice!

Now, I have a plate full of unripe grapes.  I wonder what one can make with such little grapes that are not sweet, yet.

If you are thinking of growing grapevines, I highly recommend contacting Sue Rak at 716-672-8493, or on the website.

I certainly plan to buy from them grapevines as client gifts for my buyers who love gardening.

Tomato plants in raised beds

Too many Tomato plants in my garden

After giving up on tomatoes in my former home, I decided to start all over again with new soil and a raised bed.  I planted 14 plants, in a small space because Tom in my office started them from seeds and gave them to me.

Of course, I wanted to try every kind he had to offer.

Now, 3 months later, I know I planted too many plants and waited too long to add calcium to the soil.  I thought the manure would supply all the needed nutrition.

We have sufficient amount of cherry tomatoes, however most of the other tomatoes had bottom end rot.  We had to pick lots of tomatoes early and after we removed the damage we used the green tomatoes in sauce, pickling and even tried fried green tomatoes.  I would rather not use them green in the future.

Next year, I will follow the advice to plant at the most 6 tomato plants in a 4 x 4 raised bed and will use the MiracleGro with calcium.  I will interplant with the Borage and Basil and will reuse the red liner that is working well now to reflect light and conserve water.

Pick your Kirby cucumbers before they are over grown
Which is the ripe Kirby cucumber?

Kirby cucumber are very tasty when they are young and crispy.  One seldom can find such cucumbers in the stores, because of the time it takes to transport them.

However, in your garden you can control the timing and pick the vegetable at the right time.
If you do not, you get a huge cucumber, like the one on the right in the photo, that drains the nutrients from the vine and is not tasty to your palate.
Make sure you check the vines daily and throughly.
Enjoy!